I am a big fan of lists. If you recall the movie “High Fidelity,” John Cusack’s character Rob and his co-workers—armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things musical—compile “top five” lists for every conceivable occasion, openly mock the tastes of people, and, every so often, sell a few records. In the spirit of a lists, here are the top five reasons to back up your OpenStack environment. We thought that it would be helpful to many.
If you’re currently working with OpenStack clouds, or are in the process of embracing it, you need to include backup and recovery for OpenStack on your list of to-dos from the start. You may ask, “Why? I have orchestrated/automated everything, I just need to spin resources up and down.” Cloud environments are fundamentally different from the virtualization we have become used to. Virtualization relies on infrastructure for resiliency. In the cloud, distributed applications are responsible for their own resiliency, and are independent of the underlying infrastructure. Therefore, cloud apps need backup and recovery options, lest you face a complete machine, data or file meltdown.
We’ve compiled the top five reasons to backup your OpenStack environment. Take a read and it will become clear why you must include backup in your OpenStack plans.
- Compliance — Compliance may seem like an issue for only certain industries—finance and health care come to mind—but nearly every organization has to deal with compliance issues. For some, it’s compliance to external regulations, while for others it’s simply complying with internal policies and best practices. Backup for OpenStack is an essential component for compliance; it ensures the availability of the data at a specific point in time within your OpenStack applications. I was recently involved in a dialogue/string on LinkedIn watching experienced OpenStackers go back and forth debating “pet vs. cattle.” “I am getting tired of it,” one person said. “This is cloud. It’s about scaling up and out … With automation and orchestration there is no need for cattle.” This conversation went on for days. Theory is great. Practice is reality. What people failed to discuss is that compliance or the business units will drive many requirements (such as backup) either today or tomorrow. End of story.
- DevOps — Backup is often the forgotten tool for DevOps. Containers are great to use, but the ability to test with real data is an issue. The reason to use backup is quite simple: test and development. With a copy of a production environment, you now can test upgrades and new features in your agile development process. Furthermore, if you lose a machine or your data, or you end up with corrupted files while in the middle of testing or development, your life will be much easier if you have an appropriate backup solution in place. Restoring machines, data and files is a better option than re-creating them entirely. Cookbooks and recipes are great as well, but you still need to couple it with the appropriate “ingredients.” It is like playing with a fake kitchen as a child … do you want to make breakfast with plastic pancakes and toast? Nothing beats the real thing. Yes, more resources are required for one over the other, but when something goes wrong—it is unfortunate—people point fingers.
- Disaster recovery plans — While the terms “backup” and “disaster recovery” often are used interchangeably, they are actually not the same thing. You might have what appears to be a great recovery environment (ideally one that mirrors your production environment for high availability), but without a comprehensive backup solution, your recovery might not be the painless experience you expect it to be. Perhaps the solution for intelligent disaster recovery is to marry backup with a Swift environment so you can recover from any point in time, anywhere in your organization.
- Save time — Often recovery can be a frantic process, driven by a business need to have the machine, data or files recovered as soon as possible. Or, more likely, sooner than possible. If you are trying to re-create something under that type of environment, there’s a likelihood that mistakes could be made. This becomes increasingly true the more complex and mature your cloud becomes (think about the growing number of workloads and applications). A much easier approach—one that provides you with peace of mind—is to have a comprehensive backup solution ready and available for when you need it. There’s also another reason backup can save you time: When you have to re-create the lost information, you are taking your time away from something else—and that means you are taking a big hit to your productivity. Save yourself and your organization a big headache with backup.
- Security and forensics — You never know when you are going to be asked to provide data or files related to a security issue or a forensics investigation. The right backup solution not only makes it easier to assist with the activity, but think how good you’ll look by being able to deliver the information the forensics team needs quickly.
Are you currently looking into backup solutions for OpenStack? Now that you know why you need backup for OpenStack, learn more about how to backup OpenStack.