Tag Archives: De-duplication

Functionality, Quality, Price—The Evaluation Parameters for the Cloud

IT budgets do not scale in proportion to IT needs. Data growth outstrips infrastructure and headcount growth. The CIO is forced to compromise.

What if the enterprise could become instantly IT enabled with very little investment in infrastructure, software or HR?

Utility computing in the cloud serves the enterprise with what they need, when they need it, through any channel and any kind of device. The technology integrates and automates the value chain, adapts easily and innovates constantly. Risk and environmental responsibilities are well orchestrated and everything is streamlined to deliver ‘best fit’ services. Functionality, quality and price are definitely attractive.

Cloud computing enhances the efficiency and functionality of the enterprise. Cloud storage systems are developed to support “on demand” utility computing models — SaaS, PaaS and IaaS — with intent to deliver IT as a service over the Internet. Users can scale up or scale down on infrastructure or space instantly and pay only for what they use. Mobile and remote computing technologies are made available for disparate parts of the business and mobile workers can synchronise their activities with that of the parent business from wherever they are. Employees can collaborate with each other or access business applications from the central server. User and usage management policies can be implemented by exploiting the functionality inbuilt into the cloud application.

Quality of service delivery is the unique selling point (USP) of cloud vendors. QOA distinguishes them from the competition and builds trust in business relationships with their customers. Cloud vendors are conscious that their services are evaluated on the basis qualitative factors, such as design and delivery of security systems, compression and de-duplication of data or speed of backup and recovery. The way the services are packaged together also makes a difference.

Economies of scale, deriving from multi-tenancy computing models, make the cloud attractive to cash strapped enterprises. The pay per use model, typical to the utility services sector enables small and medium enterprises with small budgets garner and use resources that were earlier only available to their larger brethren. Additionally, CAPEX vanishes and is replaced by OPEX. This makes it wholly attractive to managements who do not want to invest scarce resources in IT infrastructure to the detriment of other business activities.

Support services provided by the cloud shrinks IT expertise requirements within the enterprise. Hardware and software maintenance in the cloud is the responsibility of the cloud vendor. The vendor is also committed to ensuring high availability of customer information and 99.9% uptime. Responsibility for mirroring, replication, de-duplication, compression and secure storage of information is transferred to the cloud vendor. A single IT Administrator can manage the database and maintain offsite copies of the data for additional data availability.

We at Backup Technology, offer the best of the breed public, private and hybrid cloud services to our customers unfailingly. We anticipate customers’ every need and work towards providing them with the functionalities they require without compromising on quality. Our pay per use pricing model is economical and wholly affordable. For more information, please do visit our website: www.Backup-Technology.com.

Keeping Costs Under Control

The traditional ontology of costing and micro theories of costing may need to be redefined in the virtual world where value adding activities may be less visible except in areas of strategic alliance, information sharing or online payment mores. The theories may have to be generically deployed to achieve cost management irrespective of whether the enterprise belongs to the manufacturing or service sector. The criteria for evaluation may include generality, efficiency, perspicuity, transformability, extensibility, granularity, scalability and competence.

So, how does one keep costs under control? The process must logically begin, by recognising the characteristics of the cloud and identifying the appropriate / suitable costing methods for delivery and use of services.

• The cloud consolidates the distributed enterprise and shifts all activity–online–to the remote data centre in the cloud. This largely precludes the possibility of pinpointing
specific activities to specific cost centres.
• CAPEX vanishes with the cloud and is replaced by OPEX. Direct expenses suddenly assume the aspect of indirect expenses.
• Logistics costs and information management costs form a large chunk of the costs for the virtual enterprise.

Consequently, cloud vendors adopt use-based, granular costing methods for estimating the costs of maintaining a cloud and servicing the customer. There is a defined base cost and a top up cost for the service. While base costs are fixed, the top up costs vary in accordance with the level of usage of the services. The secret of cost control, in context, is simply to monitor the amount of base plus top up costs or to evaluate storage space or application use of the different participating departments and define limits of usage for budgeting purposes.

