Twain Taylor

Evaluating Cloud Backup Solutions: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud

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Traditional backups were created and stored on local data centers managed by the enterprises themselves. However, managing data centers is expensive and prone to various issues. Therefore, there is a shift in the market towards cloud backup solutions. 
Cloud backups are reliable, fast, and flexible. Enterprises can backup VMs, application data, archives all on a cloud backup solution of their choice. Instead of throwing money at the problem, enterprises can leave expensive data centers behind and embrace this new paradigm. Cloud backups eliminate the looming threat of data loss in case of a disaster. Stored across multiple data centers, cloud backups can be accessed and managed from any authorized remote device.
Source: Pixabay
The cloud market has had a bustling last few years with several vendors coming up with innovative cloud solutions. However, the front-runners of this race are Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Together, these three vendors account for around 90% of the market space. Let’s look at what these vendors have to offer:

Amazon Web Services:

Launched in 2006, AWS is one of the oldest cloud offerings in the market. And, with the innovation Amazon puts into AWS, they have managed to lead the cloud market. AWS accounts for as much as 60% of the cloud market at the moment, depending on which survey you look at. With almost 160+ services, AWS has the largest portfolio of services offered. Over the years, Amazon has gained a great reputation in the market and continue to deliver to the day. AWS cloud services include development and management tools and mobile and application services.

AWS Cloud backup

AWS cloud backup solution is a package of different storage services based on different needs of enterprises. These solutions all provide a central configuration that can be accessed through authorized devices. AWS also allows for more prioritized and completely automated backups which reduce manual work to a bare minimum. The various storages services provided by Amazon include:
Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service):
This storage service is object-based and allows users to choose what global data center they want to choose based on geographical distance making data transfer easier. 
Amazon Glacier:
This storage service is ideal for backups that aren’t accessed very often or at all,  This service is cheaper since this storage doesn’t have to be very active. Glacier also allows for swifter data retrieval from huge loads of data. 
Amazon EBS:
Amazon Elastic Block Storage is ideal for more persistent data loads like the once maintained by Amazon Cloud Compute (EC2). EBS keeps data available even when it’s not being used by any EC2 components.
Storage Gateway:
Storage Gateway is a hybrid platform that allows on-prem resources to connect to the cloud. 
AWS is a pay-as-you-go service that provides users with various discounts based on their usage. Although, it is probably the most expensive service on the list. Users can choose to terminate their services at any time as there is no long term licensing. There’s a free tier available with limited services and storage capacity for users who want to try it out.
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Microsoft Azure
Right behind AWS in the race is Microsoft's cloud solution, Azure. Since its launch in 2010, it has gained a lot of traction and momentum. It captures 20% of the cloud market and has been implemented by various enterprises all around the work thanks to perpetual innovation and the trust Microsoft has gained among the enterprises. Azure is an amazing service that provides a variety of tools and services to its clients. With the help of Azure, users can deploy and manage VMs on the scale. Azure also provides support for the hybrid cloud which AWS falls short on. Microsoft is regarded as one of the fastest cloud providers in the market and allows users to perform large scale, parallel batch computations which makes it ideal for enterprises with giant workloads. 

Azure’s backup solutions:

Azure provides users with a reliable and quick backup solution. Azure backup can be used to backup on-premise VMs, Azure VMs, files, and heavy SQL workloads without any additional infrastructure. Azure backup allows users to encrypt and store their data for an extended period of time. Azure backups are also application-consistent which reduces time to recovery. Like AWS, Azure also provides a centralized backup management portal. Let’s take a look at various storage options provided by Azure:
Blob Storage
This is Azure’s object storage solution. It is optimized for storing huge volumes of unstructured data. Blob storage is ideal for writing on to log files and streaming videos and audio.
Azure Disk Storage 
Azure provides users with both HDD and SDD disk storage options for VM instances. Users can choose one and pick the size they want and Azure takes care of creating and managing that disk later. As the requirements evolve, users can easily upgrade to SDD.
Azure Long Term Storage
Azure also provides users with cost-effective long term storage options:
Hot: Meant for frequently accessed data.
Cool: Meant for data that isn’t accessed frequently and it stored for at least 30 days.
Archive: Meant for data stored for at least 180 days and accessed rarely.
StorSimple:
This hybrid cloud storage solution helps users consolidate their data from different platforms. It also provides accelerated disaster recovery and improved compliance. 
Azure is cheaper than AWS and provides its services on-demand which makes for much-relaxed billing. There’s also a free tier that provides limited credits for a month.

Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform has been in the race since 2019. GCP offers a number of services like the other two vendors. GCP captures 12% of the cloud market, today. Several enterprises rely on GCP for their entire workloads. GCP’s App Engine helps with the development of applications without requiring a server. It also provides high-level computation and storage services. GCP is one of the fastest-growing cloud vendors in the market. Enterprises rely on GCP because of its incredible security solutions. GCP provides enterprises a higher level of security via multilayer authorization and data encryption and is hence ideal for enterprises that put security first.

Google Cloud backup solutions:

Google Cloud Platform doesn’t have an official backup solution, however, it does provide efficient storage options that can be used to store and maintain backups. GCP provides support for relational databases and Hadoop clusters along with Big Query and Big Table among numerous others. Let’s take a look at GCP’s cloud storage portfolio:
Google Cloud Storage
GCP’s object storage offering provides high availability and durability. It’s ideal for backups and archival data. 
Google Persistent Disk
This is GCP’s high-performance storage solution for VM instances. Persistent Disk allows multi-reader mounting which lets multiple users read data from the single disk without any effect on its performance. Persistent Disk is highly scalable and allows for more efficient snapshot creation. Snapshots are created in a matter of minutes and get replicated across all regions to make it easy to restore if need be.
Archival Cloud Storage
For long-term archive storage, GCP offers low cost, durable, and highly available storage solutions.
Coldline: This option is ideal for data that is not accessed a lot or at all with the ideal frequency being once a year.
Nearline: This option is suitable for data that is accessed a little more frequently, say, ideally once every month.
GCP also provides its services on demand and users may opt for one of the various cost-effective packs they offer. 
Doesn’t have it’s own hybrid support service, however, relies on partners like Egnyte.

In conclusion

These are just some of the various vendors available in the market. Organizations looking to backup their workloads should consider all the different features and prices and overall reputation of a vendor to finally choose one that works for them.

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