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Cloud Backup:Overview

Last Updated:Mar 12, 2024

Large-scale file systems are generally designed to process and store large amounts of data and provide high throughput, high concurrency, and high availability. Large-scale file systems can be widely used in cloud computing, high-performance computing, big data analytics, media processing, and other scenarios where large data sets need to be processed. This topic provides an overview of the large-scale file system backup feature provided by Cloud Backup, including the benefits, working principles, procedure, and billing of the feature. To back up a network-attached storage (NAS) file system, use the Apsara File Storage NAS backup feature or the on-premises NAS backup feature of Cloud Backup.


The large-scale file system backup feature is an efficient and cost-effective data protection solution provided by Alibaba Cloud for large-scale on-premises file systems. Cloud Backup supports common large-scale file systems such as Cloud Parallel File Storage (CPFS) and GlusterFS. Cloud Backup provides advanced data protection capabilities such as concurrent scanning on multiple nodes, integration with storage APIs, and deduplication and compression. In addition, Cloud Backup can efficiently back up a large number of on-premises files to the cloud. To back up data, you only need to perform a few operations in the Cloud Backup console. The backup solution offers high performance and low costs. If a file in your on-premises file system is accidentally deleted, you can restore data from Alibaba Cloud to ensure data security.


  • Simple configurations

    You can deploy lightweight backup clients on virtual machines or physical machines in an on-premises data center without specific hardware. You can configure scheduled backup plans in the Cloud Backup console.

  • High backup performance

    Cloud Backup allows multiple clients to back up a file system concurrently, which greatly improves the backup efficiency.

  • Deduplication and compression

    The Cloud Backup client compresses and deduplicates the file data that you need to back up at the source end, minimizing the bandwidth of cloud backup and the storage space occupied by backup data on the cloud.

  • Immutable backup against accidental or malicious deletion

    Cloud Backup provides the immutable backup feature based on backup vaults. Backup data cannot be deleted by any account or method before the configured retention period expires.

  • Geo-redundancy

    If you need to back up data to a remote location, you can create a mirror vault for a backup vault to quickly protect critical data.

How it works

First, you must install and activate a Cloud Backup client on each physical machine or virtual machine. You must log on to the Cloud Backup console to add a large-scale file system as a data source. Then, you can use the Cloud Backup client to back up specified files in the file system.

When a backup plan is running, the Cloud Backup client scans the specified folders to identify the files to be backed up, compresses and deduplicates the source data, and then uploads incremental data to the cloud. If multiple Cloud Backup clients are installed, you can concurrently back up data from your large-scale file system to improve backup performance.

Cloud Backup uses an incremental-forever backup strategy. Except for the first full backup job, each subsequent backup job uploads only the data that has changed compared with the previous backup job. A complete full backup is synthesized on the cloud to minimize network and storage consumption.

Cloud Backup allows you to back up data to Alibaba Cloud over the Internet, virtual private networks (VPNs), or Express Connect circuits. If you back up data over the Internet, you must make sure that the server on which the Cloud Backup client is installed can access the Internet. You do not need to expose the IP address of the server to the Internet.


The following procedure shows how to back up on-premises NAS files in the Cloud Backup console.

  1. Activate Cloud Backup

    You are not charged for activating Cloud Backup. You are charged for the storage usage of backup vaults that are created in Cloud Backup. For more information, see Billing methods and billable items.

  2. Install a Cloud Backup client

    A backup client is used to establish communication and control services between your on-premises server and Cloud Backup.

  3. Add a data source

    Add your large-scale file system as a data source in the Cloud Backup console.

  4. Back up a large-scale file system

    When you create a backup plan, configure the backup vault, source path, backup cycle, and retention period. Cloud Backup starts the backup plan and continuously backs up files from the source file system.

    • After you create a backup plan, the first backup job performs a full backup and subsequent backup jobs perform incremental backups.

    • If the region that you select supports backup policies, you can set a backup plan only by associating it with a backup policy. Cloud Backup periodically backs up files based on the backup policy.

    • To view the regions that support backup policies, click Policy Center in the left-side navigation pane of the Cloud Backup console. For more information about how to create a backup policy, see Create a backup policy.

  5. Restore a large-scale file system

    If a file in the source file system is lost or damaged, you can restore all files or files that meet the specified conditions based on historical backup points. You can restore files to the source large-scale file system or restore files to a new large-scale file system.


When you use the large-scale file system backup feature, the following fees are incurred:

Storage usage fees. Cloud Backup provides two types of backup storage: locally redundant storage (LRS) and zone-redundant storage (ZRS). You are charged based on the storage usage of backup vaults. You can view the storage usage of backup vaults on the Overview page in the Cloud Backup console. For more information, see Pricing of Cloud Backup.

In addition, Cloud Backup charges the following fees based on specific configurations or operations:

  • Geo-redundancy fees

    If you create a remote mirror vault to copy data from a backup vault in an Alibaba Cloud region to another region for geo-redundancy, you are charged for the storage capacity of the mirror vault and the cross-region replication traffic. The size of the mirror vault is the same as that of the source backup vault, and the pricing is the same.

  • Outbound traffic fees

    If you restore data to an on-premises file system over the Internet, you are charged for the outbound traffic.

Traffic fees are calculated based on the data volume.

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