Availability services provider SunGard will let customers back up data to Amazon's cloud storage for DR, and vice versa, the company announced last week. The success of this cloud-based service, however, could depend on one unknown -- how much the security blanket will actually cost.
The service is currently in technical previews and is expected to be available mid-year.
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Using Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect, the service will directly link Amazon and SunGard data centers over a private LAN-like connection, backing up users' data in the background on Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). SunGard's Enterprise Cloud will handle production workloads.
If something fails on either the SunGard or AWS client, customer data is safe. Additionally, due to the use of Direct Connect, users' data never travels over the public Internet.
SunGard's pending service will also take advantage of AWS' recently announced, enterprise-oriented Storage Gateway (SG), a software appliance that lets customers continue to store data in private clouds while simultaneously backing it up to S3.
That additional security hedge and speed to recover may prove more attractive to SunGard Availability Services customers than to AWS users though.
Could it be that AWS offers these services at a cost that SunGard cannot match on [its] own?
Shlomo Swidler, CEO of Orchestratus Inc.
"SunGard is offering to bundle up services that AWS provides and sell them to its own customers, who already look to SunGard for disaster recovery," said Shlomo Swidler, CEO of Orchestratus Inc., a cloud computing consultancy with extensive experience with AWS.
"The benefit will be nominal; SunGard clients will be able to say 'Yes, we use the cloud for DR'," Swidler added.
For potential customers, service success will depend to a large extent on cost.
"Could it be that AWS offers these services at a cost that SunGard cannot match on [its] own?" Swidler asked.
For its part, SunGard declined to discuss pricing for the new service. However, Chandler Vaughn, vice president of product development for the company, said this is only the first of several deals with AWS in coming months.
Meanwhile, some competing DR services providers see the agreement as good for the cloud industry.
"It validates enterprise-class capabilities using AWS,” said Matt Gerber, CEO of IT-Lifeline, a cloud-based disaster recovery service for financial services and healthcare firms based on AWS. “So, from our perspective, it's a great thing."