Barracuda Offsite Vaulting – Offsite Only Features

There are some new and rather exciting features in the latest firmware revisions for the Barracuda Appliances. Simply put, you can choose to only keep your monthly and yearly backups offsite in your Barracuda cloud storage, whereas before your monthly and yearly backups needed to remain on both local and cloud storage. Here’s how Barracuda describes the process:

Offsite vaulting leverages Barracuda’s replication technology to offload up to twelve monthly and seven yearly revisions to an offsite location, freeing up disk space on your local Barracuda Backup Server. This feature maintains your organization’s compliance with long retention policies, allowing you to save more daily and weekly revisions. Note that offsite vaulting is available for both Barracuda Cloud and box-to-box replication. Offsite vaulting can be used for 12 monthly and 7 yearly historical revisions; these revisions are retained at the end of each calendar month and year.

You’ll find the new options under Device > Backup > Retention Policies > Expand the Retention Policy

Here’s what one of my systems looks like:

Barracuda Retention Policy

Big Deal…

For those of us managing many Barracuda devices (or all types of backups for that matter) we have at some point run into space issues. It seems no matter how big of a device we get, no matter how much storage we order, Administrators will max out space based on their retention policies, at first capturing everything for longer amounts of time. Eventually, when space becomes an issue, we adjust our retention policies, reducing the amount of historical backups saved, and eventually purge older backup data that’s no longer needed. The good news is that this strategy is intentional; we’re bumping up against our storage levels on purpose.

This strategy of increasing your retention policy to fill your storage is common because we’re covering and pleasing every manageable aspect of the backup policy. We’re pleased, because we’re getting great backups and we can restore from long long ago. Managers are pleased because you pleaded with them to to spend the money to get the larger device and they want to see all of that space used. Auditors both internal and external are happy because you’re  going well beyond what is required of your business to pass this part of the Network Policy Audit, whatever that may be. And when we run out of space, provided the systems and devices you are using has the functionality, we reduce the retention policy while still meeting expectations for all companies.

Good Guy Barracuda

Barracuda has done a great thing here. Typically, when we run out of room, if we corner ourselves and can’t reduce the retention policies, we have no other option but to purchase more space. For Barracuda, that means new devices, new hardware, new support, new deployments, a larger cloud footprint, and more $$$ for them. Giving us the option to eliminate monthly and daily backups locally means many Administrators will have more space on the hardware in their Data Centers, at least postponing the inevitability of business expansion and costs associated.

…or Sneaky Guy Barracuda?

In my business, my job is to fundamentally eliminate dependencies in all aspects of IT; from the hardware, to software, to networks, to backup and recovery methods. I compartmentalize and minimize divisions of parts of my responsibilities for the sake of mobility. I do this because that’s where business is heading. Management steers, and right now management wants to be able to, at any time, sell each part of IT off the highest (or lowest) bidder. Tying down customers has become the “game” of the business for service providers. Contract renewals are getting harder and harder, especially when you can pick up a part of the department, such as backups, and shuffle them off to another provider at a different price with a different level of quality.

All that to say by eliminating the local yearly and monthly backups, it become far more difficult to 1. Complete a large restore. and 2. Change your services. It’s equivalent to suddenly needing your moving company to stop by your storage unit down the road to pick up your grandma’s antiques, which you can’t live without, instead of just getting them off the shelf in your dining room at home. Well, if your storage unit was on the other side of the Country, moving will come at a cost. That cost will need to be considered before moving. Barracuda’s strategy here will definitely put more thought into businesses picking up and moving, should that time come.

I haven’t gone though the whole process, the backout procedures, but I’ll eventually post more of what I find.

Understanding Barracuda Offsite Vaulting:

I’d love to hear your take on this.