Cloud backup services

Replicating critical information in remote servers in order to protect it is a good practice since the beginnings of computing. Backup services in the Cloud take advantage of the benefits of this paradigm. They simplify management and increase security, reliability and efficiency. They also offer scalability at a reasonable prize and allow data recovery from any place connected to the Internet.At user level, diverse services such as Dropbox or Apple iCloud have become popular recently. They offer a cloud storage service that is automatically synchronized across several computers or devices. The polemic recent closing of Megaupload has been discouraging initially, but users have learnt a valuable lesson: one shouldn’t replicate critical data in a single site.

Following the big success of Amazon, Google or salesforce.com and their cloud services for business, new specialized backup providers like Mozy or Zmanda have appeared. This fact has fostered innovation in storage technologies aligned with the cloud paradigm. Data deduplication reduces the total used disk space by only storing each duplicated data fragment, yielding 70% savings. Thin provisioning technology allows the creation of overasigned storage space disks, by lending unused free space to other users. The virtualization of servers, applications, disks or networks allows a better usage of the hardware resources. In addition, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) allows copying every single change in the disks, permitting recovery since any instant.

Nevertheless there are still challenges in this field. For example, denying data to the cloud provider or an attacker, or total recovery of datacenter services in the cloud (the so-called Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity). Another relevant problem is bandwidth limitation, which creates a dependency on the access network. Furthermore, many customers dislike SLA contract conditions and fulfillment guarantees by the providers.

Gradiant has accumulated a strong experience in security and fault tolerance in Cloud Computing. It is currently participating in research projects on technologies enabling datacenter backups in the cloud.

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