Wikibon has suggested for some time that the current model of enterprise backup is broken, and suggests that there are four key requirements for Infrastructure 2.0 backup:
- The backup window has to go from hours to seconds - the backup window has to disappear;
- The backup model has to grow from backing up all data to backing up and recovering data by application;
- Backup for ever "just in case" has to go to a seamless movement of data from backup/recovery to archive;
- Backup has to to migrate from monolithic in-house job-streams to a flexible internal and external infrastructure that can adapt to changes in business requirements.
This transformation will probably include technologies that allow;
- Application specific consistent delta snapshots that allow backup to be taken in seconds;
- In-line application of data reduction techniques (compression, de-duplication etc) that will allow rapid movement of data offsite;
- The speed and priority of backup and recovery can be defined and managed by application and by the line of business dependent on the tradeoffs between cost and function;
- Rapid recovery of application components (files, mailbox) or the full application;
- Automatic migration of from backup to archive on an application basis;
- Flexible movement of backup and archive data within the enterprise and outside the enterprise to optimize the tradeoffs between cost, speed-of-recovery
The key question for CIO's is where this technology revolution is coming from. When EMC, IBM or Symantec talk about backup directions, 80%+ of their investments are driven by the incremental needs of their installed base and the imperative of maintenance revenue streams. These vendors seem to have little appetite for new visions or new backup models, and prefer to snipe defensively that "snapshots are not the right technology", that "appliances should be built round de-duplication engines", or that "array-based replication is the only way".
Innovation usually comes from new entrants into the field. Wikibon is listening to many new vendors that that have new ideas for eliminating the backup window: a subset of companies that have a zero backup window vision include:
- Asigra cloud backup for enterprises
- Intel AppUp℠ Small Business Service and Intel® Hybrid Cloud Platform (a pay-as-you-go cloud service preloaded with applications including Asigra)
- NetApp & Synchsort backup solutions with integrated application managers, snapshots, and remote replication
- NimbleStorage with backup included
All of these solutions meet most of the requirements laid out for an effective Infrastructure 2.0 backup and recovery environment. None are complete or yet ready for taking over as the primary solution for very large-scale enterprises. All of them (and others) can do an effective job for part of the backup solution or do a complete job in some smaller enterprises.
Action Item: Senior IT managements should not assume that the current installed backup vendors will be effective agents of change. Wikibon recommends that IT organizations should adopt the Wikibon four key requirements as a long-term framework, and announce the goals of driving towards implementation clearly to the IT organization, lines of business and vendors. Further investment in current solutions should be minimized to that required to keep data safe, and trials of alternative solutions should be run on subsets of the data center to gain experience of new backup models. As the market matures over the next few years, IT organizations will be in a better position to evaluate potential winners and move to an effective Infrastructure 2.0 backup and recovery implementation.