Backup and recovery: how to get powerful simplicity in a complex digital world

Integrate these six strategic elements for modern data protection

In a rapidly changing and uncontrollable world, feeling assured you can control how well your data is protected and managed gives you the much-needed confidence that you can support your business’s needs. With digital transformation, hybrid cloud and data analytics among the initiatives creating more data management complexity, it’s important to scrutinize your data protection infrastructure to see whether you’re falling behind with your backup and recovery approach.

A modern data protection solution should deliver powerful simplicity – with the ability to backup data everywhere it lives and recover it to anywhere it is needed. In today’s complex digital world, your business is evolving fast. It simply won’t wait. Examine these six strategic elements that will modernize your backup and recovery to help you meet the changing demands you face.

Do you remember your favorite toy from childhood; that feeling of security it gave you? It was a simple comfort that delivered powerful peace of mind. It is how all of us want to feel about our enterprise: our data is safe and secure 24 x 7, and we are confident the best backup and recovery practices are in place. Only then can we sleep peacefully at night.

But today’s threats can lead to nightmares resulting from gaps in your data protection strategy that have been caused by less-than-effective solutions you may have in place. Most likely, your enterprise still needs to improve or refresh its backup and recovery systems to support the increasing complexity brought on by new paradigms including digital transformation, hybrid cloud, data analytics and more.

And you’re not alone, particularly as it relates to the security aspect of data. A global survey of 1,200 senior IT executives conducted by 451 Research and Thales notes that 44% of those surveyed feel very or extremely vulnerable to data threats. But in today’s increasingly complex data world, how can you achieve powerfully simple backup and recovery especially as your workloads are increasingly distributed across on premises, cloud and SaaS infrastructure? Is it possible to backup data everywhere it lives (on-premises and the cloud) and recover it to anywhere it’s needed without breaking the bank or throwing mountains of resources at the problem? A modern approach for protecting your hybrid environments can deliver the answer.

Moving from maybe to modern

Maybe you’ll be able to recover from some breaches. Maybe you can migrate your data to that new cloud platform. Maybe your disaster recovery plan can protect most critical data. But, maybe doesn’t allow for the confidence you need to sleep well at night.

To move from maybe to modern, you need to deliver powerful, yet simple, backup and recovery across your enterprise. In addition, you must support all workloads in all environments, easily, without taxing your already overwhelmed staff.

Once your modern solution is in place, you will be confident that:

  • Data on premises and in the cloud is backed up in a timeframe that meets SLAs
  • Mission-critical data can be efficiently recovered during a disruptive event, according to established service levels
  • Automation is fully leveraged to streamline processes, including during disaster recovery
  • Data can be recovered from cyberattacks using policy and access controls

Examine these six strategic elements and ensure they are in practice to bring your enterprise backup and recovery up to current standards with the powerful simplicity your business demands.

1. Scale-out, not up. Traditional backup and recovery approaches require the addition of incremental infrastructure to address increasing capacity demands. This process of “scaling-up” adds complexity and can result in multiple, misaligned point products, rising costs and unreliable data access. Over time, continuing to “scale-up” not only adds excessive infrastructure costs, it limits services and impedes availability.

In today’s dynamic data environments, legacy scale-up methods need to
be phased out in favor of a modern, scale-out approach. This can stop the fork-lift upgrades and multiplying silos of data while increasing agility and lowering costs. In addition, by abstracting the commodity hardware and combining software and network infrastructure into a single package, scale-out technology provides cloud-like flexibility and services. By scaling-out your backup and recovery workloads, you can centralize operations into a single software-defined stack and eliminate the need for dedicated media servers, proprietary controller-based storage devices and cloud gateways, reducing infrastructure costs and lowering management time.

2. Native hypervisor and cloud support. It’s a big job to backup and recover data in today’s increasingly hybrid environments. Most likely, you’ve already figured out legacy backup tools and processes are not optimized to support a hybrid infrastructure. It’s imperative to look at a modern backup and recovery solution that can natively protect your entire physical, virtual, hyper-converged, and cloud environment today with the confidence that you will be protected in the future.

In our hybrid world, your critical data lives both in traditional on premises locations and across multiple cloud platforms. It’s too hard to manage, integrate and secure data if you’re using multiple products and manual, error-prone processes. What you need is a solution that delivers native support for the hypervisors and cloud storage platforms you use now, and those you may adopt in the future. To streamline operations, your backup and recovery solution should support your hybrid IT demands using a single, integrated platform without the need for gateways or other third-party products.

3. Policy automation. The strain of managing multiple point products and manual processes is exacerbated by the need to implement a unified, global set of policies. However, increasing compliance and regulatory demands make policy control a necessity. Adding to the challenge is the management of data in multiple, diverse locations. Data that’s retained in a spectrum of platforms, from the on-site datacenter to multiple clouds, means multiple exposure points. Thus, it’s critical that you know where all this data resides, understand its value to the business and assign consistent policies for storage, backup and recovery accordingly.

With so much data flowing into, out of and between your hybrid infrastructure, keeping track of everything, managing conversions, integrations and migrations and applying policies to it all can create serious headaches. That’s where policy automation comes into play.

