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Why the key to improving backup is to stop backing up

Kumar Mitra, Sales Director of Data Protection, Dell APJ | July 25, 2014
Traditional backup strategies are incapable of meeting the needs of modern business, and that's because backup hasn't evolved with the rest of IT.

Despite continued technological advancements, backup remains an enigma for organizations of all sizes, in all verticals. It's no secret that companies are producing more data than ever before, spread across an ever-growing range of data types and locations, and that more and more of that data is classified as mission critical. Now, factor in the high cost of downtime, as well as the internal users and external customers who expect that applications and services will be available and accessible 24/7, and what's left is a world in which simply backing up just isn't enough.

Traditional backup strategies are incapable of meeting the needs of modern business, and that's because backup hasn't evolved with the rest of IT. Too often, IT is simply responsible for making a separate copy - once a day - of all the organization's data, and there is very little focus on how quickly and efficiently lost data can be recovered. Based on my conversations with prospective customers, 70-80 percent of companies are still using yesterday's backup strategy, which presents a really big challenge in the industry.

App Owners Need Fast Recovery

Application needs today are very different from those of the past, and there is a huge disconnect between IT backup administrators and what's expected of them, and the expectations of application owners. As soon as Exchange goes down, everyone knows it, and the Exchange admin has a sense of immediate urgency that a traditional backup strategy often doesn't share. This gulf between the application owners and what they're held to, and what IT is held to, has a massive impact on the organization.

This gulf is usually addressed in one of two ways, and neither is desirable. In some cases, the application owners go around the backup team and implement their own recovery solutions. This silo-based approach results in multiple copies of backups, and the challenge of having to run, manage and administer multiple different tools. An estimated sixty percent of today's huge data growth comes from copied data, and, when you operate in silos, you rarely know which version of your data is the most current.

The alternative scenario, however, is one in which the application owner acquiesces and allows IT to dictate the backup strategy; when that happens, the company usually ends up compromising its ability to quickly restore applications in the event of an outage.

The High Cost of Complacency

The biggest enemy to changes in backup is complacency. Backup is the IT equivalent of insurance. You'd rather not bother with it and it's much easier to renew last year's insurance - or backup product license - than spend the energy coming up with a better approach. The problem is, that's yesterday's thinking and it doesn't add any value. When you use a value-add recovery solution, you create business resiliency. The extra value comes from being able to use the data in a variety of ways because you can back it up with context. You can open it up and use it, and work from real live data.


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