Best practices for backing up your data: Cloud Block Storage versus Cloud Backup

  • Last updated on: 2016-07-18
  • Authored by: Kyle Laffoon

When backing up the data disk or disks on your General Purpose Cloud Servers you have two convenient choices: Cloud Block Storage or Cloud Backup. Identifying which one to use depends on what features are most important to you.

Cloud Block Storage for portability

Cloud Block Storage works much like a portable drive. It can be attached to one server and later detached and attached to another server. This makes moving data between servers convenient, as all files and folders can be moved by detaching the drive from your old server and attaching it to the new server.

Cloud Block Storage offers two drive types: a SATA option, which helps control costs, and an SSD option for higher performance. Unlike Cloud Backup, there is no agent to install. You simply copy your files to the attached volume.


Cloud Block Storage attaches a traditional data volume to your server, so there is no built-in mechanism to track or retrieve overwritten data. If you select the SATA option, you might find that transferring large files or a large number of files is slower than other file transfer options. Additionally, the Cloud Block Storage process cannot be automated. You must copy the data to the volume after configuring it on your server.

To get started with Cloud Block Storage, see Create and Attach a Block Storage Volume.

Cloud Backup for incremental backups

After the initial setup, including installation of the Cloud Backup Agent and capture of all the initial files, Cloud Backup uses deduplication to capture only data that has changed. With the exception of your first complete backup, every subsequent backup is just a “delta” of the previous backup, which enables faster backup and restore operations and reduces the storage amount required. If ever needed, you can revert your data to an earlier date’s backup.

The Cloud Backup Agent can complete the backup automatically following a schedule that you identify, so that you can avoid waiting for the process to complete. Manual backup is also available on Cloud Backup.


With Cloud Backup, enterprise-grade encryption (Advanced Encryption Standard, 256-bit key) is available. When encryption is enabled, your data will be encrypted with a password that only you know. After you create your AES-256 encryption key, your data is encrypted before it leaves the server and remains safely encrypted while stored.

Warning: IMPORTANT! You must keep track of this password. After AES-encryption is set, this password cannot be removed from the files of the backup data for which it was used. Any data backed up with this password requires that specific password to restore those files. If you forget the password that you used to backup the data, that backup data is LOST and cannot be recovered.


To use Cloud Backup, you must set up the Cloud Backup Agent. Backups cannot occur until you have set up the agent and identified what files to back up and when to back them up. A small amount of space on your server is required for the Cloud Backup Agent. All backups performed with Cloud Backup are placed in Cloud Files, so there are no cost control options with different storage types.

See the Cloud Backup introduction page to get started with Cloud Backup.

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