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Google Cloud Backup: Making the Most of Google’s Storage Tiers

One of the major benefits of cloud storage is the ability to provide backup at scale. For major cloud providers like Google Cloud, there is an added benefit of having a number of different storage options, which offer organizations flexibility in terms of customizing the availability they require, according to their budget.

In this post, we’ll examine the backup storage options offered by Google Cloud, and show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help with managing cloud storage.

In this article, you will learn:



Google Cloud Backup and Archival Storage

Google Cloud offers two primary backup options:

NearLine Storage
This option is intended for data that users need to access no more than once per month, for example backups and multimedia content only occasionally accessed by users.

ColdLine Storage
This option is for data that can be accessed no more than once per year (for example, disaster recovery backups of key systems), or possibly not at all (for example data held for compliance reasons).

A key differentiator of both Google Cloud Storage options, compared to archival storage in other cloud providers, is that they offer access to data with sub-millisecond latency. When you do need the data, you can get it instantly.

Below is a comparison of features provided by each of Google’s backup option:

NearLine Storage ColdLine Storage
At Rest Cost Per GB of $0.01* At Rest Cost Per GB of $0.007*
Retrieval Cost Per GB of $0.01* Retrieval Cost Per GB of $0.05*
30-day minimum duration 90-day minimum duration

* Prices are subject to change, please see Google’s latest pricing.

How Google Cloud Backup Works

Google Cloud offers backup as an integral part of the Google Cloud Storage service. Google Cloud Storage provides three storage classes that can be assigned to any object you store:

  • Standard
  • NearLine
  • ColdLine

Google Cloud Storage buckets are assigned to one of these three classes, and any objects stored to them are given that class by default. For example, you can create a bucket and assign it a Coldline storage class, then store objects to that class if you need to archive them for the long term. For more details on setting storage classes to buckets, see the official documentation

You can also set a specific storage class for an object or a group of objects, different from the default of the bucket. You can do this when uploading the object, or at a later time using two methods:

  • Overwriting the object and changing its storage class, using GSUTIL or the REST API (see official documentation)
  • Using Object Lifecycle Management to define a Time to Live (TTL) or other parameters for an object, which causes it to switch to NearLine or ColdLine storage classes automatically after a certain period of time (see official documentation)

Google Cloud Backup Availability SLAs

Each of the three classes of storage has a different guaranteed Service Level Agreement (SLA) for availability. The SLA depends on the option you select for geo-redundancy—Google Cloud lets you store data in one region, or duplicate it two regions or multiple regions. Data availability will naturally be higher, the more redundancy you provide. SLA is also lower for NearLine and ColdLine storage options, compared to standard storage.

Standard Storage Availability

Geo-Redundancy Guaranteed SLA Typical Availability
multi-region 99.95% >99.99%
dual-region 99.95% >99.99%
single region 99.9% 99.99%

NearLine and ColdLine Storage Availability

Geo-Redundancy Availability SLA Typical Availability
multi-region 99.9% 99.95%
dual-region 99.9% 99.95%
single region 99.0% 99.9%

Data Import and Export Options

In addition to backing up data within Google Cloud Platform, you may sometimes want to backup data elsewhere, or on-premises. In the opposite direction, you may also want to import large amounts of data in bulk to the Google Cloud Storage service.

Downloading or Uploading Objects
Google Cloud Storage provides several options for uploading and downloading objects:

  • Google Cloud Console
  • GSUTIL
  • SDK for C++, C#, GO, Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, and Ruby
  • REST API

Google has several best practices for uploading objects in bulk, which mostly also apply to downloading in bulk:

  • Do not close and re-open the connection if upload stalls. XHR callbacks can get backlogged behind acknowledgement from the upload stream.
  • Set reasonably long timeouts. If you don’t receive an XHR callback for a long time, don’t close the connection.
  • For resumable uploads, keep the session in the region in which it was originally created. This reduces cross-region traffic, which can hurt performance.
  • Don’t break a transfer into smaller chunks, upload all the content at one time. This will improve throughput and reduce latency.
  • Avoid uploading content that has GZIP encoding and a content-type that is compressed.

Offline Media Import/Export
Google lets you send a storage array, hard disk, tapes, or USB flash drive, and have their content uploaded to the Cloud Storage service. Similarly, you can ask to receive a physical storage device with data downloaded from your Google Cloud Storage buckets. This is done by third-party providers, as listed here.

You can outsource the transfer of files to a third-party service provider who uploads data on your behalf. Offline media import / export is helpful if you’re limited to a slow, unreliable, or expensive Internet connection.

Google Cloud Backup with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides a comprehensive solution for cloud backup and disaster recovery as well as data tiering, automatically moving infrequently-used data from block storage to object storage and back.

Want to get started? Try out Cloud Volumes ONTAP today with a 30-day free trial.

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