With Agent 2.27 and newer, it is now possible to convert an existing appliance-based agent into a Direct-to-Cloud agent.
It is sometimes necessary or desirable to switch an existing protected system agent operating in the appliance mode to one operating in the Direct-to-Cloud mode. For example:
- A partner has an aging on-premise BDR appliance they would like to retire in order to convert a customer to no-BDR, cloud-only backups. However, the existing backup history already replicated by the appliance to the Cloud vault must not be lost.
- A partner has a customer who has experienced a sitewide disaster, with their server infrastructure virtualized in the Axcient cloud. To seamlessly continue backups while virtualized in the cloud, that partner wishes to convert the agents on the protected systems to Direct-to-Cloud mode, and then attach them to the existing vault backup sets.
During the conversion from appliance mode to Direct-to-Cloud mode, data for the protected system may already exist from a previous appliance replication partnership. The agent now assumes the vault instance and preserves the existing recovery point history.
Important: A full backup is required when converting an agent from appliance to Direct-to-Cloud (or vice versa.) In most cases, this full backup will be triggered automatically. If the full backup is not triggered automatically, then a full backup should be triggered manually. This is to ensure that critical recovery metadata is generated and fully synced between the server and the protected system.
Unlike other backup products, x360Recover does not generate new recovery chains when performing subsequent full backups.
Instead, because of the chain-free nature of x360Recover, the additional full backup simply serves to fully synchronize the protected system with the backup server. Any data on the backup server which is not different from data on the protected system is discarded, and does not cause duplication of storage consumption.
With Direct-to-Cloud support in Release 10.4.0, vaults now store a copy of the hash data used by the agent to determine blocks that have changed. When a new full backup is requested, the agent copy of the hash file is deleted and the server-side hash files are downloaded, if they exist.
When hash files exist, they allow the agent to deduplicate the backup data before sending it over the internet to the vault. Since the appliance does not collect hash data, when converting to Direct-to-Cloud the entire contents of the protected system will have to be sent to the vault. Note that this will be deduplicated on the server side and will not cause duplicate data storage in the cloud.
Appliance 10.6.0 will include an enhancement to also collect hash data from the agent. This means in the future, it will be possible to perform the full backup locally, in order to generate the necessary hash values prior to converting the agent to Direct-to-Cloud mode. (Protected systems deployed after 10.6.0 will automatically have complete hash tables on both appliance and vault.)
To convert an existing appliance agent to Direct-to-Cloud, perform the following steps:
Note: It is important to ensure a full backup is performed when converting from appliance to Direct-to-Cloud mode, both to ensure the protected system is fully synced with the backup server in the cloud and to completely populate the hash file data. Future recovery operations using local cache are dependent on having a completely populated hash file on the Vault.
Important: To avoid double-billing for this protected system, you must (a) remove the protected system from the appliance and (b) also remove its license assignment in the License Portal.
- Direct-to-Cloud billing is based on usage. Usage is automatically calculated by the presence of the protected system data on a vault.
- Appliance billing is based on License Portal licensing assignments.
Note: It is important to either (a) fully delete the protected systems from the appliance or (b) remove the appliance entirely from the Management Portal. Otherwise, converted protected systems will not be reported properly in the reports.
Converting a protected system to Direct-to-Cloud mode automatically triggers billing for a new Direct-to-Cloud endpoint.
Failure to remove the original License Portal assignment for the system will result in double billing for that endpoint. (If the original appliance license is part of a storage license, you do not need to adjust the License Portal configuration. Your billing will reflect a new Direct-to-Cloud endpoint charge in the next billing cycle.)
For a full review of Direct-to-Cloud billing, please see Direct-to-Cloud (D2C) Billing.
How do I convert a Direct-to-Cloud endpoint to appliance mode?
There are situations when you may choose to migrate a Direct-to-Cloud system "back" to an appliance-based mode. (For example, in the event you are recovering from a Cloud failover.)
Please note that recovering a Direct-to-Cloud protected system from the vault to an appliance requires x360Recover version 10.6.0 or higher.
If your appliance has failed entirely, or if the appliance storage pool has failed, you can recover protected systems from the vault to a new appliance. Full details are available at How to recover a protected system from the vault to a new appliance.
Note: Be aware that Direct-to-Cloud usage will automatically be removed once the protected system is recovered on the appliance. Be sure you have assigned sufficient licenses in the License Portal to accommodate the protected system(s) that are being converted.