Why “Mostly” isn’t Enough in Backup – and what to do about it

Part time insurance is a dangerous thing. You need to be covered all the time in all situations. The IT professionals in charge of backup live this. Comprehensive backup is good insurance but a backup solution that leaves even one platform unprotected doesn’t provide the confidence you paid for. “Mostly backed up” is the same as part-time insurance, something that Zetta’s recent IT survey found IT professionals were working hard to correct.

Mostly Windows and Mostly Virtualized

Zetta’s recent IT survey found out a couple key things. Most environments are mostly Windows, actually about one-third of the companies surveyed were all Windows. But that means 2/3 of companies are using at least one other OS besides Windows. As it turns out, Linux was usually that second OS.

When companies were asked about virtualization, the results were similar. Most environments are mostly virtualized, and mostly VMware. Actually, over 80% said they were more than half virtualized. VMware was by far the predominant hypervisor, but Hyper-V was catching up.

But ‘mostly’ doesn’t cut it in data protection. You have to cover the bases, so IT organizations deploy a combination of backup solutions to provide comprehensive data protection for their combination of:

  • virtualized and physical infrastructures
  • Vmware and non-Vmware hypervisors
  • Windows and non-Windows servers
  • Structured and unstructured data

In order to support this collection of operating systems, platforms, hypervisors, etc. companies do a combination of backup types – file backups, image backups and server backups. In fact, Zetta’s survey showed that 4 out of 5 companies do two types of backup and over half did all three.

These numbers have changed in the past few years and will continue to change. Most companies will continue to deploy a mixture of platforms, operating systems, data types and hypervisors. The takeaway for IT is that backup must remain nimble. It must cover all the bases, the platforms and systems that comprise ‘most’ of the inventory, and the smaller percentage that don’t. And while the exact mix will change, it will probably never be ‘homogeneous’.

For more information about Zetta’s IT Survey, and information on how to address the problems of part-time data protection, take a look at this recorded webinar from Zetta, featuring StorageSwiss Founder, George Crump and Zetta Director of Products, Chris Schin.

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Eric is an Analyst with Storage Switzerland and has over 25 years experience in high-technology industries. He’s held technical, management and marketing positions in the computer storage, instrumentation, digital imaging and test equipment fields. He has spent the past 15 years in the data storage field, with storage hardware manufacturers and as a national storage integrator, designing and implementing open systems storage solutions for companies in the Western United States.  Eric earned degrees in electrical/computer engineering from the University of Colorado and marketing from California State University, Humboldt.  He and his wife live in Colorado and have twins in college.

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