However, the process is not as simple as it seems. The implication is that enterprises will have to get more sophisticated about shaping the use of resources within the enterprise. They will have to recognise utilisation risks and the management will have to play a significant role in ensuring sufficiency of usage and financial viability of the use. Cost saving opportunities will involve using cloud based applications only where the use makes business sense and scaling up operations in the cloud only when there is a peak transaction load. Since pricing in the cloud is directly proportional to utilisation, IT financial talents must be made conscious that IT operations must become more business like in their dealings if costs are to be kept under control in the cloud. IT Administrators must lock step with business growth and success and optimise on use of cloud based IT resources to advantage the business.

We, at Backup Technology, are always ready to work with our customers in evaluating the economics of using the cloud. Our cloud services are designed to optimise resource use for our customers. Our customers remain informed on usage data and have the option to scale up or scale down usage on-demand. Alerts are generated when usage boundaries are reached. Compression, de-duplication and archiving technologies are used to help our customers achieve cost savings in the cloud.

How Do You Avoid Bad Backups?

Every backup process is fraught with risks. The cloud is no exception. However, unlike in tape and other kinds of backup, bad backups or backup failures in the cloud can be instantly tracked and corrected.

Backup failures in the cloud can occur at source. If the backup software manager is not resilient, power failures can disrupt a backup schedule and cause a backup failure. Most cloud vendors are conscious of this problem. The software comes with log files which immediately record the failure of the backup or backup reports can be set to automatically popup on restoration of power or manually called up by the system administrator monitoring the status of the backup.

Where the client based cloud software provisions for continuous backup, the backup failure is registered in the log and the backup will resume automatically on the restoration of power. In either case, proactive cloud vendors handle bad backups and backup failures by constantly monitoring the status of customer backups from their end of the chain and notifying the customer of a backup failure via email or telephone in addition to any alerting mechanisms that may be triggered at the client end.

Poor compression, de-duplication and encryption algorithms can generate bad backups. The data being encrypted, compressed and deduplicated may become corrupted by poorly constructed algorithms, making the data unrecoverable. A similar problem can arise at destination if the data is encrypted, compressed or deduplicated at the cloud vendor’s server with poorly structured algorithms. Mid process power failures may be blamed for other types of data corruption that can occur at the client or server side of the backup process.

Unauthorised listeners on the network, employees with malafide intent or even ignorant personnel can cause a good backup to go bad. While most cloud vendors attempt to prevent hijack of data during transmission and make an all out effort to safeguard customer data from malicious attackers, no system is absolutely hacker proof. Wise users will insist on maintaining multiple copies of their backup as insurance against possible corruption of any one copy.

Data replication, data mirroring are done at the server end of the chain by cloud vendors to ensure high availability and security of customer data. Many cloud vendors encourage their customers to maintain a local copy of their data in addition to the offsite copies that they create. Many vendors offer local backup devices as part of their package. The client based software creates a local copy of the data on the onsite device even as a cloud based copy is being created on the remote server.

We, at Backup Technology, understand the security needs of our customers. Our software logs every activity that is performed and backup failures are instantly reported. The continuous backup option enables the backup to automatically resume after power is restored, while a failed schedule can be completed by manually invoking the backup process. Our encryption, decryption and compression algorithms are well tested and proven. We replicate, mirror and maintain customer information in multiple servers that are geographically disbursed to ensure high availability and disaster recovery.

Saving Space and Money with Data De-duplication

Like every disruptive technology, the cloud is hungrily absorbing and assimilating within itself, a number of minor innovations and utilities. Data de-duplication is one such innovation that has been successfully integrated with cloud technologies to deliver value.

