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How to Achieve Efficient Data Protection in the Cloud Era

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Synopsis

There was a time when IT professionals wondered what would become of their jobs as a result of the cloud. It was hard to imagine that the cloud’s promise to eliminate capital expenditures and reduce operational overhead wouldn’t also reduce the need for IT staff. But for the majority of companies with both cloud and legacy systems, nothing could be further from the truth. Protecting data in multiple cloud environments and on premises is complex and time consuming. IT organizations need solutions that enable efficiencies.

Data protection has never been easy. Even when traditional backups are automated to some extent, they still require manual intervention. At best, someone has to manage them. More often, though, someone has to actually work with backups due to limited application awareness or a lack of integration with storage hardware. Archiving often requires multiple point solutions – each of which must be managed. And, for IT organizations that can afford the expense, maintaining a disaster recovery site means maintaining two sets of hardware and systems.

THE CHALLENGES POSED BY TODAY’S IT ENVIRONMENT

The inefficiencies associated with legacy data protection solutions were bearable when all data was stored on premises. But now they are simply intolerable. Today’s IT environments introduce a host of new challenges that exponentially increase these inefficiencies.

To begin with, data has taken on greater importance as a competitive advantage and business enabler. As a result, the business’ tolerance of downtime is decreasing, along with Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives. The expectation is that data is available at any time, all the time. In addition, business units are quick to collect and acquire new and various types of data, resulting in 40-50% data growth annually.

Meanwhile, the environment is becoming increasingly complex as more data and workloads are moved to the cloud. In 2014, 69% of IT organizations surveyed by IDG reported having at least one application or a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud (for example, CRM, application development and testing, or disaster recovery). However, a whopping 56% are still identifying IT operations that are candidates for cloud hosting. That very likely means more data and workloads will be moving to the cloud. As they do, IT can expect more complexity and less efficiency as it faces the tasks of managing and protecting data in multiple environments – some of which it has little or no visibility or control over. As data stores grow and the environment becomes more complex, backup windows are shrinking. Business hours are extending beyond the traditional 9-to-5 as users take advantage of mobile computing. IT is expected to manage and protect data, ensuring high availability and reliability with very little time with which to back it up. This simply can’t be done with the cumbersome tools and processes used in the past.