Analyst Opinion: Two Backup Trends for 2015

Users are demanding more their backup applications than ever before. Faster backups, longer retention and rapid recovery are now an expectation instead of a request. 2015 promises more of the same demands but worse, even faster backups, maybe continuous backup, even longer retention for less money, and instant recovery even if the data center is destroyed. Meeting this coming year’s expectations is no small task, but there are several trends emerging that should help IT planners keep pace with user expectations.

Prerequisite – Know Your Service Level Objectives

The first step before making any changes to backup software or hardware vendor is to make sure you understand what your service level objectives (SLO) are. As we discuss in detail in our data protection workshops, a service level objective is a culmination of recovery point objective, recovery time objective, version retention objective and geographic recovery objectives. To learn why SLOs are not the same as Service Level Agreements (SLAs) watch our short video.

With your SLOs understood,  you can decide if you need new backup hardware or software. The first goal is to see if you can accomplish your SLOs with what you have already, if not then it is time to look at new software or hardware. In this article I will discuss two trends that I find the most interesting and then two products within each.

Trend #1 – Backup Appliances 2.0

Backup appliances need to do much more than just deduplicate and compress data. Some vendors have added software to their hardware that provides a basic source side deduplication capability to backup applications. In 2014, these vendors have extended this capability to products like Oracle and MS-SQL. This allows data protection administrators to delegate data protection responsibility to the application owner, but still have all the data land on a single backup appliance for maximum storage efficiency. It also eliminates a key challenge that we are seeing in the infrastructure gap between the capability of the primary storage network and the data protection network; as we discuss in our article “The Data Protection Network Gap”.

Other backup hardware vendors have been busy on the software front by enabling a tight integration with other backup software applications. This allows for the backup software to offload time consuming tasks like backup consolidation or replication to the backup hardware appliance. But since a subset of the backup software will be running on the appliance, the backup software has full control and knowledge over the progress of these processes.

Trend #2 – Copy Data

2015 will without question be the year of Copy Data. See our article “What is Copy Data?” for more information. But suffice it to say, you are going to be hearing a lot about copy data in the future and more so than any other data protection solution that has the ability to hit all of the above SLO parameters. Copy data leverages either snapshots or write splitting to create a near continuous copy of data on a secondary storage system. That copy is then snapshotted to be able to deliver various point in time requirements. A key capability is for the secondary storage system to be able to present these snapshots as writeable instances that can be leveraged by other applications. The goal is to consolidate redundant copies of data into a single copy that is leveraged by multiple applications including data protection, compliance, archive, test/dev and business intelligence.

Naming Names

If you are an IT professional and want to learn more about the emerging backup trends then join us for our webinar that we are doing in conjunction with TechTarget and their exclusive end-user only Solutions Advisor Community. In this webinar we will go through these trends in more detail and highlight some of the key companies that we think are at the front of these trends.

About TechTarget Solutions Advisor Community

The number one goal of the IT Solutions Advisor Community is to connect like-minded IT professionals during all phases of an IT project, particularly evaluation and purchase. We’re here to facilitate discussions and provide access to experts who want to help you navigate these waters — specifically for those who have faced similar challenges and are working in the same project scopes. The IT Solutions Advisor Community also delivers direct access to the latest TechTarget primary research from our vast member network, delivering results on the exact market segments in which you are buying. The exclusive content available in this community – on vendors, their products and services, and advice on how best to buy and implement – is unlike anything you can get on or off the web.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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