Backup of cloud workloads

Leverage Backup and the cloud to modernise DR

TEST – Moving non-production workloads has become the de facto entry point for cloud infrastructure services, but at what stage do you start unpicking your core IT? How is your organisation going to realise the far greater cost savings from migrating the lion’s share of your production estate?

Taking the application-centric view of the cloud journey will only get you so far. CIOs know this: 56% say that their existing infrastructure is the greatest barrier to cloud[1]. At some point, the complexity of what remains requires a different approach.

That’s where we come in.

We recognise your IT is complex. Migrating all of it to the cloud is almost certainly not feasible and some will have to remain behind due to legacy complexity, security and performance.

Our approach is to look at the problem from a different angle; quantify the business value of cloud and identify appropriate use cases that will meet the key objectives of the business. Our approach focusses on data management. Many years of experience in designing, building and managing storage, backup, archiving and service management solutions enables us to identify the most appropriate strategies for migrating data to the cloud.

What is the Journey to Cloud?

The driver for Cloud Adoption is now very compelling. The ability to support an agile business through controlled and predictable costs, coupled with measurable and committed service levels is the ambition of any CIO. Consequently, two thirds of organisations now have some form of cloud service and Forrester predict 40% of all IT spend will be on cloud services by 2020.

However, whilst the benefits are clear to all, there are still some perceived challenges around cloud adoption that require evaluation in terms of interoperability and risk management. Complex legacy infrastructures, information security and the migration of key strategic services are causing some organisations to view cloud as more of a “tactical approach” that is not fully embedded into overall business strategy.

Moving your core infrastructure wholesale into the cloud is simply too difficult. Chipping away at it by migrating services that are good candidates is a more manageable and lower risk approach and has been well proven.

4sl “Journey to Cloud” is a portfolio of service offerings designed to address this perception by evaluating the cloud in the context of business strategy. It is based on a vendor and technology-independent consultative approach to evaluating the benefits of implementing a cloud based strategy within an existing IT infrastructure. It encompasses a full end-to-end approach from the initial evaluation of cloud against current business objectives, through to solution design, migration into live service and if appropriate, on-going operational management as indicated in the diagram below:

[1] NTT Group


Find out more about the services we offer

– Cloud Backup

– Cloud Archiving

– Managed backup

– DR from the cloud

– Utility Storage


The journey begins with the Cloud Readiness assessment. This consists of an initial evaluation of cloud against current business objectives and IT infrastructure in order to construct a cloud strategy that is fully aligned with business direction and based on an achievable migration roadmap. Starting from an assessment of the business drivers, the assessment profiles existing infrastructure and data sets, reviews current operational and service delivery processes and assesses requirements for governance and security.

Using a combination of data capture, interviews with key personnel and reviews of internal datasets (such as asset information, configuration data and operational processes), the assessment will evaluate eight key focal points:


• Business Drivers – Evaluating the drivers for change, any in-flight initiatives and how these could be realised.

• Current Architecture – Reviewing appropriate applications, hardware and software from a capability, performance and capacity perspective and evaluating what service improvements a cloud alternative would bring.

• Costs – Capturing the value of existing assets, their ongoing support and the financial impact of replacing them, comparing this with the cost model associated with a cloud based approach.

• Risks – Assessing the existing environment in terms of operational risks, what level of exposure currently exists and how these could be mitigated with a cloud based approach.

• Security – Capturing the key security requirements that a cloud based approach would have to address in terms of current security policies and how these would impact a cloud based solution.

• Service Delivery – Cloud Based Solutions still require a level of service management and this needs to be integrated into existing frameworks. This will identify changes required to existing practices.

• Data Governance – Any Data Governance standards employed may still need to be followed when data moves into the cloud. The impact of any such directives will be evaluated.

• Skill Sets – Migrating to cloud based solutions can result in replacing the need for technology expertise with more service focussed skills. The likely impact of this transition will be evaluated and new roles potentially identified within the organisation.



The output from this assessment will be used to frame a number of potential cloud solutions that would underpin a cloud strategy appropriate to the needs of the business. These solutions form a “Data in the Cloud” family with some or all being applicable to a specific customer.

