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A New Era for Backup – Time to Replace Traditional (Dying) Methods

Allen Mitchell, Senior Technical Account Manager, MENA, CommVault

Legacy backup systems can’t solve the problems of massive data overload which is why new technology is essential

August 15, 2013 2:30 by



Author: Allen Mitchell, Senior Technical Account Manager, MENA at CommVault Systems

It’s no secret that today’s unrelenting data growth, datacenter consolidation and server virtualization are wreaking havoc with conventional approaches to backup and recovery. The rapidly intensifying demand for storage is putting a tight squeeze on enterprise resources—whether your organization is grappling with too much data to protect in operational windows, faster recovery requirements, physical space constraints, or increased adoption of cloud computing, backup and recovery are becoming increasingly complex, cutting into staff time and budgets and slowing operations.

According to ESG research, 27% and 23% of respondents characterized “Unacceptable level of downtime/need to improve RTO” and “Unacceptable level of data loss/need to improve RPO,” respectively, as challenges with their organization’s current data protection processes and technologies.1 To add fuel to the fire, according to InformationWeek Reports’ “State of Storage 2012” report, 70% of respondents indicated that the growth rate for the overall data that they have to store and manage was in the 10-49% range.2

Clearly, conventional backup and recovery approaches are not robust enough to meet today’s data and information management challenges.. A new strategy is essential. According to Gartner, “Organizations worldwide are seeking ways to easily, quickly and cost-effectively ensure that their data is appropriately protected. Organizations are also voicing the opinion that backup needs to improve a lot, not just a little. The rising frustration with backup implies that the data protection approaches of the past may no longer suffice in meeting current, much less future, recovery requirements.”3

The Trouble with Legacy Backup

Legacy, point-level approaches that stream backups directly from production environments are fast losing their effectiveness because they can’t solve the problems of massive data overload burdening today’s IT environments. Enormous volumes of data lead to long backup windows, which often forces manual or complex snapshot and scripting methodologies that turn into extremely complicated and time-consuming recovery operations—stage older backups, mount, hunt and peck, and wait.

Even more frustrating, legacy backup doesn’t globally address the proliferation of redundant data leading to excessive demands on network, storage and management resources. Legacy replication, if you can afford it, is complex, resource –intensive or tied to specific hardware. There is no granularity into the data you are protecting, and no integration with the applications creating that data; this limits your ability and increases the time you need to restore and use protected data. Finally, legacy backup solutions are often dependent on a collection of loosely integrated tools and products that require scripting and individual management consoles. Not a pretty picture.

Modern Data Protection: The Essentials

It’s time to explore the innovative approach called ‘Modern Data Protection’. Modern Data Protection frees you to focus your critical time and resources on your organization’s broader business goals, by simplifying the data and information management process so you can “do more with less” and ensure that you’re poised to meet future storage demands.

A good strategy for meeting the challenges of data management in this new era is to venture beyond the limitations of disconnected legacy solutions—with technology that integrates application intelligence with heterogeneous hardware snapshots, indexing, deduplication, search and replication to efficiently capture, move, retain, find and recover data from any storage tier.

The process of modern data protection starts with application awareness – the platform should provide granularity into the data you are protecting, and to enable consistent, rapid copying of that data.

Next, snapshot technology enables you to create near-instant, application-aware, indexed recovery copies, without complex scripting and manual processes, from heterogeneous hardware snapshots. And you need to be able to safeguard your critical information as you bridge the gap from physical to virtual server environments.

Once you have snapshot copies of your data, embedded, global deduplication (a cornerstone to any data reduction strategy) eliminates redundant data to increase network efficiency and reduce storage infrastructure costs. Source-side deduplication can reduce up to 90% of the data moved over the network and as much as 50% of the time required to perform backups.

Next, Modern Data Protection provides the flexibility to maintain copies of your data on different storage tiers to meet different retention and recovery needs, ensure appropriate levels of protection over time, and enhance efficiency overall.

Automation and simplification are also core tenets that factor into your Modern Data Protection strategy. To reduce storage and management costs, for instance, processes should be combined where possible and almost all manual activities should be eliminated through policy-based approaches and centralized administration that automate the movement of backup and archive data to the most cost-effective storage locations.

Security is paramount, so a modern data solution must provide not only the means with which to secure data, both in flight and at rest, but the flexibility to let administrators selectively define which data different types of users are authorized to see and manipulate with role-based access.

Intuitive, global reporting is integral to the solution so you can better manage backup and recovery resources, develop insights for a deeper understanding of your environment, and plan appropriately as needs evolve.

Ultimately, of course, it doesn’t matter how good your backup process works if you can’t recover data fast and efficiently. So the last key element in a Modern Data Protection solution is recovery management. A centralized control that enables granular recovery of files, emails or documents, as well as full application restore, from any storage tier improves recovery time and recovery point objectives.

1 ESG Research Report, Trends in Data Protection Modernization, August 2012.

 

2 InformationWeek Reports’ “State of Storage 2012‖ report, by Kurt Marko. February 2012.

 

3 Gartner Inc. “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery Software” by Dave Russell, Alan Dayley, Sheila Childs, Pushan Rinnen. 11 June, 2012.

 



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