ESG Guest Blog 5 of 6: ‘New Agility Requirements’ in Data Protection

Posted 11/17/2015 by Commvault

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We're happy to welcome Jason Buffington, senior analyst at ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group), onto our blog page. Jason will contribute a six-blog series that will focus on key issues related to data and information management, compliance, security and share his perspective on top customer considerations for establishing best practices in today’s changing IT landscape.

Buffington is focused primarily on data protection, Windows Server infrastructure, management, and virtualization. He has actively deployed or consulted on data protection and storage solutions since 1989, working at channel partners, Cheyenne (CA) ARCserve, NSI DoubleTake and Microsoft. Check out all of ESG’s data protection perspectives from Jason. In his fifth installment, he’ll explore Commvault’s initiatives toward "New Recovery Mandates" and customer challenges in being "Unable to meet demands.”

According to recent ESG research, organizations of all sizes continue to struggle to meet the ever-heightening demands for greater IT durability.

Figure 1 – SLA Expectations by % of servers


As shown above:

  • More than one-third of servers (physical or virtual) have a downtime tolerance of fifteen minutes or less.
  • Another third of servers (physical or virtual) have a downtime tolerance less than two hours.
  • In fact, only one in seven servers (14%) can tolerate downtime greater than six hours, which is frankly where traditional backup is most suitable.

For the other 86% of servers that cannot tolerate six hours or less, a combination of rapidly recoverable VMs, snapshots and replication is often used to supplement traditional backup mechanisms. In fact, not only do roughly one in four environments use at least one of these complementary data protection mechanisms today, but their usage is expected to increase moving forward.

Figure 2 – Supplemental methods of Data Protection Beyond Backup (DPM’15)


Data Protection Beyond Backup (DPM’15) Graphic

When you look at the service level agreements (SLAs) required by organizations today, and the inability to meet many of those SLAs with traditional backups alone, something has to change! In response to that, the methods for protection used by IT organizations of all sizes continues to evolve, in order to meet heightening yet diversifying recovery goals. Some organizations have attempted to address each of these types of data protection with various point solutions and eventually realized that the separate management frameworks and separate storage solutions used in disparate methods becomes economically and operationally non-sustainable over time.

Instead, ESG recommends that the diverse data protection methods be 1) planned as part of a unified strategy, 2) hopefully managed in consolidated framework(s) and 3) ideally delivered through an integrated set of functionality. ESG covered this in its discussions of the Data Protection Spectrum.

Figure 3 – The Spectrum of Data Protection

This is an area where Commvault has truly excelled, by building on its primary backup/recovery solution and evolving over the years as their customers’ requirements for data protection, preservation and agility have grown – including snapshots, replicas and archives – all managed within the same UI that helps ensure a single strategy is enacted that enables various recovery scenarios (near-immediate, secondary-site or years-ago). In fact, some organizations are first introduced to Commvault, not for their own backup offering, but through their Intellisnap offerings that were made available by a range of storage solution providers looking for either snapshot management or integration between snapshot and backup recovery methods, including NetApp, Nimble, Fujitsu, Hitachi and more.