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Data Protection: 3 considerations your cloud vendor forgot to mention

JackieSu ‎03-05-2014 11:22 AM - edited ‎02-20-2015 12:36 PM

Cloud is on the move—big time.  According to IDC, the cloud market will reach $107 billion in 2017, with an over 23.5% of compound annual growth rate - that’s 5 times as fast as the IT market worldwide. 


Clouds are like snowflakes, no two are alike.  Yet, everyone claims to be rock-solid, simple, secure, reliable, compliant, the best of the best!


So, what important considerations do these vendors often forget to mention?



1.   Backup for Your Cloud Backup

For high availability, the cloud backup service should come with two independent, fully mirrored, geographically separate systems to provide complete data and system redundancy.  With 2 copies in the cloud, you always have a backup for your backup. 


Backup data that arrives at the primary vault is sent to the secondary vault, where it is revalidated and stored in the same manner as it is on the primary vault. If there should ever be an unrecoverable error on one of the vaults, the other vault provides continuity of ongoing backups and gives you the ability to restore historical versions. The vaults continuously cross-check each other to see that each has the same set of backup versions, and they cross-replicate between each other as necessary. When a vault comes back online after repair, it automatically acquires data that it is missing from the other vault.


Most cloud services don’t come with mirrored data centers, because they are costly to cloud backup vendors, which is why they don’t talk about this important consideration.


2.   Data Integrity

There shouldn’t be any alterations, additions, or deletions to your backup data. But, it’s easier said than done.  What steps does your cloud backup service take to ensure the integrity of your data?


For ongoing backups and restores, the cloud backup service should perform data integrity checks on all packets of data sent among protected servers, vaults, and appliances. These checks ensure that any alterations, additions, or deletions of data during transmission—either accidental or malicious—are detected and corrected by retransmitting the data.


The cloud backup service should take special steps to validate the integrity of the data on disk. The vaults should employ technologies to index, catalog, and organize the data blocks, and to run at least these types of consistency checks:

  • a)      On every write operation, the cloud service should validate the header information to ensure that blocks are written in the intended order, and that the header information is consistent.
  • b)      At least once a day, a block consistency checker should be run automatically. This validates that all the blocks that the vault needs are present to restore the latest backups. The block consistency check operates against the cloud service’s block index files, but it does not actually read the encrypted data blocks from disk.
  • c)      At least every two weeks, a full catalog consistency checker should be run automatically. This validates that—if requested—every file could be completely restored, but it does not actually read the encrypted data blocks from disk.
  • d)      At least once a month, a data consistency checker should be run automatically. This simulates a full restore of the latest version of every file. It reads the encrypted data blocks from disk to flush out any lurking disk errors. 


 3.   eDiscovery support

Today, legal hold and eDiscovery are key drivers in the data protection arena.  Leveraging eDiscovery/legal hold support capability to satisfy legal hold requirements is important to many organizations.  It brings data stored at the outer edge of the enterprise on remote servers under control, along with custodian data stored within enterprise email and document repositories.  


This can dramatically reduce the time it traditionally takes to execute legal hold on remote servers and replaces the high cost and protracted effort of manual solutions with a defensible process.



HP LiveVault does all that.  Check it out at




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About the Author


Su serves as Director of Product Marketing for HP Connected Backup and LiveVault, and has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software including SaaS, data protection, and information management & governance. She is based in Northern California.

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