By Gary Lim, Director, System Engineering, Commvault
It used to be that backup and recovery was just a simple process of copying files to tape, and storing them somewhere safe. At its core, that's what any good backup and recovery suite should do. However, the way we use data has changed, challenging the status quo.
Some companies moved to purpose-built backup appliance-based solutions a few years back to address integration and manageability challenges. However, businesses threw more and more data at them, and IT departments felt the strain. Backup administrators ended up managing multiple silos of storage due to scalability limitations and found themselves locked to their vendor for maintenance, support and equipment. These appliances are still not addressing business resiliency needs to access data 24x7.
Besides the growth in data and the need to manage data across files, applications, databases, hypervisors and multiple clouds, companies are in a twist. Meeting security, compliance and data backup requirements mean that businesses struggle to protect and manage their data, in the cloud and on-premises.
The need for change
IT departments instead find themselves dealing with newer, larger data sets, and neither the simple files-to-tape system nor traditional disk-based solutions meet their data protection needs. To remedy this, businesses looked for lower cost, scalable altenatives such as object or cloud-based storage, while combining functions such as analytics and file sharing.
Yet, not many of the systems in use were designed to work with these newer forms of storage. Storage gateways aimed to bridge this gap, but increased the overall cost of ownership and complexity.
The new approach to data protection has to be redesigned with agility in mind. A software-defined approach means commodity hardware can be used, and dynamic scalability is possible on demand, without vendor lock in. This results in lower costs, and improved portability as data can be moved to/from the cloud, or even between clouds.
New approaches, new insights
The greatest benefit of this approach is gaining new insight into data – now fully indexed and analysed – to solve business issues. This includes improving customer experiences, reducing exposure to legal and compliance risk by detecting personal/sensitive data within unstructured data, and organising and collecting content for use in investigations.
These are significant areas where data adds value. In fact, the Ponemon Institute estimates the average cost of non-compliance is USD$14.82 million, and Forrester believed that 80 percent of firms wouldn’t comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation – both issues that data insights help with.
Today, our data has changed. It no longer sits on a server waiting to expire. It's a living, dynamic resource driving digital businesses and requires a new approach to its stewardship. When it comes to protecting and managing businesses’ most critical asset – their data – it’s clear the old way no longer works.
For businesses to truly transform, they need to ensure that they are operating under the new model of data, or risk being left behind.