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Interview: Bridging the availability gap

T.C. Seow | July 24, 2014
How organisations can gain a hold over their data storage struggle with proper planning, clear roadmap and the right tools to do the job.

Charles Clarke, Veeam Software
Photo: Charles Clarke, Technical Director APAC, Veeam Software.

What should organisations do to manage their storage well? Where are the possible pitfalls in implementing a good disaster recovery plan? Are organisations spending wisely so that they maximise their IT investments while realising maximum impact on the business? Charles Clarke, Technical Director for Asia Pacific, Veeam Software, (who is also hosting an Executive Networking Table at CIO Summit Hong Kong) shares his views in a brief question-and-answer session.

Q: Demand for data backup never seems to diminish. In fact, many organisations still struggle with controlling backup and making data available across the enterprise. In your opinion, what are the top five challenges they must address to solve this problem?

Clarke: Here's my take:

  1. The challenge business increasingly presents to IT is that of being 'always on'. Modern, global business expects 24x7 availability for services such as e-mail and applications. At the same time IT is tasked with helping drive the business while keeping costs down.
  2. Using the right tool for the job. Modern datacentres are built on virtualisation and the cloud, but data protection toolsets are often designed with the old paradigm in mind. We see organisations regularly struggling with legacy tools and as a result are not getting the best return on investment from the newer parts of their infrastructure. This leaves a clear gap when driving towards 'always-on' availability.
  3. Having an effective Disaster Recovery (DR) plan and the right skills sets to execute the plan are a key challenge. Many organisations create a plan but struggle to keep that plan up to date. Thanks to virtualisation and the cloud, services can appear and disappear quickly so it is important to update the DR plan at the same pace as infrastructure change.
  4. Recovery testing is another challenge organisations often struggle with. Having a disaster recovery plan is one thing, regularly testing that plan is something else. DR testing can be expensive and time-consuming without the right tools but it is critical that everyone is the business knows what to do when data disaster strikes, be it a major or minor disaster.
  5. The final challenge is really one of the mind. Organisations often see backup as a footnote to their strategic technology planning but actually data recoverability should be at the front of IT planning. Without reliable rapid recovery it is difficult for an organisation to be creative in their IT strategy. They are much less likely to try new ways to increase productivity or revenue if there is no safety net for those services. I call it my "Yoga Principle": for agility you must have stability.


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