The single biggest challenge facing backup, ironically has nothing to do with backup. Backup’s biggest challenge is the pace at which the organization evolves and the speed at which it expects IT to keep pace with that evolution. Combine that with a general lack of IT personnel dedicated to the process of protecting data and the process unwinds rather quickly. In response, IT throws hardware and software band-aids at the problem leaving most organization’s data protection strategy a fragmented mess.
Part of the problem is the enterprise data protection solutions themselves. These solutions try to do too much such as replacing known good alternatives like storage system snapshots. Instead of creating a set of redundant features, the data center needs a different strategy, one that incorporates the foundational data protection and broad platform coverage of traditional enterprise solutions, but which can integrate and control alternative solutions. This new strategy is called Comprehensive Data Protection.
Developing a Comprehensive Data Protection Strategy
A comprehensive data protection strategy is one where most, if not all, of the data protection process is scheduled, managed and monitored through a single solution. While the comprehensive data protection strategy more than likely provides the foundational data protection every enterprise needs, it should also integrate with other protection products like snapshots, deduplication, and replication in order to centralize all data protection routines into a single console.
One of the reasons enterprise data protection solutions have lost favor to more environment specific solutions is that it just seems easier to react to a current problem and apply the most readily available band-aid. A commitment to a comprehensive strategy requires IT to look for ways to have the current solution meet the new protection demand or to look for solutions that can integrate with the comprehensive solution.
The Race to New Environments
The only constant in the data center is change. Twenty years ago, the focus of data centers was on scaling client-server databases. Then attention turned to virtualization and now organizations are trying to develop hybrid cloud strategies and looking to put the right workloads in the cloud. They are dealing with out of control unstructured data growth and new database environments like Cassandra, Couchbase and others.
The software has to do its part to help IT maintain the comprehensive strategy. The solution needs to keep up with emerging new environments and technologies and to exploit those capabilities fully. Commvault for example integrates with multiple storage vendors in order to integrate, schedule and manage those storage vendor’s snapshot features. Additionally, Commvault has a RESTful API interface that enables cross integration and management of other stand-alone solutions.
Developing a Comprehensive Index
Extra copies of data are created all the time. IT professionals count on snapshots as a form of data protection. Organizations assume that their backup application can be their archive or at least their long-term data retention system. The key for the backup solution to meet these objectives is for it to provide a powerful singular index that makes it simple to search for and find needed data. Backup, especially a comprehensive backup solution, has the ability to be a centralized knowledge base about the data that the organization holds.
Commvault‘s Index is extremely powerful. Not only can it provide basic metadata about protected data like create, modify and access dates, it is also able to provide context level information about the data it protects. In addition, Commvault’s HyperScale Technology enables this robust index to scale to meet all the needs of the organization.
The three most critical elements of a comprehensive data protection strategy are the ability to scale, the ability to support new environments quickly and the ability to find the information under management. If the comprehensive data protection solution can’t provide all three of these elements, then the organization typically ends up going down a path of using environment specific solutions that have no commonality and no integration. While environment specific solutions may meet the data protection demands of the day, the fragmentation creates the potential for mistakes and inconsistencies and eventually is what leads to the opinion that backup is broken.
A comprehensive data protection solution that can deliver the three critical elements enables the organization to ensure that foundational protection is provided while integrating with external features like storage system snapshots. The eventual goal is to have a centralized repository for all data protection activity.