Proper data management can indeed make data more mobile. Put another way, it can appear to make data more mobile by making it appear to be in multiple places at the same time without consuming capacity.
One of the key elements of data management is managing all of the instances of a given object or file. This blog post will focus on two types of datasets: the primary instance and all secondary instances – also known as copies. The primary or production dataset is one that supports a direct business function. It may support customer orders, sales, accounting, or development. A secondary dataset is an unmodified copy of the production dataset. If it is modified, then chances are it was done to support some business reason and therefore it moves back into the primary dataset.
Examples of secondary copies would include development and test systems that are using a copy of production data in order to simulate production. Since it is a copy of the production data, it does not need backup. It also does not need to be stored on tier 1 storage. In fact, it might not need to exist onsite at all – it might be just fine out up in the cloud. Some add to this recommendation that if a copy has been modified it should be backed up. However, if a copy has been modified it is no longer a copy; it is it’s own entity and should receive standard data protection logic. But if something is truly just a copy of something else, it does not need backup.
In addition to secondary copies, there is also the concept of secondary access. That is, users accessing primary data through some other mechanism in order to support the business. A perfect example of this is an internal user pulling up a copy of an important spreadsheet on their iPad in order to answer a question in a business meeting. This user does not need another copy of the data; he or she only needs access to the data.
A complete data management system that starts with protecting the primary copy can satisfy all of these requirements within a single system. Development and test systems can easily be given a copy of the primary data by doing a test restore to an alternate location – including the cloud. Making the data cloud accessible also supports secondary access. As long as the data management system is able to authenticate users via other mechanisms, it can give those users access to all kinds of data on a number of devices including tablets, phones, or other cloud-enabled systems.
Data management can indeed make data more mobile. It can make sure that primary copies are placed in additional locations (e.g. the cloud) any time a user needs them. In addition to making the data more mobile, it can make it appear to be even more mobile by making it accessible from multiple locations. It all starts, however, with protecting and managing the data through a single data management framework – and not treating copies as a completely separate idea.
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