The Straw That Broke Backup’s Back

Posted 06/05/2018 by Matt Tyrer

Backup touches pretty much everything, so it shouldn’t be a shock when people say there are a lot of things that can break your backup. Heck, the folks at Storage Switzerland put together a 10-part series on all the things that can break various aspects of your backup environment. However, it’s not really backup that’s broken when you think about it. In fact, I love the opener that George Crump provides in his latest blog, “How to Fix Broken Backup”:

“The single biggest challenge facing backup, [sic] ironically has nothing to do with backup.”

By George, he’s right!  Backup isn’t broken; it’s still the same “take BlockA and move it to SafePlaceB to keep until DateC” that it’s always been. No matter how much some vendors might try to fancy it up, that’s still the gist of it. What has changed is change itself, or the rate thereof. The problem is that too many backup systems are locked into a variety of cages. This isn’t just the old players like Dell EMC, Veritas and Veeam. Even the new kids like Actifio, Rubrik and Cohesity have built cages around themselves until that proverbial straw comes along to break their backs.

Let’s look at the two biggest “straws” out there that lock these players in their cages and hinder your ability to easily address change:

1)     Trap of proprietary hardware

I’m hoping that this should be a no-brainer.

A lot of backup vendors push their own proprietary hardware as the means of delivering their solution. If you want the stuff, then you have to buy my black box. If you want more of the stuff, then more black boxes - and more black boxes, etc. A very easy cage to get locked into, especially given the changes in technology.

What if that box can’t talk to whatever you need it to talk to? What if you need to buy a different box? What if those boxes barely even talk to each other and you have 100 different islands floating in the sea of IT Despair?

The biggest problem with these products is the fact that they dictate HOW you have to build your IT infrastructure. They are rigid, inflexible and provide no alternatives to let customers truly evolve their environments over time. Certainly not the simplest road to walk down. 

Yes, Commvault has a box too (we call ours the Commvault HyperScale™ Appliance), but we aren’t locked in it. It’s one of many mix-and-match approaches to deployment that give our customers the flexibility and agility to build the solution the way they need it to be – not the way I tell them it has to be. Our open platform can be what you need it to be. Need a turnkey box to drop in fast? We’ve got you covered! Need to run things virtually in the cloud? No problem! Need a scale-out solution that you can build on your preferred hardware vendor? Easy as pie! (mmm, pie). Break out of the black-box cage!

2)     Limited ecosystem of what they can support

Another easy one. Many backup solutions excel at a particular subset of your data – virtual only, cloud only, apps only, endpoints, etc.  Which is why you end up with so many overlapping and disjointed components in your data center.  None of them can address it all.  The old guys only do the old things, and have had trouble innovating to address the latest technologies. The new guys, who think their limited options equate to simplicity, seem to have forgotten about the stuff that came before them and leave you holding the bag to cover off those legacy systems. The worst are the cases where the client must “build their own” with scripts to make use of APIs rather than having that integration natively built into the product. That, frankly, is a step in the wrong direction. I like my APIs doing the lifting for me. I don’t want to be back in the Dark Ages of managing script after script after script and hoping I don’t have to change any of them.

By contrast, Commvault delivers one of the broadest and deepest ecosystems of support in the industry to your table. We’ve got the APIs! But we’ve also done the work for you so you can actually USE THEM right from the get-go. No scripts needed! Got some Cassandra to protect? Next, next, done. What about data running on iSeries? Next, next, done. SAP HANA? Next, next, done. Office 365?  Next, next, done. Physical or virtual, in the cloud or on-premises, application, email, or file - it doesn’t matter to Commvault. We’ve got you covered. This lets you focus on moving your business forward with the platforms you need, rather than being locked into whatever limited list of things the other backup guys can cover.

 

In summary, George said it best: a comprehensive data protection approach is really the only way to achieve true simplicity. One view of the data - whatever it is, wherever it lives.  Stop breaking your backup with Band-Aids® here and there. Take a strategic approach with a solution that can address your legacy of yesterday, the needs of today and support your evolution in the future. Commvault’s the easy choice 😉.

To learn more about strategies to “un-break” your backup approach, I recommend watching this on-demand webinar by the Storage Swiss team covering the "10 Reasons Why Backup Breaks and How to Fix." 

Matt Tyrer, with nearly a decade of Commvault sales and technical expertise, is the Solutions Marketing lead for the Americas. He has more than 18 years of experience in the IT industry, covering data and information management, cloud, compliance, enterprise storage, data center consolidation and migration, disaster recovery for public and private sector clients across Canada and around the globe.