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5 practical reasons why you might want to backup to Oracle Cloud.

Database backups still form the back bone of every IT Disaster Recovery plan, but are they redundant in the Cloud world we live in today? Well, the simple fact is that they are the most reliable mechanism, regardless of database technology, by which a “point in time restore” function can be enabled for your data. Critical for virtually all business applications.

Having run “point” in the recovery of several customer disaster situations, one experience that sticks out was when a Finance team ran the monthly payroll process twice in quick succession. A potential moment of joy for all employees (party!), but a potential financial and employee-PR nightmare to the large corporate it related to if they couldn’t recover the situation. The ability to quickly restore the system to a specific “point in time” preceding the second payroll run was essential. Fortunately, very few people knew of the incident and I didn’t get any hate mail after the recovery.

And yet, while backups are essential to a company’s DR capability, for some reason they are treated like the poor man of the DR world with businesses almost reluctantly backing up their databases without any real thought as to the benefits. It almost seems like a tick a box exercise.

Historically it was expensive to run a full proof backup strategy across an enterprise. Simply the cost of tapes alone could be a small fortune. Add in tape library robots, backup software, off site storage costs; it all mounted up. This was all topped by the hassle factor and time to recover information from tape. We all hate paying for insurance; why pay for insurance when I never need to use it right? Why pay for backups when we never use them right?

But a lot has changed over the last 10 years and that has especially become true over the last 3 years as Cloud has become a dominant strategy for CXOs looking to prove to shareholders and customers alike that their data is safe.

So here are my reasons for encouraging people to consider a Cloud based backup solution within Oracle Cloud:

  1. Point-in-time restore: I’ve got to start with this. This simple and hopefully infrequently needed Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle Database function, when combined with Cloud, could save your career. Backing up to the Cloud will ensure you’re able to confidently locate your backup files and quickly recover from a “payroll mis-function”.
  2. Safe and secure: In the days of tapes, your data was simply written to a tape spool and often stored in a tape vault, sometimes off site, and sometimes environmentally controlled. Today’s Cloud based backup solutions from Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon offer 256-bit encryption at rest and the backups are, by default, transmitted off site over secure encrypted links to Cloud storage which is itself then replicated multiple times by the Cloud provider for good measure. Probability of not being able to read the backup? Extremely low. Probability of people snooping at your data? Even lower. And don’t worry about data sovereignty; the Cloud providers have that covered too with the availability of UK data centres.
  3. How often have you verified your tape backups? Never right? Well never until the day they are needed. Cloud offers you both the opportunity to store your backups securely, as well as to automate periodic test backup recoveries on to Cloud based virtual infrastructure. This can be stood up in an instant just for this purpose, and then torn down again once the restore test has completed, automatically alerting you to any restore failures.
  4. Dipping your toes into Cloud? Want to test Cloud suitability? If you can securely store and automatically test-restore your backups in the Cloud, surely this is a way to help you along the path of realising a migration strategy into the Cloud. If you can automatically restore your database backups onto Cloud based servers, then this provides a way to test your application compatibility too. I have seen customers use this path to both gain confidence in Cloud as well as garner doubting business and management support.
  5. Cost: Gone are the days of tapes, the robotic tape libraries, and the van turning up each morning to transport your tapes to an off-site storage facility. And gone are the steep costs associated with setting up and running these. You no longer need to invest in any additional hardware to run an enterprise class backup capability. With the cost of disk space plummeting as the Cloud providers purchase disks in bulk, backup to Cloud disk is a very cost effective solution. These factors mean that you will not be able to find a more reliable, more secure off-site backup facility than using the backup services offered by the likes of Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

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