Modern data protection in the modern data centre

As data centres modernise and evolve, one thing continues to hold true, the amount of data created and stored is continuing to grow exponentially. Protecting large amounts of data requires similar modernisation to backup processes as the data centre itself.

Compared to traditional fixed and static data centres, the modern data centre delivers agility, flexibility and managing more with less. Old backup and data protection solutions can be a noose around the neck of these benefits delivered by the modern data centre. Backup windows grow, management overhead and complexity increase and the risk of losing or not being able to recover critical data grows.

Companies cannot afford for backup and data protection to slow down business. The days where "it’s OK" for a recovery to take hours are fast disappearing, the idea of having a team dedicated to data protection and backup is also becoming a luxury even in the largest IT departments. As the data centre becomes virtualised and software defined, backup needs to keep pace, while cycles monitoring and troubleshooting backup jobs must become a thing of the past.

Whilst Data protection technologies need to modernise, the two absolute fundamentals of data protection remain the same. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the amount of data in terms of time you are prepared to lose. (e.g. if you have 24 hours between backups, you could lose 24 hours of data if a badly timed data loss occurs). Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the amount of time is takes to get your applications running in the event of data loss or system crash.

The difference for RPO and RTO in the modern world is time. Business measure downtime in seconds as opposed to hours, likewise, losing 24 hours of data is no longer acceptable, we have already reached the point where no data loss at all is the expectation.

Just like the datacentre itself, data protection is going through transformation. The concept of a backup window is becoming a fast disappearing luxury.  Old style scheduled backups are losing relevance in the modern data. They can impact live system performance, and by design they struggle to hit the RPOs and RTO's he businesses of today require. 

Hitachi Vantara is a company that has been looking seriously at helping companies solve this important problem. They have identified the following specific issues that companies need to solve as they modern their data protection.

  • Backups are now too slow and can't run frequently enough to protect modern applications

  • Continuous Data Protection is "storage hungry" and needs to integrate with other technologies to perform application level recoveries

  • Snapshots sit on the same physical hardware as the applications they protect, meaning they are a single point of failure.

  • Replication provides recovery from an immediate failure but does not deliver historic any point in time recovery.

How do organisations speed up their RPO and RTO SLAs?

Hitachi Vantara have developed an approach to tackle these issues by unifying all of the features which independently have gaps. When unified and enhanced, they are able to deliver levels of protection in line with modernised IT.

At the heart of their approach is technology to orchestrate and manage all data protection processes from one place. Hitachi Data Instance Director unifies and automates snapshot, replication and clone management, allowing new functionality to quickly and simply be added into existing protection workflows.

The impact of unifying these functions allows data protection workflows to be improved with ease. Administrators using this approach have been able to reduce the time to build recovery test and audit workflows from days to literally minutes.
By integrating application specific recovery capability, it becomes easy to manage protection of applications like Exchange, SQL, Oracle, SAP and do so in a way that removes the need for extended backup windows and allows for fast application consistent recoveries.

By integrating with other leading-edge storage capability like Hitachi Content Platform, the strategy even ensures that modern approaches to data storage like object storage, which can scale to be massive are protected by leveraging the object store itself, rather than trying to retrofit that into an old-style traditional approach to backup.

For large object stores, using traditional means of recovery to locate a single file will become a near impossible task. However, by using the inherent capabilities of the Hitachi Content Platform, users are able to quickly recovery individual files even from a backup. This is an example of a modern-day capability which traditional data protection methods are effectively blind to.

The days of thinking about data protection like a life insurance policy that is a business overhead are over. The modern data centre can't afford downtime and smooth data protection operations contribute to the top and bottom line of data driven companies. Research by multiple analysts has shown that somewhere between 70% to 85% use multiple backup and data protection products.

According to Hitachi Vantara, if that isn’t addressed as part of your data centre modernisation it becomes a recipe for disaster. Click here to learn more about how Hitachi Vantara can modernise and simplify your own data protection and bring your RPOs and RTO's into the modern age.

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