Back on July 19th, there was a blog post that I was pointed to which talked about tossing your backup solution and using cloud for your backup instead. Basically the points which are made are that because someone else is now holding your data you don’t have to worry about DR plans, keeping multiple copies, etc. because someone else is worrying about this stuff now.
On paper this all sounds great, but I work in reality. In reality as the admin I can’t just trust that someone else is going to manage my DR solution. When things break and we lose the site and have to restore to DR, as the admin I’m the one on the hook with management to get the company up and running again not whoever I’ve out sourced the backups to.
When it comes to my backups (and pretty much any other data at all) I trust no one with it. If I sent it out to some cloud provider how do I know that no one is going to look at it, change it, sell it, etc. If I don’t control everything from end to end, I can’t be sure that my data is secure. I can encrypt it before I sent it up to the cloud, but that’s only giving me so much protection. Encryption can be broken; it just requires having enough machines working on the problem.
There’s also another little problem with using the cloud for backups. Large companies (and even small companies) have lots of data, and I mean lots of data. These days it isn’t crazy for a 10-20 person company to have a couple of terabytes of data. If you are backing all that data up to the cloud on a regular basis you need a lot of bandwidth to get your backup uploaded to the cloud in a timely fashion. Bandwidth sure isn’t free, not even here in the US much less in other countries. Many other countries have bandwidth caps in place where you may by the meg to upload data. If you have to upload 100 Gigs of data a week (a 10% total data change rate is pretty standard) that could take 10-12 hours to upload on a fast connection, and could cost hundreds or thousands in bandwidth charges if you are bandwidth capped.
Running your app in the cloud is a totally different thing. When you do this you have control of the setup, and can control how many sites your data is located in. With the cloud backup solutions that I’ve looked at so far you don’t have this sort of control. You just have to trust that the company that you are paying is doing the right thing. After all what happens if they store your data close to you, for quicker access then what happens when your site loose power because of a natural disaster and they are down for the same reason. Who do you call? You can’t fire anyone because the plan was to let them handle it. You can’t get your site back up because you have to wait for them to get their site back up.
In my world, that’s just not a reasonable solution.