Some things never change, even in the cloud. No matter where data is stored, it still requires robust backup infrastructure that not only preserves data for the long term, but can also make it available at a moment’s notice.
This has become increasingly challenging, however, as both the data load and the operational complexity of the enterprise environment increase. And while the cloud does provide an answer to its own problem in the form of low-cost, flexible backup capabilities, it is by no means the only way to preserve data.
Ideally, the enterprise should implement a single backup solution for both on-premises and cloud infrastructure. This is the idea behind the recent partnership between Nexenta and Veeam Software, which unites the NexentaStor software-defined storage solution with the Veeam Backup & Replication platform. The combination allows organizations to extend backup and recovery operations across multiple storage tiers and targets in local or distributed infrastructure, while providing active management to continuously forward data to the most cost-effective storage solution based on utilization, data type and other parameters.
Meanwhile, Unitrends has upped the capacity of its Recovery-944S and 946S appliances past 100TB using more powerful adaptive data deduplication and acceleration tools in the latest software upgrade. The move allows the enterprise to consolidate multiple backup systems onto a single device, which can then extend its reach across physical, virtual and cloud-based resources. The platform has the ability to back up 25 data streams at a time, covering the workloads of thousands of VMs, through a combination of in-line and source-side dedupe, in-place synthetic backup and dual 12Gbps drive busses.
Going forward, it is clear that the flexibility of backup infrastructure will be just as important as capacity, says Datamation’s Christine Taylor, which is why data protection (DP) is likely to become an integral component of any solution. Without DP, management systems have to keep track of the plethora of backup targets that emerge across distributed, and often isolated, architectures, which are continuously evolving in dynamic and unpredictable ways. A proper DP regime will allow for dynamic scaling, pre- and post-command support and compatibility across multiple network fabrics, operating systems and storage environments. Plus, it enables management from a single pane of glass regardless of how the backup and recovery infrastructure changes over time.
Indeed, the biggest threat to effective backup and recovery is the dreaded backup sprawl, says Sepaton’s Eric Silva. Even in the cloud, the temptation to simply add another single-node solution every time capacity starts to max out or backup windows grow too tight simply compounds the fundamental problem of a poorly designed backup architecture. At some point, the environment becomes too unwieldy and performance suffers—usually right when you need it most. A scalable approach built from the ground up may cost extra today, but the savings in maintenance and personnel down the road will produce better ROI, and the benefits of a singularly managed, highly responsive recovery system are incalculable in the event of a catastrophic loss.
This trend toward unified backup and recovery is driven largely by the rise of disparate data environments that stretch across multiple clouds and data platforms. The cloud does provide some protection against complete loss of data by virtue of its geographically distributed architecture, but even partial losses can hamper productivity and profitability depending on the nature of the data involved.
By consolidating backup and recovery operations, the enterprise not only gains a lower cost solution for day-to-day data preservation, but also a more streamlined and faster means of restoring data to the users and systems that require it.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata, Carpathia and NetMagic.