A very interesting topic we like to chat about is backup protocols. Are you excited? Here is what happened. A robust conversation took place this morning on the topic of “backup,” after one of our clients put out a call for help. They can no longer complete their backups during the agreed-upon backup window, and wanted recommendations on storage vendors who might be able to help address the problem. Someone in our conversation said, “they have an infrastructure that will no longer support their needs.” This is where it got interesting.
How Important Is Backup?
The response to that comment was “Wrong. They have an infrastructure that will no longer support their protocols.” Unfortunately, most organizations are still laboring under backup protocols that were developed twenty years ago, and while the capabilities and platforms of IT have changed substantially in that time, backup protocols have not.
They need to. The concept of “backup” needs to go away, and the conversation needs to morph to disaster recovery and business continuity – equally old terms but more relevant now than ever. Virtualization, private cloud, and public cloud offerings have changed the mechanics of how IT delivers services to the business. The agility of new capabilities creates new opportunities for disaster recovery and business continuity. Device-based backup decisions cost organizations time and money. Consider them a small part of a bigger picture. We're not saying to toss out the tapes; tape still has its place, but it is not the best choice for most DR and BC scenarios. Users are demanding more, and we are demanding more of our users, including 24/7 access to them, which means they need 24/7 access to corporate information.
The short answer is that this is a much longer conversation. Why are you backing up and what is it? Have you thought about what retrieval requirements exist? Such as, what needs to be online, versus near-line, or could be off-line? The compliance issues that are driving some decisions? The SLAs exist between IT and the business? What do our users need? If these questions sound familiar, you're right; they are the same questions your storage vendor asked you before you bought the last backup device (I know; I used to ask those questions myself). The answers are multi-layered. Can you spin up a new instance of an application in five minutes? Don't worry about backing it up. How can you leverage cloud services? How many different places are housing critical data? What does your user community require?
Yes, it's a bigger conversation. Forget about backup. It is a mechanical process that is no longer relevant. Think about disaster recovery. Business continuity. Continuous availability, data security, and recovery, and configuration integrity. Think about creating an always-on environment to match our always-on culture. Think about creating strategic value for the business. Today's DR and BC solutions will likely free up a lot of time. Create more innovation within the business. Or golf more. Your call.
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