Data Protection in a Cloudy Universe

Arthur Cole
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Enterprise infrastructure has grown more diverse over the past decade, so it stands to reason that many of the functions involved in managing data integrity should follow suit. However, this doesn't necessarily mean a complete revamp of existing data protection systems. On the contrary, it turns out that many of the tried-and-true technologies of the past are more than capable of keeping up with the times.

A key example is tape. Long considered the dinosaur of the virtual age, tape continues to provide the backbone of many robust and low-cost backup and recovery solutions. According to both the Enterprise Strategy Group and the Clipper Group, tape has a number of advantages over disk when it comes to long-term storage, not the least of which is cost. Over long-term scenarios, the TCO of the Linear Tape-Open 5 format showed a 15-fold TCO reduction compared to disk, a significant savings for enterprises struggling with ever-increasing data loads.

Of course, data protection consists of more than just raw storage. As Sepaton's Dennis Rolland points out, building a robust protection suite is a lot more complicated than standard proof-of-concept exercises suggest. Far from simply accepting a vendor's design specs, enterprises should ensure that any platform features the kind of modularity, connectivity and flexibility to handle present and future needs. Plus, tools like unified management of multiple backup applications and the ability to add features without disrupting operations are necessities these days.

Among some of the newest platform upgrades to hit the channel, a focus on high levels of scalability and multivendor compatibility are a nod to the fact that the days of the monolithic data center are over. Veeam Software, for example, just released Version 6 of its Backup & Replication system featuring an enhanced distributed architecture that is more attuned to offsite infrastructure, as well as a 10-fold increase in replication acceleration designed to improve failover and failback operations over long distances.

Meanwhile, FalconStor has issued Version 7 of its data protection suite, described as the foundation for a new service-oriented platform called BlueStone due out next year. V7 features enhanced synchronization between the company's virtual tape library, file-level dedupe technology, continuous data protection and network storage, giving it the ability to scale up all resources on an equal footing to suit enterprises' data expansion needs. A key upgrade in this effort is the link between file-based dedupe and a global VTL repository that allows file-and-block data to scale at the same time.

Data protection is such a crucial component of modern enterprise environments that it's unlikely to be pushed aside as organizations migrate to the cloud. At the same time, it is a wide-ranging and complicated task that stretches to the four corners of the infrastructure.

In the race to get onto the cloud, then, it's wise to ensure your protection measures can handle the increased diversity and complexity before becoming overly reliant on your new architecture.

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