Your Data Is a Strategic Asset – Treat It That Way!

Posted 10/20/2015 by Commvault

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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.

First and foremost, I want to congratulate Commvault on what is their most exciting series of announcements yet – and I’ve been watching them for most of my 25 years in the data protection market. One of the key reasons that Commvault continues to be recognized as a leader in the space is how their platform continues to evolve to meet ever-broadening customer needs in data protection. Below is an ESG blog that encompasses my view as to why a comprehensive approach to data protection makes so much sense for organizations today and in the future. Over the next few weeks, Commvault has invited me to offer a series of blog posts to share ESG observations on changing customer requirements to data protection and data management – and my perspectives on how the new Commvault vision and its upcoming releases align with those market trends.

‘Improving Data Backup and Recovery’ is the number two most cited priority in 2015, according to ESG’s annual IT Spending Intentions report. As important as that is, there is an even bigger story when considering that the most cited priority is Information Security (see FIG).

Top 10 IT Spending Priorities in 2015

Essentially, what this data implies, continuing a similar story from ESG’s 2014 research, is that even more than all of the production-enabling deployments and improvements that folks are doing, the top two most common IT initiatives are around ‘protecting’ what you have – your data!

There are two key reasons why backup continues to be invested in:

  • Business units’ reliance on their data and IT systems continues to heighten, such that any downtime or data loss is intolerable.
  • The production platforms continue to diversify and evolve, resulting in inadequacies or even business impact when legacy approaches to backup are attempted on modern IT platforms.

In response to these IT realities, organizations of all sizes are looking for ways to increase the agility of their data protection infrastructure; often by supplementing backups with other data protection capabilities, such as snapshots, replicas and archives. Each of these data protection mechanisms offers a different kind of agility that compliment backups, as seen in FIG.

The Spectrum of Data Protection – also explained here.

As seen above, each ‘color’ on the Data Protection Spectrum compliments (not replaces) the other colors in the spectrum. In the same way, each data protection mechanism compliments (not replaces) the others, with different kinds of agility and/or recover-ability. And similar to how different colors in the rainbow may appear more prevalent, different ‘colors’ of the DP Spectrum may have different prevalence; meaning that while ‘backup’ may be applied across an entire IT infrastructure, snapshots, replicas and archives may only be applied across certain percentages of the organization, based on the varying business value of the data or IT availability mandates.

Unfortunately, while this hybrid DP method approach may be obvious to many, some organizations attempt to address each of the DP Spectrum mechanisms with disconnected technologies that often result in significantly higher costs and complexity, while still not meeting the actual business units’ needs of improved and more comprehensive protection and recovery-agility. Instead, ESG recommends that organizations seek out integrated approaches to data protection that enable multiple ‘colors’ of the data protection spectrum in a single management/policy lens for ensuring one DP strategy that reflects and refracts all of the business units’ recovery needs within a single prism.