Simplifying your physical, virtual machine and cloud protection, policy-based rules in a modern backup and recovery solution can be defined once and applied with consistency. When new workloads are automatically detected, the correct protection policies can be seamlessly applied without manual intervention ensuring new workloads are protected from day one. As a result, you’ll avoid inefficiencies, redundancy, and added complexity that point solutions cause. You will also control budget, set correct policies for data according to business value, and know that you are meeting compliance and governance standards with one, highly efficient solution.

4, Rapid recovery. While it’s important to have a backup solution that works across all environments, it’s arguably more critical to have a recovery solution that can restore your data, fast, to anywhere it’s needed. Hardware-driven RAID solutions offer slow, outdated rebuild processes which can dramatically impact downtime and costs. Instead smart, software-defined scale-out solutions will deliver rapid recovery to any target, so you can get back to business faster. This includes recovery from any copy including disk, on premises, cloud, tape and off-premises copies.
Further, by leveraging advanced snapshot and replication technology
you can enhance your recovery readiness. To support all the storage platforms you have deployed, look for the broadest possible integrated snapshot array support. Since virtualization is a key IT driver, also look for innovative snapshot technology that makes it easy to protect thousands of virtual machines quickly and efficiently. This allows data to be immediately accessed and leveraged for fast recovery, without waiting for a complete recovery operation.

Efficient replication and source-side deduplication that extends to the cloud are another needed facet of modern recovery. You can optimize your primary and secondary storage infrastructure costs by using source-side and target-based deduplication to eliminate backing up redundant data. With modern recovery, IT will lower costs and conserve storage capacity, not only by using deduplication but also by being able to easily move data across storage tiers – including tape and the cloud – based on your data policies and SLAs.

5. Rapid recovery. While it’s important to have a backup solution that works across all environments, it’s arguably more critical to have a recovery solution that can restore your data, fast, to anywhere it’s needed. Hardware-driven RAID solutions offer slow, outdated rebuild processes which can dramatically impact downtime and costs. Instead smart, software-defined scale-out solutions will deliver rapid recovery to any target, so you can get back to business faster. This includes recovery from any copy including disk, on premises, cloud, tape and off-premises copies.

Further, by leveraging advanced snapshot and replication technology you can enhance your recovery readiness. To support all the storage platforms you have deployed, look for the broadest possible integrated snapshot array support. Since virtualization is a key IT driver, also look for innovative snapshot technology that makes it easy to protect thousands of virtual machines quickly and efficiently. This allows data to be immediately accessed and leveraged for fast recovery, without waiting for a complete recovery operation.

Efficient replication and source-side deduplication that extends to the cloud are another needed facet of modern recovery. You can optimize your primary and secondary storage infrastructure costs by using source-side and target-based deduplication to eliminate backing up redundant data. With modern recovery, IT will lower costs and conserve storage capacity, not only by using deduplication but also by being able to easily move data across storage tiers – including tape and the cloud – based on your data policies and SLAs.

6. Single index. Siloed data is a major hurdle when you require the easy search and recovery of your data. If you have not already moved to a single index across all datasets, now is the time to do so. With data housed in many locations, on- and off-premises, and across storage tiers, a universal, or single dynamic index, is a must-have solution. It will enable you to quickly and efficiently access and restore data in support of reporting, search and eDiscovery. You will not only be able to fulfill governance and compliance requirements more easily, but also be able to thoroughly recover critical data. In the event of a legal request, for example, you need to know quickly where and what your data is, who owns it, who has access to it, and more contextual details. It will save you millions of expense dollars by narrowing down and defining data sets and providing accurate, complete information rather than hiring legal counsel to perform those assessments.

User Self Service. According to recent reports, by 2022 there will be a 1.8 million worker shortage in the information security sector2 IT skills are exhibiting a shortage around the globe. With skills in such high demand the last thing you want to do is add technology that is overly complex or inefficiently wastes precious IT staff time. Instead, look to solutions that will empower your users to find, access and truly use their data, when they need it, without bothering IT.

Your modern data protection system should provide a positive user experience with the self-service data access they want with a dashboard-driven interface for easy access and management of data across your entire environment, regardless of location, application or storage type. Such self-services will deliver both IT time and cost savings by restoring only what you need, whether file or granular level recovery, including the ability to recover within the cloud.

Modern can be powerfully simple

A recent survey noted that 58% of executives say poor application performance impacts their work at least weekly, resulting in a number of problems ranging from lost revenues and customers to a damaged brand. Another way to think about it is: modern saves money. Your enterprise will survive the hybrid environment, the increasing data analytics demands, the proliferation of virtual machines – all the trends driving digital transformation – if you take the time now to move your backup and recovery platform to a modern level.

As you can see, when it comes to modern backup and recovery, simple and powerful are not mutually exclusive. A modern data protection solution delivers both. Incorporate these six strategic elements into your IT initiatives to get ahead of the future, rather than playing catch-up. Then, rest easy knowing your data is safe and protected by a modern backup and recovery platform, all day and night.