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Are You Prepared for Disaster? Evaluating Cloud Backup Solutions by AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud

February 12, 2019 Leave a comment

 

 
The adoption of public cloud computing services shows no signs of slowing down — Gartner predicted that the global public cloud services market will grow 17.3 percent in 2019 alone.

A huge draw of the public cloud is the use of its low-cost storage services for cloud backup purposes. Businesses can securely back up their data straight from an on-premise data center to the public cloud for disaster preparation. Such disasters, whether caused by natural factors or simple human error, can lead to the loss of data that is essential for business continuity.

Cloud backup is cost-effective, it provides anytime, anywhere data access via an Internet connection, and it stores data in an off-site location for data center redundancy. This article goes into detail on the cloud backup solutions offered by three major public cloud providers — AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. You’ll be able to compare pricing, features, and the level of support you get from the three service providers.
 

Main Cloud Backup Solutions/Features

Azure Backup is Microsoft Azure’s dedicated cloud-based backup solution. AWS has Amazon S3 Simple Storage and Amazon Glacier as its main storage services for cloud backup. Google Cloud Storage provides enterprise-grade public cloud storage.
 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

S3 is the main AWS service suited for cloud backup purposes and there are 20 geographic regions housing data centers around the world. The global AWS infrastructure helps businesses benefit from storing their data in the region closest to their main operational base for more rapid data transfer in the event of an outage.

Backing up data to S3 is as straightforward as creating a storage bucket and uploading the relevant files. You can set permissions for each data object, encrypt your data, and add metadata.

Glacier is a long-term, low-cost storage service with an Active Archive option, which enables you to retrieve your data within 5 minutes. High-performance block-level storage is available from the EBS service. S3 and Glacier are object storage services.

Another important service in the context of cloud backup is AWS Storage Gateway, which provides your on-premises applications with a low-latency connection to AWS cloud storage services like S3, EBS and Glacier.

A submarket has emerged in the area of AWS cloud backup in which third-party vendors attempt to simplify workloads, meet compliance demands, and reduce costs when using S3 for backup purposes. Examples of such services include N2WS AWS Backup and Cloudberry.
 

Microsoft Azure

Azure Backup can be used as a dedicated cloud-based backup service that entirely replaces an existing on-premises or off-site backup solution. Your data can be replicated either locally within a region or in a separate region in what Azure terms locally redundant storage (LRS) and geo-redundant storage (GRS).

Data encryption, application-consistent backups, long-term retention, and data compression are some of the features available in each of the four separate components you can choose from within Azure Backup.
 

Google Cloud

Google Cloud Storage provides durable cloud storage accessed through a unified API. The unified API enables businesses to integrate cloud backup into their apps.

Google promises millisecond latency from its Cloud Storage service, which is helpful for achieving the required recovery time objective (RTO) for swift disaster recovery.
 

Pricing

All three of these cloud backup providers operate a pay-per-use model in which the monthly cost depends primarily on the amount of data stored. Other factors that influence the price are the frequency at which you access data and the geographic region your data is stored in.
 

AWS

The AWS free usage tier entities users to up to 5GB of free storage in S3. Beyond that point, the cost per gigabyte depends on the geographic region, the quantity of storage used, and the frequency of access. The below table provides costs for the U.S East region.

Azure

The price you pay to use Azure cloud backup varies depending on whether you choose to make the data locally redundant or geographically redundant, with the latter being more costly due to the additional peace of mind it provides. Like in AWS, the cost also varies depending on the amount of data storage consumed. See the table of costs for the U.S Eastern region below:

Note that for storage needs greater than 5,000 TB, you need to contact Azure for a custom quote. Costs may differ when backing up data in other Azure regions.
 

Google Cloud

With Google Cloud Storage you also get 5 GB of free usage. Beyond this point, the per-gigabyte costs persist independently of the amount of data stored, which makes the pricing more straightforward but doesn’t reward businesses storing a lot of data with lower costs.

The cost varies depending on whether you want data stored regionally (better performance, lower latency) or multi-regionally (geo-redundancy). Costs also differ between data accessed regularly (nearline storage) or infrequently (coldline storage). Below you’ll see the costs for the U.S East region.

Support

A crucial aspect to consider in the public cloud is the level of support available from your service provider. You need to factor the potential for problems and technical issues arising with your cloud service usage and how promptly the service provider can respond.

