Business continuity, CSPs, Storage

Top Four Trends: Backup as a Service

How is the global backup-as-a-service market evolving? Technavio points to four trends that IT service providers can customers have to track. Here's a look at each trend, along with a ChannelE2E reality check.

1. Increased adoption of SMAC technology in workforce

Technavio says: The ubiquity of mobile devices and social networking platforms in the workplace allows workforces to function remotely and communicate during an emergency. Therefore, mobile devices enable business continuity during disasters, help support business operations, and minimize downtime. Such mobility trends will likely gain greater momentum and so, it is important for businesses to implement system protocols to back up employees' mobile devices. Similarly, social networking can be leveraged as an alternative to provide effective and critical disaster management. Such platforms also improve the chances of successful emergency communications and reduce the risk of dependency on traditional methods.

ChannelE2E adds: SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) gained serious momentum as an acronym back in 2013 or so. Fast forward to present day, and most channel partners are still wrapping their arms around the analytics piece of that acronym -- especially as it pertains to backup as a service.

2. Cloud backup for virtual machines

Technavio says: Virtualization is now an integral part of IT infrastructure. Many enterprises have committed to pursue virtualization beyond 50% benchmarks over the next few years. The technology offers many business benefits, including rapid provisioning and better utilization of system resources. Many organizations are seeking to implement agentless solutions for the backup and recovery of virtual machines. However, technological limitations (as of 2015) have compelled enterprises to use separate solutions for backing up physical and virtual machines.

VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Parallels, and Linux KVM offer various iterations of virtualization platforms. Cloud backup services help users to back up and restore multiple virtual and physical servers using a single, integrated service. We note that agentless backup, improved performance, enterprise scalability, multiple platform support, and quick and simple recovery are prominent features of virtual machines.

ChannelE2E adds: This particular "trend" seems a bit dated. VMware's own vSphere sales are either flat or falling since virtualization went mainstream years ago. You've certainly got to back up all those VMs. Veeam paved the way for that technology, but numerous vendors now offer similar solutions in that sector.

3. Convergence in cloud backup services and recovery

Technavio says: Convergence is an emerging trend in the online backup services space. The convergence of networking, computing, and storage denotes the movement of enterprise data from physical storage (such as tape disk and local severs) to virtual servers operating in the cloud. Convergence includes software-defined storage, hardware abstraction, networking services, central orchestration, and geo-distributed architecture, which help IT infrastructure to become an efficient and agile service. The convergence of backup and archiving also reduces capital uptake and lowers operational costs, in addition to simplifying IT processes. We note that the use of recovery technology should make for robust and efficient data backups.

ChannelE2E adds: Convergence is shifting to hyperconvergence. And it's not just enterprise accounts. Lenovo and Nutanix, for instance, are partnering to promote hyperconverged solutions into the SMB channel. Backup as a service is a natural extension to those types of offerings.

4. Automatic retrieval and backup

Technavio says: One of the biggest advantages of using backup as a service is the automatic backup of data that service providers execute on a daily or weekly basis. Some backup-as-a-service providers such as Carbonite, iDrive, and Mozy, upload the system files to their servers and make an image of the data to provide information backup. This streamlines the creation and sharing of business documents over a collaborative platform, and so helps companies to boost operational efficiency and business transparency.

ChannelE2E adds: Backup as a service? Funny, but we thought we had moved on to disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) and business continuity services.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.