Zetta Blog

cloud appliance speed test

Cloud vs. Appliance-based Backup: Speed Test Showdown

by Laura Knight

Speed is one of the biggest arguments in the debate over appliance-based vs. online backup. The problem with direct-to-cloud, appliance advocates maintain, is that backing up data over the internet will always be slower than backing up to a local device (which can then later make a redundant offsite copy for disaster recovery).

We’ve been saying for years that that’s not the case – if you’ve got a well-architected, internet-first cloud backup solution, you don’t actually need an appliance at all (and in fact you’re better off without one). But ultimately, “they said, we said” is just talk. The real proof is in data.

That’s why we asked a third party to test our latest release (which contains significant speed enhancements for server images) against a leading appliance. The numbers we got back were rather surprising.

Putting Cloud to the Test

We asked Mediatronics to perform a speed test comparing our latest Version 4.7 release against a Barracuda Backup 390 appliance. There were two parts to the test: first, each solution would back up a 490GB server image to the cloud. The second test was an incremental backup with a 5% change rate, also transferred to the cloud.

Here’s the results Mediatronics recorded :

Initial Backup: Image backup of 490GB data drive

  • The appliance took 7 hours, 29 minutes to make a local backup copy, and another 38 hours, 10 minutes to transfer the backup to the Barracuda Cloud
  • Zetta.net transferred the backup to the cloud in 2 hours, 56 minutes – 13x faster than the appliance

Incremental Backup: 5% change rate

  • The appliance took 1 hour, 44 minutes to make the local copy and 5 hours, 58 minutes to transfer it to the Barracuda Cloud
  • Zetta.net finished the backup in 1 hours, 7 minutes – 6X faster than the appliance

We were expecting to be faster than the appliance in cloud backup – no surprises there. The part we were unprepared for was that Zetta Data Protection was also faster than the local backup – 2.5x faster.

For the first time, cloud backup has broken the LAN barrier.

Faster than the speed of LAN

Why is this important? Well, for many people the established backup workflow has been to make a local backup first, then get that local copy transferred offsite for DR purposes. Now, there’s no reason to wait. With the latest version of Zetta Data Protection, you can get your data transferred offsite in less time than it would take the appliance to get it backed up on-premise. This opens up a whole new backup workflow – with the offsite as the primary backup, and the local as the secondary.

The offsite-faster part is significant. We’ve said this before (and we’ll definitely keep saying it): the only real disaster recovery is offsite disaster recovery. If a water pipe bursts and floods your facility, or a faulty wire starts a bonfire in the office, the main servers and the appliance might both be toast…and any data that’s not offsite is gone with them.

The 38-odd hours it took the appliance to transfer data to the cloud is 38 hours the data was vulnerable to loss. With direct-to-cloud, on the other hand, the data was ready to recover in 3 hours. That’s a much smaller window of opportunity for disaster.

Don’t get us wrong – the local backup will probably never go out of style. Local copies are handy to have around for minor data loss incidents, and besides many people just feel better having a copy of their data inside the building. That’s why Zetta Data Protection can be configured to make simultaneous local copies to the storage of your choice. That means a convenient on-premise backup and a ready-for-disaster offsite backup, both done before the appliance is done putting on its shoes.

Bottleneck: busted.

Laura Knight
Laura Knight

As Content Marketing Manager, Laura writes, edits, designs and is always on the lookout for new ways to tell the Zetta story.