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Datto uniquely empowers businesses to meet their growing need for robust, yet economical backup, disaster recovery and business continuity. Datto’s Total Data Protection Platform uses a hybrid cloud architecture because it offers the best value for SMBs. This white paper offers five reasons every SMB should embrace a hybrid cloud model in today’s IT environment.

What is Hybrid Cloud?

“Hybrid cloud,” in the context of this white paper, refers to a data protection architecture that combines on-prem and off-prem disaster recovery as-a-service deployment models. The on-prem component of a hybrid cloud deployment may or may not utilise virtualisation. It may also be managed remotely by an MSP (Managed Service Provider), rather than by the SMB’s own IT staff.

In the case of Datto’s Total Data Protection Platform, the on-prem component of the architecture involves backing up data locally to a backup/disaster recovery appliance—while also performing deduplication, compression, file conversion and other operations as part of the backup process. These operations reduce consumption of on- and off-site storage resources, minimize bandwidth requirements and compress both backup and restore times.

The off-prem component of a hybrid cloud is typically provided on an as-a-service basis to the SMB, which means that the SMB does not have to bear the responsibility of managing it—and can pay for it on a subscription basis. The use of Datto’s cloud also eliminates many operational responsibilities and provides powerful economies of scale. Also, the Datto cloud replicates data to multiple locations to ensure recoverability even in the event of the most extreme local disaster.

The result is a data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity solution that is second to none in terms of reliability, cost-efficiency and RPO/RTO capabilities.

1. Superior Business Continuity

For SMBs, data protection is no longer merely a “nice-tohave.” It is a must. There are two reasons for this. First, SMBs are more dependent on technology than ever. If they can’t access their customer, operational or supply-chain data, they can’t do business. So every minute of downtime costs them money. And if they permanently lose any data, the cost is undeniably even higher.

Second, in a market environment where customers can easily take their business elsewhere at the drop of a hat, even a relatively brief IT outage can cost an SMB relationships that may have taken years to develop. An extended period of downtime can actually put an SMB out of business. The ability to keep critical IT systems up and running, regardless of a hardware failure, an extreme weather event, or other contingency, is thus essential.

A hybrid cloud solution like Datto’s Total Data Protection Platform safeguards business continuity for SMBs in two important ways:

  1. It ensures that all data, applications and server images are safely stored off-site. Local backups aren’t much good in the event of a building fire or extreme local weather. With a hybrid solution, those contingencies won’t threaten an SMB—because everything of business value is safely ensconced in multiple locations: on-prem and in remote cloud datacentres.
  2. It allows data, applications and server images to be accessed from any failover location. Business continuity isn’t just about storing backups. It’s about spinning up failover systems as quickly as possible. With some hybrid cloud backups, those failover systems can start running instantly on on-prem hardware if the problem is just a device failure. But what sets the best business continuity solutions apart is when a real disaster strikes. A complete hybrid cloud solution allows an SMB to run its critical applications off virtual machines in the cloud—which users can access from branch offices, home PCs, laptops or any other authorised systems—until such time as normal IT operations can be restored. Not all solutions do this (some simply offer cloud backup), and in fact, some may charge extra for cloud failover. For the fastest failover time, you’ll want a solution like Datto, which saves each backup in a ready-to-restore VMDK file format that requires no timeconsuming conversions at the time of restore.

Bottom line: Hybrid cloud backup is ideal for SMBs that want to fully safeguard their business data.

2. The Need for Speed

How and where business data is backed up will have a direct impact on how fast its data can be restored. For businesses that need access quickly – in seconds or minutes – the need for speed become very clear. 

A hybrid cloud-based backup strategy has the potential for

both faster backups and lightning fast restores.

  • Speed of backup. How quickly a solution performs a backup can have a big impact on a business’ entire network. An off-site-only solution (direct to cloud) can result in lengthy backups that slows down your network. It can also put a business’s servers at risk during the process. On the other hand, the option to leverage an on-prem appliance will result in a faster local backup process. By taking backups on a local device, and then replicating that data offsite during a specified backup window (usually after office hours), you save time on backups and don’t bog down network bandwidth. Hybrid cloud backups add speed, reliability and security.
  • Speed of restore. Restoring files and systems from a local appliance is much faster than pulling from the cloud. With Datto, it’s even faster–we’re talking 6 seconds to restore from our SIRIS 2 on-prem appliance. What’s more, because each image-based backup is already saved as a virtual file (VMDK), even cloud restores are super fast with Datto. Most other solutions start the process of saving backups as virtual files after the request to restore has been made. That extra step means more downtime you can’t afford.

