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Lines between desktop computing and the cloud continue to be blurred

03 Nov 2014

The cloud is blurring the lines for backup and DR, says Peter Thomas, KeepItSafe general manager. He offers some tips for seamless protection for your customers.

No twerking here, just some observations about how the lines between desktop computing and the cloud continue to be blurred.

Not so many years ago, it was abundantly apparent to the end user where their computing environment stopped and where the internet started. Desktop machines could 'access' an online service, most commonly web pages, online storage or more sophisticated applications such as Salesforce or Xero. People knew when they were switching from one environment to another and the transfer of information between the two was a deliberate process: “I’m going to save that file to my desktop”.

The gap has closed to the point where users may not be aware they are interacting with the cloud at all. Cloud storage applications such as Google Drive are a good example. The files are stored locally and in the cloud simultaneously, without user interaction.

The Google Drive configuration tools are actually just HTML pages served from the cloud, although they appear to the user to be a local application. Blurred lines.

The ultimate example is the evolution of the mobile device. A complete mishmash of operating system, applications and the cloud in a fairly seamless user experience. In the end, that’s what we are looking for - the ability to think slightly ahead of the user’s requirements and deliver it to their device just before they asked for it.

Seamless recoverySimilarly, the lines are disappearing in backup and DR. Online backup solved a big chunk of the problem - delivering secure automated 'set and forget' data protection. However, automated backup is only solving half the problem. What about recovery? Moreover, corporates are not just wanting their filesback, they want a 'seamless' recovery experience.

The corporate world is increasingly looking to minimise risk to their business by combining backup with a disaster recovery solution.

Ultimately, if their onsite servers fail, they want the ability to recover them seamlessly into a cloud environment. Their users should not need to know or care that anything changed. For them, the experience should be seamless and invisible.

Surprisingly, the cost of such protection is now well within the reach of all corporates and most small to medium businesses. Servers can now be backed up as a complete snapshot, including the operating system, applications and data. This can be replicated to a cloud environment, via increasingly cost effective broadband connections. VDSL is usually the minimum requirement.

To automate the failover process, some simple routing equipment at $200 is all that is required at the entry level. Your customers then effectively have two networks, one in their office, and one waiting on standby in the cloud. Those lines have continued to blur to the point where users can move seamlessly from local to DR and back again without any knowledge of the change.

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