The traditional way of performing backups includes using Oracle RMAN in combination with media management layer software ( typically Netbackup, Tivoli or similar ), which writes backup data to remote robotic tape unit. Tapes are then stored offsite to a secure location. It is well known fact that tape media poses certain challenges in reliability and physical manipulation areas.
Cloud-based backups’ main attraction is that they are inherently disk based, always accessible, offsite and there are no capex expenditures. All tape related costs are thus eliminated. On the other hand new costs will be incurred for Cloud backups storage and service. Data is transferred over the public network i.e. Internet.
Cloud based backups can be used for quick database refresh or duplication of source databases to any target environment. Practically you have an unlimited amount of storage that can be instantly attached to any database server as temporary storage for backups and restores. For example, you might want to create new QA environment using development database as data source. This can be achieved by backing up development database to Amazon S3, then restoring to QA.
Technology to perform tightly integrated Oracle backups to Amazon Cloud ( S3) is available. Please refer to http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/features/availability/twp-oracledbcloudbackup-130129.pdf for technical details. RMAN is integrated with Amazon via Oracle Secure Backup (OSB) Cloud Module which automatically directs backups to Amazon S3 storage. Backups can be encrypted and run in parallel over multiple channels to comply with security and performance requirements.
Simple change in your RMAN configuration parameters will redirect backups to the Amazon Cloud. RMAN parameters will have to be carefully configured to take maximum advantage of compression and parallel execution in order to minimize impact of network speed to data transfer rates.
For databases larger than couple of hundred of Gigabytes it would be impossible to rely on standard Internet, out-of-the-box data transfer rates. Amazon AWS Direct Connect service lets you establish direct connection from your on-premise network to Amazon VPC using one or more 1Gbps and 10Gbps connections. There is no charge for IN data transfers, which makes it ideally suited for backup purposes.
Open source fast file transfer protocol called Tsunami UDP provides faster data transfers than what is possible with ftp.
Additional products like Aspera that boost network data transfer rates are being introduced that make it possible to move terabytes of data on a daily basis. Please refer to http://aws.amazon.com/solutions/solution-providers/aspera/. There is additional cost associated with Aspera usage.
Restore, i.e., DR tactics will not have to be significantly modified to take advantage of cloud based backups.
OSB Cloud module is currently available for Linux 32 and 64, SPARC 64, and Windows 32 bit environments.