10 Way to Improve Data Backup
Every aspect of the data center environment can stand a little improvement. But if your backup capabilities are like most, they are in dire need of an upgrade.
If it hasn't been said already, I'll say it now: Abstraction is the enemy of backup and recovery.
The more layers you pile on between your hardware and your data, the more difficult it is to restore that data once it has been lost. That's the main reason why even moderate-sized enterprises wind up with a mish-mash of recovery systems and programs. As virtualization and the cloud create an even more abstract infrastructure, recovery efforts get hampered because no single B&R platform can successfully navigate the entire data environment.
New research is starting to pick up on the need for a unified backup system-one that can deliver both multi-layer and platform-independent service. However, it remains to be seen whether the current crop of solutions fill the entire bill.
On the top end, we have EMC's new integrated Data Domain solutions like the Global Deduplication Array. It sports the DD's latest dual-controller design and archiving software, not to mention plenty of firepower: 26.3 TB/hour throughput and a logical capacity of 28.5 PB. EMC vows the GDA will replace existing B&R silos built around individual systems and workloads, although it provides native support only for the IBM i operating environment.
Perhaps more intriguing, however, are some of the ground-up approaches to B&R-and data management in general-from the software community. Quest Software, for example, has been quietly building a cloud system and storage management platform piece by piece, with an eye toward bridging the physical/virtual/cloud divide. The latest addition is data protection from BakBone Software, which Quest acquired late last year. The company says its focus on image-based data handling allows it to extend protection of files, objects and applications no matter where they travel.
One thing that is hampering the effort toward universal backup is the lack of standards and integration on the virtual level, says Symantec's Anand Naik. The good news is that many of the gaps are well-known, and we should see a steady stream of technologies to overcome them over the next year. Much of this will be driven by sheer demand, as enterprises seek to extend their infrastructure across the globe.
In the meantime, it's crucial that both virtual and cloud layers gain the same level of recovery that physical infrastructure currently enjoys, even if that means deploying multiple systems. If your enterprise isn't already dependent on all three layers for smooth-running operations, it soon will be.