Community Blog What Is Alibaba Cloud Cloud Backup?

What Is Alibaba Cloud Cloud Backup?

This article describes the details of Cloud Backup, which is a backup service of Alibaba Cloud.


Alibaba Cloud Cloud Backup is a fully managed backup service of high reliability that enables data backup to a cloud vault (a storage location for various types of information, including sensitive data). Cloud Backup can facilitate backups from both on-premises and cloud environments, accommodating sources such as Elastic Compute Service (ECS), Apsara file systems, NAS clusters, Object Storage Service (OSS), files, databases, VMware, and virtual machines (VMs).

The following sections provide the details of Cloud Backup.

1. Importance of Backup

Data backup is critical across all industries to guarantee the continuation of business into the future. Statistical reports reveal that, following data loss due to disasters, etc., 90% of organizations are unable to immediately restore their data, facing the risk of going out of business. Thus, backup is a vital procedure for the ongoing operation of any business. Nonetheless, backups present challenges, such as safeguarding personal information, backup expenses, and issues with reliability and availability. These challenges grow more complex as the volume of data requiring backup increases. Cloud Backup is designed to meet these challenges head-on.


2. What Is Cloud Backup?

Cloud Backup is a cost-effective, secure, and reliable cloud-based data backup service that is developed by Alibaba Cloud. With Cloud Backup, you can back up your files from ECS instances, SQL Server databases, SAP HANA instances, NAS file systems, and OSS buckets. It also supports backing up from various on-premises and cloud data sources, including NAS, VMware VMs, MySQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Databases.

Cloud Backup stands out from traditional local data center backup solutions for its advantages in cost, deployment time, operations and maintenance (O&M), and robustness.

Compared Items Alibaba Cloud Cloud Backup Traditional Local Data Center Backup Solution
Costs Saves total cost of ownership (TCO) by using the pay-as-you-go billing method Requires high costs to purchase software and hardware
Deployment duration Available immediately after Cloud Backup is deployed Requires months for building and deployment
O&M Provides high scalability, high reliability, and operation-free Requires high maintenance and management costs and large manpower investment
Robustness Implements backups with a few clicks and provides multiple protections Unable to prevent data losses caused by natural disasters

3. Cloud Backup Features

3.1. Technical Features

Cloud Backup supports efficient data deduplication and explicitly identifies duplicate data segments. By using variable-length segments, Cloud Backup accurately identifies duplicate data and only uploads or backs up new data segments.


3.2. O&M

Cloud Backup allows you to configure policies for full, incremental, log, and real-time backups based on your business requirements. You can receive alert notifications in a variety of ways, such as Short Message Service (SMS) messages and emails. In addition, in the Cloud Backup console, you can check the details and error log reports of historical backup jobs.


3.3. User Experience

Cloud Backup offers a user-friendly interface and backup and recovery procedures for various backup scenarios, such as backing up files and databases, and backing up ECS instances for disaster recovery. The Cloud Backup console displays a list of backup plans, backup points, and recovery points, making it easy to perform complex disaster recovery tasks.


3.4. Security and Reliability

Cloud Backup provides security features such as redundant backup vaults, backup locks, permission isolation, and Key Management Service (KMS)-based encryption to enhance the security of data backup. After you enable the KMS-based encryption feature and backup locks in the user interface, you can easily use these security features.

Redundant Backup Vaults

Cloud Backup uses the multi-zone deployment mechanism, which distributes backup data across three zones within the same region.

Backup Lock

Data in backup vaults can be written only once, read multiple times (WORM), and no account can delete backup data until the configured retention period elapses.

Permission Isolation

Cloud Backup grants Resource Access Management (RAM) users permissions to perform backup or restore operations only on specific backup vaults to prevent unauthorized use.

Encrypted Disaster Recovery

Cloud Backup uses AES-256 source-side encryption for backup data transmission and storage by default. You can also use the KMS-based encryption feature to manage encryption keys.

4. Cloud Backup Functionalities

Cloud Data Backup

Cloud Backup allows you to back up important data, such as Alibaba Cloud ECS files and data from self-managed MySQL databases, Oracle databases, and SQL Server databases, SAP HANA instances, NAS file systems, OSS buckets, and Tablestore instances, to a backup vault over the Internet. It also provides near real-time backup capabilities for MySQL and Oracle databases.

On-premises Data Backup

You can flexibly configure backup policies to directly back up local files, NAS files, VMware VMs, databases in your local environment to the cloud backup vault.

Cross-region Backup and ECS Geo-disaster Recovery

The mirror backup vault feature allows you to perform cross-region backups and implement multiple data protections. For ECS, it provides a second-scale recovery point objective (RPO) and gradual recovery time objective (RTO) for high-performance geo-disaster recovery.

Migration of VMware VMs

Local VMware VMs can be migrated to the cloud incrementally, easily and quickly without an agent.

Strategic Archiving of Local NAS File Systems

Large files from the local NAS file systems can be archived in a cloud backup vault, which is useful.

Archiving NAS Files

Cloud Backup also allows you to back up NAS files and enhances local and cloud data protection.

5. Cloud Backup Scenarios

The following section describes possible challenges that can be expected in real-world business environments and how to address the challenges by using Cloud Backup.

