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Cloud Backup:Overview

Last Updated:Feb 22, 2024

This topic provides an overview of the on-premises file backup feature of Cloud Backup, including the benefits, working principles, procedure, and billing of the feature.


Cloud Backup provides the on-premises file backup feature to protect the files on your on-premises servers. Cloud Backup allows you to back up on-premises files to the cloud in a simple, secure, and reliable manner. If data is accidentally deleted or your production system encounters ransomware attacks, you can restore data from backup vaults.


This feature has some limits. For more information, see Limits.


  • No hardware investment

    The Cloud Backup client migrates backup data from the on-premises server to the cloud. You do not need to purchase hardware devices.

  • Flexible backup policies

    You can configure scheduled backup plans by hour, day, week, month, and year, and specify the retention period of the backup data.

  • Deduplication and compression

    When Cloud Backup backs up on-premises files, the Cloud Backup client compresses and deduplicates the data. This minimizes the bandwidth of backing up data to the cloud and the storage space occupied by the backup data.

  • 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.

  • Multi-branch management and cross-account backup

    You can use Cloud Backup to perform unified backup for multiple branches in different regions. After you grant the required permissions, you can use Account A to back up the data of Account B. This allows you to centrally manage data protection.

How it works

You must install and activate the Cloud Backup client on the servers from which you need to back up files. You need to install the Cloud Backup client on each server only once. The client backs up the specified folders on each server based on the backup plan that you configure.

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. 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 source servers can access the Internet. You do not need to expose the IP addresses of the servers to the Internet.


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


  1. Activate Cloud Backup

    You are not charged for activating Cloud Backup. You are charged for the Cloud Backup client that you use to back up files and the storage usage of backup vaults. For more information, see Billing methods and billable items.

  2. Install a backup client

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

  3. Back up on-premises files

    When you create a backup plan, configure the backup vault, source paths, backup cycle, and retention period. Cloud Backup starts the backup plan and continuously backs up on-premises files.

    • 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 on-premises 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.

    • Backup plans are upgraded to backup policies. If you are using a backup plan of the previous version, you can create a backup policy or bind a backup policy to the backup plan when you edit the backup plan. After the upgrade, the backup history of the previous backup plan still exists. To ensure that you are able to view the backup history, we recommend that you use the same backup vault for the old backup plan and the new backup policy.

  4. Restore files

    If an exception occurs in an on-premises file, you can restore the file based on the data that has been backed up. You can view backed-up files at any time.


You are charged for the on-premises file backup feature of Cloud Backup based on the following billable items:

  • Cloud Backup clients for file backup

    You are charged based on the number of on-premises file servers on which the Cloud Backup client is installed. For more information, see Cloud Backup Pricing.

  • Storage usage

    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. Cloud Backup provides two types of backup storage: locally redundant storage (LRS) and zone-redundant storage (ZRS). For more information, see Cloud Backup Pricing.

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 server over the Internet instead of a VPN or Express Connect circuit, you are charged for the outbound traffic. Traffic fees are calculated based on the amount of data that is actually restored. For more information, see Cloud Backup Pricing.

  • Additional request fees

    If other file systems are mounted to the file directory specified in the back plan, for example, an Object Storage Service (OSS) bucket is mounted to the directory by using ossfs, additional request fees may be incurred. The fees are charged by the corresponding service provider. For example, the service provider of OSS is Alibaba Cloud. When you mount a file system, you must understand and consider the billing rules of the service providers to prevent unexpected fees.

What to do next

  • Learn about how to back up on-premises files. For more information, see Back up files.

  • View answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQ). For more information, see On-premises backup FAQ.

  • Learn about the best practices of Cloud Backup. For more information, see Best Practices.