Cartika, a Canadian provider of managed application hosting, has released an advisory cautioning cloud users against relying solely on snapshotting for backups. “Many cloud vendors market snapshots as a sufficient backup solution, but snapshotting technologies, while useful for VM duplication or rollbacks, are not a replacement for a specialized backup tool,” said Andrew Rouchotas, CEO of Cartika.
Snapshots, which constitute a byte-for-byte copy of a virtual machine, are one form of backup but snapshots as provided by most cloud vendors would fail to account for a number of data loss scenarios. A major drawback of snapshot concerns the handling of backed-up data, according to Cartika’s CEO, which frequently remains on the same physical server or storage volume as the live virtual machine. A failure of the infrastructure supporting the organization’s sites and services will also damage the backup or render fast restores impossible.
“Snapshots don’t understand file systems or databases, which makes it more difficult to carry out selective data restoration and limits backup portability,” added Rouchotas. “Moving snapshots between virtualization platforms is difficult, if not impossible.”
Managed hosting provider Cartika is the creator of the Bacula4Hosts enterprise backup tool, a backup solution providing significantly more granular control of backups than snapshotting systems, including the ability to restore individual files, selected sets of files, databases and database tables, and mailboxes. Because they understand file systems rather than being byte-for-byte copies, these backups can be restored directly to bare metal or to any cloud platform.