All three providers have paid support plans available. Each company tiers its support plans, with the premium plans providing the quickest response times to technical issues.

The AWS Enterprise plan promises 24/7 support and sub-15 minute response times for critical issues, but it costs $15,000 per month while its Business plan users pay from $100 per month to get less than one hour response times for critical issues and 24/7 tech support.

Google’s Platinum support package provides similar benefits to the AWS Enterprise support plan but the cost is given by quote only. Google has a Gold support package which delivers a 1-hour response time for critical issues.

Lastly, Azure’s Professional Direct plan provides 24/7 technical support and sub-one-hour
Response times for $1,000 per month. The Standard plan costs $300 but the response time is increased to two hours for critical issues.
 

Conclusion

Your choice of cloud backup solution depends on the particular provider that best meets your needs. All three offer similar levels of premium technical support. Google differs slightly in pricing in that it doesn’t alter its per-gigabyte cost as you store more data.

Azure Backup meets the needs of businesses looking for a dedicated cloud backup solution. AWS is more general-purpose and requires expert knowledge to minimize costs and maximize performance as a backup service, and third-party AWS backup services can help out with that. Google Storage also has a wider range of use cases than just backup.


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An Introduction to Cloud Computing …aligned with Microsoft Azure

February 7, 2018 1 comment

 

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing is the delivery of computing services like servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more-over the Internet (“the cloud”). Here the computing resources which contains various servers, applications, data and other resources are integrated and provide a service over the Internet to Individuals and Organizations. Companies offering these computing services are called cloud providers and typically charge for cloud computing services based on usage, similar to how you are billed for water or electricity at home.

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. – NIST

 
The two prominent Cloud Computing providers in the market currently are:
– Microsoft Azure and
– Amazon’s AWS.
 

Uses of Cloud Computing:

1. On-demand and Self-Service, without any human intervention or manual work.

2. Create as many Virtual Machines (VMs) of your choice of Operating System (OS) quickly without worrying about hardware and office/lab space.

3. Instantaneously Scale up and Scale down the VMs and other services

4. Create new apps and services quickly

5. Resource pooling and Elasticity.

6. Host websites, portals and blogs

7. Store, back up and recover data

8. Stream audio and video

9. Analyse data for patterns and make predictions
 

Benefits of Cloud Computing:

1. Cost: eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters

2. Global Scale: Quickly Scale-Up & Scale-Out as in when you need more resource, and Scale-Down when not in need, and pay as you use.

3. Reliability: Provision of Data backup, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR), by mirrored data at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.

4. Speed and Performance: Majority of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, with state-of-art and latest-gen high-end hardware.

5. Productivity: Rather than involving in IT management chores, the IT teams can spend time on important business goals.
 

Types of Cloud Computing:

As per the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) the Cloud Computing service provider should have following 3 service models for its customers:

1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The consumer can provision Processing, Storage, Networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include Operating Systems and Applications.

– The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure.

– But has control over Operating Systems, Storage, deployed Applications, and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).

– Example: Windows and Linux VMs, Blob Storage, SQL Server with Windows/Linux VM, Virtual Network, etc.

2. Platform as a Service (PaaS): The consumer can deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using Programming Languages and Tools supported by the provider.

– The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including Network, Servers, Operating Systems, or Storage.

– But has control over the deployed Applications and possibly application hosting environment configurations.

– Example: Azure SQL Database, DocumentDB, HDInsight, Data Factory, etc.

3. Software as a Service (SaaS): The consumer can use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through a thin client interface such as a web browser (e.g., web-based email).

– The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including Network, Servers, Operating Systems, Storage, or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific application configuration settings.

– Example: Microsoft Office 365, WordPress, Joomla, Django, etc.

Deployment Models:

1. Public cloud: The cloud infrastructure is made available to the general public or a large industry group and is owned by an organization selling cloud services.

– Example: Microsoft Azure.

2. Private cloud: The cloud infrastructure is operated solely for an organization. It may be managed by the organization or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise.

– Example: Microsoft Azure Stack.

3. Hybrid cloud: This combines Public and Private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them, providing businesses greater flexibility and more deployment options.

– Example: Cloud Bursting for load-balancing between clouds.