Although the Universal Serial Bus 3.0 specification will get a lot of air time this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the advent of much faster USB devices for local storage should spark some deeper thoughts about how backup and recovery is handled in most organizations today.
Right now, too many IT organizations treat all data the same. And yet when it comes to backup and recovery, most end users are looking for something they were working on in the last 90 minutes. Obviously, continuous backup across the network might be a nice thing to provide, but a low-cost backup device at the client would probably be a lot more network bandwidth efficient.
That's why a lot of IT organizations will be giving end users access to local USB 3.0-based backup storage in 2010, as exemplified this week at CES by companies such as Symwave, which is building a solid-state disk attached via USB 3.0. Of course, the concept of local backup storage is not all that new. In fact, just about every client system vendor out there will offer some sort of local USB 3.0 storage.
But once you start to think about the actual recovery requirements of the business, the time might be at hand to also think about how to prioritize data recovery. As Double-Take Software CEO Dean Goodermote notes, there is some crying need for segmentation in the backup and recovery market. Everybody and his brother provides a backup capability to one degree or another as part of some cloud computing service, but Goodermote notes that not many of them allow customers to instantly recover.
This is why, he argues, customers need to start segmenting data in terms of its importance to the business. End user data might be handled by local storage, but critical business data still needs to be recovered instantly using software such as tools offered by Double-Take. Other data can then be identified for archiving purposes that would probably be best handled by a cloud computing service.
Much of this discussion harkens back to the concept of information lifecycle management (ILM). What's different today is the components to create an effective ILM strategy are now widely available at commodity prices. What needs to happen next is that chief technologists need to bring the will to stitch those components together to create a modern backup and recovery strategy.