Rackspace Cloudvent Calendar Day 3: Avoiding Disaster: Polyglot Backup

In the spirit of the holiday season, I’m sharing some tips and features of our cloud that you may not know about. In this countdown I’ll have 24 posts for you, each covering a single topic or feature about Rackspace Cloud products. We’ll post one per day so keep checking back!

At Rackspace, we offer two options for backup in the cloud: image-based backup and the Cloud Backup service. Rackspace, by default, does not back up your servers – we want to give you the freedom to define how and when your data is backed up. In this post, we’ll take a quick look at both so you can determine how you want to use these services in your backup strategy.

Images are a combination of three OpenStack services working together: Nova (compute: Cloud Servers), Glance (images) and Swift (object storage: Cloud Files).  When you create an image via the Control Panel or API, the OpenStack Compute service has the hypervisor create a snapshot of the disk of your running server. That image is then uploaded to our image service and stored in Cloud Files. That image can then be used to create new servers. Since the launch of our Performance Flavors, imaging has changed a bit. You now have two disks: a system disk and one or more data disks. The imaging process takes the snapshot of the system disk only. More information on this difference is available in our Knowledge Center.

Cloud Backup, on the other hand, is a file-level backup service. A small software agent runs on your servers and works to compress and encrypt your data based on an inclusion list you define. Your backup data is stored in Cloud Files where it is written to three different storage nodes. You can also rest easy: you can get an email notification if a backup fails. If you’re a developer, you can programmatically control Cloud Backup via the API.

You can use both of these technologies for different areas of the same application. For example: imaging may work better for web and application servers, while your database needs a file-level solution that is encrypted for security.

Keep checking back as we move forward into the month of December!


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