Technology experts are quick to point out that data deduplication is not really a technology. It is a methodology. It is software driven process that identifies and removes data duplicates in a given data set. A single copy of the data is retained in the store, while all duplicates of the data are removed and replaced with references to the retained copy. All files that initially contained a copy of the data, now contains a reference to the data item retained in the store. Whenever the file containing the deduplicated data item is called for, an instance of the data will be inserted at the right place and a fully functional file will be generated for the user. This method of compressing data reduces the amount of disk space that is being used for data storage and reduces costs of storage.

The growing importance of de-duplication can be traced to the growing volumes of data being generated by businesses. As businesses continue to generate data, space becomes a major constraint and financial resources may have to be allocated for acquiring larger storage capacities. Consequently, any technology that allows them to “have the cake and eat it too” is welcome!

Data deduplication can be “in-line” or “post process”.

In line data deduplication is a process that de-duplicates data before it is sent to storage server. This saves on bandwidth and time-to-backup, as the amount of data being transmitted over the Internet is reduced and only the “clean” data reaches the storage server. However, the process of de-duplication at the client end of the system is itself a time consuming process and is extremely resource intensive.

Post-process de-duplication removes duplicates from the data that has been uploaded to the storage server. There is neither saving of time or bandwidth during transmission, but there is certainly a saving of processing time and client hardware resources at the point of transmission of data, since all de-duplication processes happen on the cloud vendor’s server. Modern day backup companies use a combination of the two methods for obvious advantages.

Backup Technology have integrated data-de-duplication with its cloud backup and recovery solutions. The all-in-one suites for cloud computing and online backup automatically provide data de-duplication services to the subscribing clients. The software automatically detects and deletes all duplicate data and creates appropriate references to the data during the backup process. This saves time and money and results in faster time to backup and recover. The extensive versioning that is used in tandem adds to the strength of the software as older versions of any backed up file can be recovered — even if it was deleted from the source computer. For these and other similar reasons, we invite you to try our award winning cloud backup and disaster recovery and business continuity services, powered by Asigra. We are confident that you will be completely satisfied with what we have to offer!

Duplication and De-duplication

Organisational databases are not created by a single individual with a single access device. These databases grow and the growth is fed by multiple users inputting data from multiple devices from diverse locations. The data is often shared across devices by users attempting to collaborate. As a result, data is downloaded and stored on local devices for instant access and use. This results in disorganised duplication of same, similar or slightly modified version of the information and storage of such data at multiple locations.

The IT Administrator entrusted with the task of consolidation backup and recovery of information for the organisation is often flummoxed by the infinite number of times a single piece of information is duplicated across the organisation. If each piece of information is to be checked for duplication manually and then dropped into the backup basket, the task will be gruelling to say the least and will assume nightmarish proportions for the individual over a period of time. De-duplication technologies are used to automate the task of identifying and eliminating duplicates of information during the process of consolidation.

Most cloud backup and recovery software come with integrated de-duplication technologies. The IT Administrator has to begin the process of consolidation by identifying a primary backup set for seeding the backup repository. Each piece of information is encoded with a hash algorithm that is unique to the file/folder or block of information seeded. Backup of data from every other device connecting to the enterprise network is also encoded with the hash algorithm and hash algorithms are compared for identifying any duplicate information that may exist in the current backup set. All duplicates are then eliminated and references to the original information is stored in place of the duplicates in case the data has to be recovered to a new device with all duplicates intact.

De-duplication is often described as a compression function. This is because the removal of data compresses the volume of information that is ultimately stored in the cloud database. Moreover, compression functions in a sense remove duplicates of information at granular levels within the file or folder. For instance compression removes all the spaces between words to reduce the amount of space that is occupied by the data in the storage repository. However, the two functions differ from each other in purpose and scope. De-duplication attempts to remove duplicates of information to rationalise the data stored in the database. Compression is purely a functionality used to save on space. The process of de-duplication and compression will have to be reversed at the time of recovery, in order to obtain the complete data set from the storage.

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