5.1. Backing up On-Premises Data to the Cloud


Business Challenges

  1. It is difficult to configure backups due to the distributed file locations.
  2. Backups take a long period of time, and it is difficult to guarantee the backup Service Level Agreement (SLA) due to large numbers of files.
  3. The amount of data is large, and local backup hardware is expensive.
  4. Relying on simple scripts to back up the core database system carries a high risk.
  5. It is complicated to install a traditional all-in-one machine, and the investment amount is large.
  6. It is difficult to implement cross-region backups.


  1. Simplifies management through local file backup and unified control on the cloud.
  2. Improves the backup speed by more than three times by concurrently connecting multiple nodes to Cloud Backup NAS backup.
  3. Saves capacity and bandwidth by backing up data to the cloud without requiring local hardware and by removing duplicates.
  4. Backs up data directly by using the Cloud Backup backup client.
  5. Connects to Alibaba Cloud with VPN or Express Connect to enhance data security.


  1. Data is backed up once a day with simplified backup configurations and unified control.
  2. TCO is reduced by 80%.
  3. MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle databases are fully supported.
  4. Easy installation and configuration without an all-in-one machine, and backup costs are reduced.

Main Database Backup Features

  1. Supports all versions of MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server databases
  2. Supports full, incremental, and log backups
  3. Almost 0 RPOs with real-time backup
  4. Supports auto discovery of databases hosted on ECS instances
  5. 5:1 deduplication rate, and reduced computing resource consumption
  6. A fine-order recovery of table space

5.2. Backing up and archiving NAS and HDFS systems in the cloud


Business Challenges

  1. There are a large number of files, and the backup may take days or weeks.
  2. On-premises backup and storage hardware that support a large amount of data is not cost-effective.
  3. A file to be restored cannot be quickly located due to the large data volume.
  4. Building and deploying archive hardware is time-consuming and costly.
  5. It is difficult to configure archive policies and predict archive performance.
  6. Archived data are difficult to retrieve, and the restoration is inefficient.


1.  File analysis

  • Helps you manage data

2.  Policy-based backup and archiving

  • One-time policy configuration

3.  High performance

  • Incremental backup of 100 million files only takes 15 minutes

4.  Global deduplication

  • Utilizes Isilon Diff API to eliminate scan cycles and accelerate the backup by at least 10 times.

5.  Global index and search

  • Finds a file to be restored in seconds by using Cloud Backup global search.


  1. Archive policies can be configured based on your business requirements and are automatically executed after configuration.
  2. Archived files can be searched and restored within seconds.
  3. TCO is reduced by at least 50%.

5.3. Backing up Data to the Cloud with Large NAS Storage Isilon


Business Challenges

  1. The number of files is large, and a single backup takes days to weeks.
  2. Data volumes are large and hardware costs for local backup storage are high.
  3. The data structure is complex, and it is difficult to quickly find files to be restored.


  1. Accelerates backup by utilizing Isilon Diff API.
  2. Maximizes storage and network performance with multi-client parallel backup.
  3. Finds files in seconds by using Cloud Backup global search.


  1. Shortens backup cycles to achieve one-day backup.
  2. Efficient data management with global document search.
  3. Reduces TCO by 70%.

5.4. VMware VM Agentless Backup and Disaster Recovery


Business Challenges

  1. Traditional migration methods cause security concerns and operational complexity.
  2. Migration of VMs for databases requires a long period of downtime and switchover time.
  3. Incremental migration efficiency is low for large numbers of files.


  1. Supports non-intrusive and agentless migration of VMware to the cloud.
  2. Supports agentless incremental migration with guaranteed consistency.
  3. Supports migration of multiple VMs at a time.


  1. Provides non-intrusive, agentless migration.
  2. Reduces the switchover duration of VMs for databases to 15 minutes for efficient incremental migration.

5.5. ECS Instance Backup


Business Challenges

  1. It is difficult to manage backup configurations due to large numbers of ECS instances.
  2. Snapshots cannot be protected at the file or database level.
  3. It is difficult to meet high database backup requirements with common backup software.
  4. The requirements for multiple data sources are different, making backup settings difficult and error-prone.


  1. Cloud Backup ECS instance backup supports all data on ECS instances.
  2. Cloud Backup fully supports new and old databases, and full, incremental, and log backups.
  3. Cloud Backup supports continuous log backup of Oracle and MySQL databases with nearly 0 RPOs.


  1. Provides an integrated solution for backing up all data on ECS instances.
  2. Reduces data retention and storage costs with compression ratios of up to 5:1.

SAP HANA Instance Backup


  1. First SAP-certified public cloud backup service in Asia.
  2. Effective RTO reduction with backup speed up to 500 MB/s and 260 MB/s recovery speed.

6. Conclusion

Cloud Backup is a cloud backup service that can meet different backup requirements. It allows you to back up and recover a wide range of data sources and databases from on-premises to the cloud. It supports data protection and business sustainability in a variety of business environments. If you are interested, please feel free to give it a try.

*This article is a translated piece of work from SoftBank:

Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are for reference only and don't necessarily represent the official views of Alibaba Cloud.

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