Skimping on Backup Is Like Playing with Fire

Everybody knows that data backup and recovery is a crucial aspect of IT operation. And yet it is surprising how many organizations continue to maintain incomplete or even rudimentary systems and procedures.

By Arthur Cole | Posted Aug 5, 2010
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Everybody knows that data backup and recovery is a crucial aspect of IT operation. And yet it is surprising how many organizations continue to maintain incomplete or even rudimentary systems and procedures.

It's as if the feeling of having something, anything, in place is enough, regardless of whether it can truly function when called upon. And by function, I don't mean simply restore data and operations at some point in time. To be considered an effective recovery, you need to get back up to speed in a hurry, unless you enjoy extended periods of diminished or nonexistent revenue.

The disconnect between what enterprise managers say is necessary with what they actually have was highlighted by Symantec's most recent Information Management Health Check Survey, which showed that 87 percent believe in the value of a formal data recovery system but only 46 percent have bothered to institute one. Part of the problem, Symantec says, is that enterprises are daunted by the amount of data that needs to be backed up, often the result of failing to delineate the difference between backup/recovery and archiving.

Many enterprises also fall into the "set-it-and-forget-it" mode when it comes to B&R. Ongoing policy review should be a core element of any system, according to data protection firm Bocada, although part of the process should involve a clear understanding of the impact any changes will have on backup jobs and recovery operations. Not surprisingly, Bocada provides a Policy Management module as part of its Data Protection Service Management (DPSM) system that evaluates existing policies and tracks all changes.

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The Backup and Recovery Conundrum

The lack of a strategic approach to data backup and recovery is creating an enormous challenge for IT organizations.

As you would expect, the complexity of backup management increases as the number of retention sites increases. Even in single-vendor environments, backup systems can grow in diversity resulting in multiple management platforms. 3PAR is hoping to cut down on this complexity within its own environment with the new  InForm Management Console, designed to bring control of all versions of the InServ Storage Server under a single management window. The system enables autonomic disaster recovery configuration and multi-site remote replication setup with a synchronous long-distance replication mode.

And with virtualization now an integral component of nearly every data center, a means to back up and recover virtual machines has evolved from a luxury to a necessity. New firms like Pancetera Software are hoping to fill this need with new virtual management platforms that integrate existing backup and replication platforms and tweak them for the virtual age. The company's Unite software features a SmartView component that tracks VMs and provides a 10-fold reduction of the recovery and replication process.

Backup and recovery suffers from the perception that it is a high-cost, highly complex function that does little to help the bottom line unless the unthinkable happens. But keep in mind that the data being retained is one of your most valuable assets, and the ability to locate and restore it quickly and efficiently deserves a high place on the list of data center priorities

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