Clouds are backing up clouds, with more choices on tap

Nasuni and Backupify are introducing new offerings for their cloud-to-cloud backup services

Enterprises that rely on cloud-based services are getting more options for falling back on another cloud if necessary.

On Tuesday, Nasuni introduced a cloud-to-cloud mirroring option to give customers extra assurance that their data will be available in case of a service outage. The same day, cloud-to-cloud backup vendor Backupify added more choices for where users can have their data sent.

Both Nasuni and Backupify provide backup services that operate on top of larger cloud storage operations such as Amazon S3. Many enterprises are looking to cloud services for storage, often to get away from buying and operating gear of their own, according to Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Peters. Services that store many customers' data in many cases can do so more efficiently through scale, he said.

Cloud storage has proved pretty reliable, and using one cloud-based service as backup for another should make users safer, Peters said.

"Logic says the odds of Amazon and Google going down on the same day, with your data, and not being able to do something about it is hard to fathom," Peters said.

Nasuni gives enterprises access to their data through on-site hardware that looks and feels like a traditional storage controller while actually storing the contents on S3 or Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud. On Tuesday, it's adding an optional feature to its service that will mirror the data on the primary cloud to a secondary one. With the Cloud Mirroring service, customers with S3 as their primary cloud would have their data mirrored to Azure, and vice versa, the company said.

The feature is designed to give customers more assurance that they will still be able to get to their data even if their primary cloud platform fails. Nasuni has never experienced a service outage and customers are already covered by service-level agreements, but Cloud Mirroring can give them one more layer of assurance, Nasuni said. The company said it will price Cloud Mirroring on a per-terabyte basis but didn't give any more information on pricing.

Backupify backs up consumers' and enterprises' SaaS (software-as-a-service) data to Amazon S3 so they can maintain their own copy of the data from services such as Salesforce, Google Apps, Facebook and Twitter. That data is encrypted with a customer-specific key and stored in Backupify's storage bucket on S3.

Its customers will now have the option of having their data backed up to a different cloud, CEO Rob May said. Those who already have their own S3 bucket can have their data backed up to it, and other initial options include Rackspace Cloud Files and Google Cloud Storage. Additional choices, including Azure and a customer's own storage equipment, will be available later, he said.

As Backupify has moved upmarket from consumers to small businesses to large enterprises, it's started to find customers who already have their own cloud storage accounts, May said.

Backupify will still use S3 to process those customers' content, but it won't keep the data in its own S3 bucket, May said. Instead, it will send the data along to the cloud that the customer chose.

Customers who choose their own storage will be charged in a different way from users of the company's traditional service, which costs $3 per user, per month with unlimited data. The new type of service should represent savings of 50% to 60% off that cost, May said.

By choosing their own cloud storage provider, those customers will be able to pay for capacity on their own terms, which may be a better deal if they buy a lot of it, May said. Backupify's standard per-seat deal is priced to account for consumer and small-business customers as well as big enterprises, and the big customers may be able to get a better rate elsewhere because of volume discounts, he said.

"For most large customers, they're going to be much better off under the new pricing," May said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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