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

When backing up the data disk or disks on your general purpose Cloud Servers, you can use either Cloud Block Storage or Cloud Backup. The best option to use depends on the features that are most important to you.

This article helps you decide if you should use Cloud Block Storage or Cloud Backup.

Cloud Block Storage offers portability

Cloud Block Storage works much like a portable drive. You can detach it from a server and attach it to another one. This capability enables you to easily move data between servers by detaching the drive from your old server and attaching it to a new server.

Cloud Block Storage offers the following drive types:

  • Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA): This option helps control costs.
  • Solid state drive (SSD): This option offers higher performance.

Unlike Cloud Backup, there's no agent to install. You copy your files to the attached volume.

Limitations of Cloud Block Storage

Cloud Block Storage has the following limitations:

  • Cloud Block Storage attaches a traditional data volume to your server, so there's 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.

  • The Cloud Block Storage process can't be automated. You must copy the data to the volume after you configure it on your server.

To get started with Cloud Block Storage, see Create and attach a Cloud Block Storage volume.

Use Cloud Backup for incremental backups

After the initial setup, including installation of the Cloud Backup agent and capture of all of the initial files, Cloud Backup uses deduplication to capture only the data that has changed. With the exception of your first complete backup, every subsequent backup is just a delta of the previous backup. This approach enables faster backup and restore operations and reduces the amount of storage required. If necessary, you can revert your data to a backup for an earlier date.

The Cloud Backup agent can complete the backup automatically by following a schedule that you configure. Automatic backups help you avoid waiting for the process to complete. Manual backups are also available on Cloud Backup.


With Cloud Backup, enterprise-grade encryption (Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), 256-bit key) is available. When encryption is enabled, your data is 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 it is stored.


Warning: You must keep track of this password. After AES encryption is set, this password cannot be removed from the backup data files for which it was used. You need the password to restore those files. If you forget the password that you used to back up the data, that backup data is lost, and you cannot recover it.

Protecting backups from malicious attacks

Occasionally, a bad actor might attempt to destroy a company's cloud assets, such as files, websites, databases, and so on. The bad actor might be a foreign attacker who stole cloud account authentication info, it might be a disgruntled employee with access to company assets, or it might be any similar bad actor. Attacks like this can cripple or kill a company, and the ability to recover backups might make the difference between whether the company survives the attack or not.

It is possible to provide an extra layer of protection from such an attack for critical backups by keeping an offsite copy of the files and container structures that are used to restore those backups. An offsite copy is inaccessible to the bad actor who has your Rackspace login credentials. General instructions for how and why to use offsite copies are at the end of the article Recovering from a Bad Actor Attack.

Limitations of Cloud Backup

Cloud Backup has the following limitations:

  • To use Cloud Backup, you must set up the Cloud Backup agent. Backups cannot occur until you set up the agent, specify the files that you want to back up, and configure when backups should occur.
  • The Cloud Backup Agent requires a small amount of space on your server.
  • All backups that you perform with Cloud Backup are placed in Cloud Files, so there are no-cost control options with different storage types.

To get started with Cloud Backup, see the Cloud Backup introduction page.