Excellent post over at cloud storage provider Nirvanix concerning the difference between backup and replication (and in this particular case, cloud replication.) I really recommend it; definitely worth your time to read it.  If you don’t, then the summary is pretty simple: it’s dangerous to your company and to your career if you allow yourself to be confused about the differences between backup and replication.

The author, Stephen Foskett (who is the director of consulting at Nirvanix), does a good job of calling out the various distinctions.  The following quotes particularly resonated

Storage industry folks have been suggesting that new technologies eliminate “traditional backups” ever since there has been an industry to speak of.

Good backup is much more than mere data protection: Backup must manage data, not just protect it. No basic storage technology will eliminate a real backup solution.

Operating systems and applications must be integrated into the solution. Bare-metal recovery, disasters, and compliance must be considered. Storage folks ignore these hard-learned lessons at their peril, and any storage vendor who says backup is dead is revealing their ignorance or naïveté!

It’s rare and impressive to see a storage vendor (in this case, Nirvanix) speak with such clarity.  Now, as with everyone (including me), Nirvanix has an angle on this.  Nirvanix is creating an ecosystem of partners around its cloud offering to compete with Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure (not the BPOS part but the lower-level storage APIs that look a lot like S3’s), and others.  But in speaking so clearly, the company does a great job of calling itself out as an honest player.

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