Backup is a Fractured Mess and DR is worse – Can the Cloud Save us?

Cloud backup solution provider Zetta.net recently surveyed over 400 IT professionals from a wide range of industries, asking questions like what types of backups were being done, what operating systems were being protected, how virtualized the environment was, and how the organization was meeting its disaster recovery requirements. Storage Switzerland and Zetta.net cover the results in this on demand webinar but the short answer is “backup is a fractured mess and disaster recovery is worse”.

Survey Says

While most organizations were primarily running the Windows operating system, they also had other operating systems that needed to be protected, with Linux coming in a strong number two. Another interesting result was that while 4 out of 5 IT professionals surveyed indicated that they were at least 30% virtualized, less than half were 70% virtualized. Obviously virtualization has taken the data center by storm but the 100% virtualized data center is still a long way off for most.

Fractured Backups

Simplification comes when one environment can meet all the data center’s needs without compromise. Clearly the fact that most companies aren’t 100% Windows or 100% virtualized creates a challenge when it comes to data protection. Most data centers have at least a small part of their environment that is either non-Windows or not virtualized, and in most cases this “small part” is also critical to the business. It can be a custom application written in Linux that drives an organization’s factories or an MS-SQL cluster that stands apart from the virtualized environment. Most companies felt they needed multiple solutions to protect their fractured environments. A staggering 79% of organizations were using at least two different data protection methods (file-based, application-aware backups and server image backups), and more than half were using three or more!

At Storage Switzerland we find that most of these either non-Windows or non-virtualized servers are mission critical and often justify their own data protection solutions. It’s not uncommon for us to find a data center that has the majority of its Windows environment virtualized, except for their MS-SQL servers. Those environments often also have another mission critical application running on Linux and each tend to have three or more data protection applications active.

Disastrous DR

This mix of backup applications also leads to a variety of disaster recovery solutions and data locations. Most of the organizations surveyed had some form of DR but which form of DR varied widely. 15% used only on-premises protection, 20% used a physical off-site, 10% used on-premises and cloud DR and 25% used on-premises DR with a physical off-site. The good news is that IT seems to recognize that backup and DR is a problem, as evidenced by the fact that about one-third of those surveyed indicated they were looking for a new DR strategy and over two-thirds were considering the cloud.

The Cloud for DR

Backing up to the cloud to protect against a disaster is an almost perfect use of a technology to solve a problem. But when evaluating the cloud for DR, IT professionals need to consider how they are going to get data into the cloud. Is their legacy application that just bolted on a cloud connection going to do the job or should they consider a backup solution designed for the cloud? Do they need to install and maintain a whole new appliance infrastructure or can they leverage the hardware that is already in-place to transmit data to the cloud?

They also need to ask hard questions of the provider that is going to be storing this data. They shouldn’t assume that the cloud provider has the right infrastructure and policies in place to deliver on the promises their marketing materials make. In the event of a disaster can their software and its infrastructure respond to recovery requests from the organization and from 100+ neighboring businesses?

Listen to Storage Switzerland and Zetta.net interactive discussion as we go over these results and provide some practical steps for IT professionals to improve their backup and DR strategies, right now.

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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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One comment on “Backup is a Fractured Mess and DR is worse – Can the Cloud Save us?
  1. Joseph J. Kobylecky says:

    George,

    Does Zetta and VMWare offer the same type of business Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery services?

    Is it fair to compare the two software providers?

    Best regards,

    Joseph J. Kobylecky
    Business Consultant

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