Do Public Cloud Workloads Require Protection? You Bet.

Dell Launches a Cloud-Native Data Protection Service, Ensuring Your Workloads’ Data Is Always Protected

Not long ago I had a conversation with a CEO of a SaaS company, who runs their application in a public cloud. I asked him how he protected his data, and his response was “we have automatic recovery of the compute instances in the cloud”. We then spent a few minutes discussing the differences between protecting the compute instances (provided by the cloud provider) and protecting the data. Once we cleared that out, he responded to my original question by: “there’s no need to protect the data, since the cloud storage never fails, we’ve been using it for 3 years and it did not fail”. Before I could ask him about some recent events of public cloud unavailability, he continued: “however, we did have a few data losses due to a failure in our internal processes, which caused data to be deleted unexpectedly. This was a major embarrassment to us and caused serious business impact”.

I believe this conversation represents some of the myths and beliefs many share about public clouds. Don’t get me wrong, public clouds are an awesome way to build and deliver your services to the market, without the hassle of buying, installing, maintaining and operating your IT infrastructure. Surely they have their toll in cost and loss of flexibility and control, but if this works for your business, that’s an interesting option to explore. However, one could never assume that running on a public cloud means they could waive their responsibility to protect their (or their customers’) data. The cloud providers do not assume responsibility for the data protection and backup, and specifically call this out in their customer agreements. While published reliability and data retention for some public cloud storage types are impressive, these are not necessarily relevant to all types of storage that are available and used in the cloud, which require special handling. Moreover, data could be lost not only due to infrastructure reliability, but many other reasons could cause that, as was demonstrated by my conversation with that CEO. If we apply what we have learned from protecting data in on-prem data centers, only a small fractions of data loss events are caused by complete failure and disasters of a data center. Most recoveries are required due to:

  • Imperfect operational processes or human errors could result deletion or alteration of important data.
  • Failure of a regular maintenance operation such as a database upgrade could cause records or whole DB loss.
  • Cyber-attack, such as ransomware or a computer virus, could deem the whole data stored on one’s account unusable.
  • Internal attack, such as by a disgruntled employee, could result loss of complete sets of data and severely impact the business.

While many solutions aim to address one or more of these threats, the best protection is still to simply take frequent backups of the data, and store them in a protected location.

Dell has applied its experience in protecting data and workloads for customers of all sizes, and its #1 position in the data protection domain to help its customers continue safeguard their data also when they choose to run their workloads in the public cloud. A wide variety of options exist to cover the needs of almost every customer (more details here). However, in some situations, a cloud-native approach is required to accommodate the needs of the cloud workloads, e.g.:

  • When the preferred approach by the IT Ops/cloud team is to leverage the public cloud tools, but they want someone to automate this for them.
  • When a SaaS solution is preferred over installing and maintaining backup and recovery software.
  • When the application is refactored to use native cloud services (such as DBaaS) that prevent seamless integration with traditional solutions.

Meet Dell Cloud Snapshot Manager (CSM), a new SaaS offering that is fully operated by Dell and manages public cloud environment protection needs in a simple and automated manner. Once users subscribe to the service, they can just log into the CSM portal, provide the credentials to their cloud accounts (for security, provide a username with limited permissions) and start defining policies. That’s it. In less than two minutes, customers’ environments are protected with no installation needed.

The CSM service will automatically discover cloud workloads and volumes, in all relevant regions, and apply the defined policies to those instances based on their tagging. It will retain snapshots only within the defined retention period and delete older ones, saving cloud storage costs. If at any time a user needs to restore an instance, it happens with a single click, and users can restart the instance on the same or any other availability zone within the region.

CSM enables IT Ops and cloud environment administrators in organizations of any size to benefit from using the cloud services for protecting their data, but without the need to program and script data protection policies & processes. They can rely on Dell’s over 20 years in data protection experience to deliver a service that ensures their data is protected according to their own business needs. It also enables the people in the organization who are monitoring and ensuring data protection compliance (e.g. a data protection analyst) to easily validate that the defined policies follow the business needs and regulatory guidelines, without diving into long JSON scripts or pieces of code.

CSM’s Key Benefits

  • Ease of Use: With a powerful policy engine, Cloud Snapshot Manager helps you backup your environment by taking snapshots based on tags and lower your public cloud snapshot costs by deleting old snapshots per retention policies.
  • Highly Scalable: Designed from the ground up for cloud-scale, Cloud Snapshot Manager can manage a large number of instances and snapshots. It provides auto scaling, audit logs and reports, so as the company grows, data protection scales with it.
  • Multi Tenancy: Public cloud users can discover and automate native snapshots life-cycle across multiple cloud accounts and regions based on policies with ease. Users can create a new account or add the software entitlement to an existing account. Each Cloud Snapshot Manager account can have multiple users with login credentials who can access the public cloud account associated with that account, optimizing IT effectiveness across multiple lines of businesses within the organization.

Dell is a trusted partner in data protection, whether workloads are running on premises or in the cloud. The Dell data protection portfolio provides a trusted foundation for businesses to transform IT through the creation of a hybrid cloud, as well as transform their business through the creation of cloud-native applications and big data solutions.

Trying out the CSM service is easy: just visit to enroll in a free trial. More information on CSM including a data sheet is available at Annual service subscriptions are available for any desired number of instances.

About the Author: Yossi Saad

Yossi Saad is an engineer by education (BSEE, MSEE, Cum Laude), a product technologist by profession, and an innovator by choice. Yossi held product-related leadership positions in multiple companies before he joined EMC in 2010. Since, he has led Product Management for disaster recovery solutions and cloud data protection in Dell EMC’s Data Protection Division. In 2018 , he moved to the Office of the CTO to drive long-term technology innovation. Since 2020, Yossi has led the product management team tasked to drive a new edge platform from Dell Technologies. Yossi holds 10 U.S. patents and has 40 patents pending.