ESPN, Whack-A-Mole And Why One Backup And Recovery Product Is Best

By Greg Bennett

If you’ve ever seen any of the ESPN “30 for 30”  documentaries (which I highly recommend), you know they all start the same way: “What if I told you…” followed by a story of struggle, heartbreak, perseverance and/or redemption that ultimately changes your perspective. Or even offers new insights into an event or person.  

So envision that dramatic voice-over as I pose the following question: What if I said that you can have a single backup and recovery product that supports your physical and virtual environments across all your locations; supports your applications, databases and file systems; provides source-side and target-based deduplication to lower your storage costs; supports snapshot management technology for faster recovery; includes native cloud integration to simplify moving data; supports modern software-defined architectures for greater scalability; and enables you to support all of this using a single dashboard-driven console?

As I wrote the previous sentence, I couldn’t help but harken back to those infomercials that illustrated how you can still cut through a can and still slice a tomato. It’s amazing what sticks with you from your childhood. But I digress.

Backup and recovery recent history

Before we go too much further, let’s briefly look at what has transpired over the past decade in the backup space. Environments have become increasingly complex, driven by the exponential growth of data, the number of applications IT is required to support, the ubiquity of virtualization, the need to protect endpoints and this little thing called the cloud.

Most organizations started, innocently enough, with a legacy backup solution that protected their physical environments. With the advent of virtualization, many companies added virtual-only backup solutions to augment their physical solution. As recovery requirements increased, customers started leveraging hardware-based snapshots, each with their own set of scripts. With the growth of mobility, companies needed a solution to protect laptops that hold sensitive company data, which required yet another solution. And of course, given today’s cloud-first initiatives, companies need a way to get data to and from the cloud, which frequently involved some sort of expensive cloud gateway. And we haven’t even talked about disaster recovery, replication or deduplication.

The perils of point products

What started out as a noble endeavor to back up your data with “optimized” solutions for each use case turned into a whack-a-mole exercise with each use case driving a new and unique point product with its own interface, its own set of capabilities, its own copy of data, its own hardware and, typically, its own backup software solution. This is unsustainable, complex and expensive.

As George Crump from Storage Swiss pointed out in his recent blog, “Why Do Point Products Break Backup”: “The data center is managing dozens of combinations of techniques to meet its data protection requirements. Recovery becomes a fire drill, where IT has to pull off miracle recoveries instead of taking an organized approach to the process, which instills organizational confidence in the process.”

We agree. Fortunately, there is a solution (surely, you saw this coming. Cue the dramatic music). Commvault software simplifies backup and recovery with easy deployment options (think: appliance), an intuitive user interface (think: web-based GUI) and automated policies (think: no scripts). It also helps you lower costs using deduplication and enabling you to easily move data across storage tiers, including the cloud, without requiring expensive cloud gateways. Finally, it enables you to safely back up data wherever it lives (on-premises or the cloud) and restore it anywhere it is needed.

Strong analyst support

Commvault software has been consistently recognized as a leader in the backup and recovery industry by analysts such as Gartner and ESG, based on our comprehensive approach to backup and recovery.

According to Gartner, “Commvault has the most expansive list of supported public cloud providers, hypervisors, big data support and database protection, providing technological liberty for future procurement decisions in other

areas of the data center and beyond. Aside from protecting more exotic and newer technologies, coverage for traditional physical and on-premises applications is end-to-end and complete.”1

The denouement

The reason this approach makes so much sense is that it significantly reduces your management complexity, improves your operational efficiency, and ultimately lowers your costs versus managing myriad point products. This allows you to focus your valuable IT resources on more strategic initiatives that add value back to the business. Look, I know backup isn’t sexy, but it’s necessary. And while you may not care about backup, I’m guessing you care a lot about recovery.

With Commvault software’s dynamic index, you can quickly and efficiently find and identify your data no matter where it lives to quickly access, restore and use it for other purposes. This is important because it’s no longer acceptable for backup data to just sit there doing nothing while consuming expensive disk space. Today you must be able to put those secondary copies to use for things like accelerating dev/test or improving data analytics. Commvault software enables you to do all of this, with a single solution.

Still not convinced a comprehensive approach is better and easier? “What if I told you…” you can still carry a separate phone; a separate camera; a separate newspaper; a separate GPS device; a separate portable music player; and a separate flashlight to meet your various daily needs? Any takers? Roll the credits.

1 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and recovery Solutions, July 31, 2017, ID: G00311191