Backup storage: public vs. private cloud

As cloud-based computing and data storage become increasingly common, managed services providers (MSPs) should take advantage of the greater flexibility, quality control, and security that these solutions provide.

As MSPs make their decision about what type of cloud-based backup solution to use, one key factor that they need to thoroughly consider is the cloud destination—meaning whether the backups are stored in public or private clouds. Not all cloud storage options offer the same benefits, and opting for one option over the other can actually have a significant effect on the speed and efficiency of the backup and recovery solutions you’re able to provide.

The primary difference between the two options comes down to who has control over the cloud resources and services. For example, MSPs that opt for a backup solution that allows them to bring their own public cloud (“BYOC”) have a lot of choice—but with that choice comes possible additional costs and burden. They can choose to utilize whichever third-party public cloud solution they trust. Your cloud provider will then store the data in their own private data centers, which they also maintain and manage.

In contrast, MSPs that choose a backup solution that uses its own purpose-built private cloud allows their backup vendor to manage every aspect of storage, security, and cloud infrastructure, giving the MSP a single vendor partner responsible for the process from end to end. Here are a few of the key advantages and disadvantages of both types of cloud storage when it comes to your backup solution.

Public cloud: BYOC backups

Public cloud solutions are the most widespread form of remote data storage, with AWS and Microsoft Azure being two commonly used options. With public cloud solutions, all resources are owned and operated by the third-party provider and are administered to you and your customers remotely via web browser. Public clouds provide backup storage and other services for multiple companies (also known as cloud tenants) using the same set of hardware and infrastructure—which can be an efficient option for MSPs looking to provide cloud storage services for their customers.

If you’re considering a backup solution that allows you to bring your own cloud, you’ll have to seek out the third-party public cloud solution you want to utilize for your backups. At first, this can seem like a huge advantage, as you can now venture out into the market and pick the offering that seems like the best option—whether it’s cost-effectiveness, security, or whatever features are most important to you.

However, while backup solutions that offer BYOC usually emphasize their flexibility and freedom of choice, they also often come with a few key disadvantages. The first of these disadvantages is that too much choice isn’t always a good thing. While you have the freedom to select your public cloud provider, it can be time-consuming for MSPs to navigate the search on their own. Pricing between cloud providers varies widely, and it may leave you with more questions than answers. For example, some providers make it cheap to get data into the cloud, but very expensive to retrieve—what does this mean for your MSP? This kind of decision-making is often more hassle than it’s worth, and add-on charges can quickly add up. For example, will you incur a large bill for every test recovery?

The second red flag to note here is that when backup solutions allow you to BYOC, it often indicates their offerings are retro-fitted for the cloud, rather than built specifically for the cloud-first era. This may mean their architecture isn’t as efficient as it should be to deal with the cloud, and that their cloud offerings are only an afterthought.

What’s more, allowing you to bring your own cloud introduces another potential party to complicate things in your backup and recovery processes. For example, imagine something isn’t working with your backups and you’re unable to identify the issue. Naturally, you go straight to your backup solution vendor and ask them to help troubleshoot. Instead of a helpful answer, however, they simply throw their hands up and point their fingers at the cloud provider you’ve chosen instead. When you go to your cloud provider, they blame your backup solution, leaving you back at the beginning. Introducing the possibility of finger-pointing in the event of errors may make it harder for you to get to the bottom of problems and serve your customers. This possibility is especially concerning at recovery time, when every minute matters.

Finally, using a public cloud may leave you with questions about data security. While many public clouds take great care to keep your data secure, they can’t offer you as much visibility into their data security as you might like to have. This can introduce distrust that may leave you wary about storing customer backups in their cloud. Using a third-party public cloud provider both increases the complexity of the chain of command and limits your oversight and visibility into certain aspects of how your customers’ data is managed and protected.

A purpose-built private cloud

In contrast, some backup solutions utilize their own private clouds that dedicate their resources and infrastructure to backup storage. While you may not wish to make the large investment in a data center of your own to provide your customers with a private cloud, choosing the right backup vendor can give you these benefits without that upfront investment and ongoing maintenance burden.

Additionally, there’s a subset of private clouds known as purpose-built clouds, which are specifically engineered to fulfill a particular function, such as backup storage and recovery services. Because purpose-built cloud vendors provide extremely specialized services, they often build their own software and data centers for transferring and housing backups.

MSPs can benefit by using backup solutions that make use of purpose-built private clouds, as the entirety of the cloud’s resources are dedicated to receiving incoming backups and processing recovery requests. The result is an efficient, seamless connection between software and data centers.

The advantages of SolarWinds Backup and its private cloud

SolarWinds® Backup utilizes a purpose-built private cloud, supported by 30 data centers around the world and designed specifically for MSP backup storage. This allows MSPs to be location-specific when selecting where their customer data is stored—data from German companies, for instance, will automatically be backed up to cloud data centers in the country—and to provide their customers with data locality.

Unlike solutions offered by many other backup providers on the market, SolarWinds Backup isn’t retrofitted for the cloud. From design to implementation, Backup’s efficient architecture is built specifically to provide rapid, secure cloud-first backup and recovery services. You also can avoid the hassle of having to choose your own cloud option—we take care of the storage for you so you can trust your backups are being handled with care.

Our cloud is also more security-focused than many on-premise and public cloud options—plus, we take responsibility for our cloud services and will support them without any finger-pointing or passing the buck. If there’s an issue, we want it fixed just as much as you do. That’s why SolarWinds Backup uses one-way TLS 1.2 connections to send backups to the cloud, and AES 256-bit encryption to keep them private and secure. Our data centers also feature cutting-edge physical safeguards, including biometric readers, round-the-clock security, multiple redundant power systems, as well as comprehensive fire protection and very early smoke detection and alarm (VESDA) systems.

While the intuitive Backup dashboard keeps things simple on your end, the solution is highly effective when it comes to safeguarding the privacy and integrity of your customers’ data. What’s more, Backup also gives you the option to keep a second, local copy of your backups  for the fastest possible recovery. To keep your customers’ data safe and accessible for recovery, try SolarWinds Backup free for 30 days to discover how our purpose-built private cloud offers the most efficient and secure solution for MSPs.

Want to stay up to date?

Get the latest MSP tips, tricks, and ideas sent to your inbox each week.

Loading form....

If the form does not load in a few seconds, it is probably because your browser is using Tracking Protection. This is either an Ad Blocker plug-in or your browser is in private mode. Please allow tracking on this page to request a trial.

Note: Firefox users may see a shield icon to the left of the URL in the address bar. Click on this to disable tracking protection for this session/site