Bottom line: Hybrid cloud backup has clear advantages when it comes to speed of both backups and restores.

3. Adaptable Capacity

SMB backup capacity requirements are notoriously difficult to predict. After all, in a large enterprise, a new application or data source only has minimal impact on overall backup volume requirements. In an SMB environment, on the other hand, even a single new IT system or resource can dramatically affect backup volume if it’s used intensively enough.

That unpredictability—combined with the fact that business data as a whole is growing at a rate of 60% or more annually— presents a quandary for business owners. Underestimate volume requirements, and you’ll have to scramble to increase infrastructure capacity and ratchet up your costs. Overestimate volume requirements, and you’ll overspend and reduce your ROI.

A hybrid cloud model enables SMBs to cope with this unpredictability in several ways. On-prem, it’s important to look for backup hardware that can grow with a business’ data needs. Preferred devices come equipped with hot-swappable drive bays enabling easy field upgrades. Off-prem, it gives SMBs access to as much capacity as they need—while also not locking them into excess capacity if they don’t need it. If you’re concerned about exceeding, and in turn paying for data overages, look for a vendor like Datto that offers a timebased cloud retention model versus a capacity-based model. Time-based retention guarantees predictable cloud billing for businesses

Bottom line: Hybrid cloud can adaptively accommodate unpredictable fluctuations in the volume of business data SMBs must protect.

4. More Confident Compliance

Many SMBs are subject to regulatory mandates that require them to:

  • Protect specific data from loss or corruption
  • Retain specific records for a mandated period of time
  • Document successful testing of data recovery mechanisms

Hybrid cloud—especially as delivered by Datto—offers SMBs the best means of fulfilling these regulatory requirements. To remediate data corruption, for example, an SMB needs to roll back to the most recent possible uncorrupted version of the data. However, data corruption events often escape immediate detection. That means that an SMB depending exclusively on local backup would have to maintain numerous incremental versions of every file under such regulatory mandates. This would obviously add to the cost of data protection. An offprem cloud solution coupled with a local backup is much more practical for this type of multi-increment protection.

Datto’s Total Data Protection Platform goes a step further by automatically checking backup integrity.and offering screenshot verification Should a backup not be valid, the screenshot reports the failure and acts as an alert for the MSP. This provides three important benefits. First, it allows MSPs to take immediate action. These actions can include both restoration of the most recent uncorrupted data and investigation of the root cause of that corruption in order to keep it from happening again.

Second, this automatic alerting protects both the SMB and the MSP from the data corruption that can occur in the backup process itself. This is a non-trivial risk that can be especially problematic when it involves data covered by regulatory mandates. Third, it provides a means of tangibly demonstrating to regulatory auditors that appropriate mechanisms have been put in place to fulfill the requirements of those mandates. Bottom line: Hybrid cloud empowers SMBs to more confidently comply with regulatory mandates relating to data protection and data recoverability.

7. Better Bandwidth Management Offload (server work and bandwidth)

The backup solution you choose can have a direct impact on the efficient use of your network bandwidth. A cloud-based option has the potential to better distribute the flow of data, enabling a business to run more efficiently.  Keep in mind, however, that not all clouds are created equal. Look for a vendor that manages its own purpose-built cloud, designed specifically for efficient backup and data transfer.

  • Optimal Server Function. With cloud-only backup solutions, business servers are burdened with agents that waste valuable resources to dedupe, compress and encrypt each backup utilising the business server’s own valuable resources. Having a dedicated local backup device offloads work from the server to prevent these workloads from interfering with a server’s main production.
  • Improved Use of Bandwidth. A hybrid cloud solution results in a better use of a network’s precious bandwidth. Because the initial backup occurs on a local appliance through a local area network, the backup happens fast. After the backup to the local appliance, the cloud backup can be managed so that it happens once a day after business hours. You’re not eating up valuable network bandwidth during operating hours. By using a hybrid cloud solution, bandwidth use can be optimised with some solutions allowing for aggressive local RPOs and bandwidth-friendly cloud RPOs at the same time.

Bottom line:  Hybrid cloud means your business will have more control over server function and managing valuable bandwidth.