The deliverable from the assessment will be a detailed report summarising the findings of the focussed investigations coupled with a description of possible solutions. In addition, it will define a future roadmap based on:

• Cloud Strategy – Formal definition of a corporate cloud strategy that is fully aligned with business objectives and shows how IT will evolve over the forthcoming years to deliver an agile and innovative service to the business.

• Business Case – Presentation of the main Business Drivers for adopting cloud, based on technology transformation coupled with changes in financial management.

• Cloud Architecture – The High Level Design for appropriate Cloud Based Solutions, documenting new technology requirements and interoperability with existing legacy infrastructure.

• Operational Model – Despite services being moved out to the Cloud they still need to be managed within an existing service management framework. This will identify changes required and recommendations for integrating cloud within an existing or new service management framework.

• Migration Plan – Definition of a low risk and minimal impact migration approach for adopting cloud services that addresses both the introduction of new services into a live environment and the management of historical, legacy data.

The Cloud Readiness Assessment will frame a number of potential cloud solutions that would underpin a cloud strategy appropriate to the needs of the business. With the common theme of “Data in the Cloud” 4sl have identified six potential use cases:

Cloud Backup – Directing backup data to the cloud in a secure and bandwidth efficient manner, coupled with a measurable service level for recovery. This typically consists of an on premise component providing rapid recovery from short term retention backups, coupled with a cloud based component for longer retention data and DR.

Cloud Archiving – Migrating ageing and redundant data to lower cost storage options within the cloud, coupled with transparent and easy data retrieval. This will reduce online storage requirements, help reduce backup windows and introduce information lifecycle management. The archiving solution can also include an eDiscovery capability consisting of Content Indexing and Rapid Search.

DR from the Cloud – Leveraging backed up data in the cloud, establish a DR capability by sourcing Compute, Networking and Storage resources collocated with the backed up data and using this infrastructure to recover business critical applications in a timely manner. The service can encompass periodic DR testing to minimise DR risk and ensure compliance.

Utility Storage – Storage tiering capabilities and unified storage platforms from technology vendors, coupled with flexible procurement options in the form of “Capacity on Demand”, now make “Storage as a Service” a viable option for many organisations. In addition, the growth of cloud based storage offerings from many service providers enable corporate data to be housed on a range of storage platforms that can radically reduce ongoing storage spend. This enables organisations to migrate from in-house homogenous storage infrastructures to an externally managed storage utility based on storage services delivered from a range of technology options (both on-premise and cloud), delivered on a per GB price.

Unstructured Data – To provide a global, scalable, sharable storage platform enabling business users to share a common, real time view of all files across all office locations, with inherent redundancy and space efficient storage. This would encourage more collaboration across globally distributed personnel leading to more efficient business processes, tighter control of sensitive data and removal of duplicate files.

Data Governance – Backing up and archiving data to a central repository leverages the ability to content index the data and enable an efficient search capability. It can also establish a formal lifecycle management approach for managing data, ensuring it is archived when it becomes infrequently used and deleted when it no longer has business value. This enables organisations to define formal data management policies for compliance and regulatory purposes, and leverage technology to ensure they are enforced.

In addition to specifying how data management services will be delivered, the design will also address requirements for service management, security and user access, identifying any changes required to existing service management and operational processes.

The output from Use Case Design can then be used as a driver for vendor selection, should Cloud Based Services be adopted.

The migration to any cloud solution must be conducted in a risk free manner with minimal impact on production services. 4sl has extensive experience in migrating customers into its own Managed On-Premise and Cloud Backup Services. 4sl has developed a migration approach that has been successfully deployed on numerous occasions and consists of repeatable project management deliverables, design templates and acceptance test plans.

Whether migrating to a 4sl managed service or that of a Public Cloud Provider, 4sl can apply it’s well proven methodology to any cloud based migration and act in an independent capacity to ensure services are migrated smoothly and business objectives are met in a satisfactory manner.

A key component of Migration is legacy data management and 4sl help ensure this valuable business data is still secured and available post migration.

Being a vendor and technology-independent service offering, the 4sl Journey to Cloud is independent on the Cloud Services finally adopted. However, 4sl can offer leading cloud based services for Cloud Backup, Cloud Archive, Cloud DR and Utility Storage. This fourth phase of the Journey is therefore applicable in the scenarios when 4sl Cloud Based Services have been chosen.