Data growth is now one of the top three issues for CIOs. This data growth is not coming from structured data growing at 15-25%/year, but from unstructured data growing at least twice that rate. The value of unstructured data is mixed; some is very important, but most can be considered digital trash.
Traditional backup mechanisms based on incrementals and full backups were designed for small amounts of valuable data and are not holding up in this new world. Backup windows and complex recovery mechanisms are the main issues. The problems with traditional systems can be ameliorated with a short-term roadmap to reducing backup pain by using disk-to-disk backup and data de-duplication. However the fundamental problems with traditional approaches cannot be fixed within this model, and in general continued investment in such models should be held to a minimum.
Wikibon sees three key components of a successful backup strategy:
- Move progressively towards a continuous backup model, which relies on consistent snaps and continuous background movement of data to on-site and offsite data repositories.
- Migrate toward a services model for backup and recovery, where the level of recovery is determined within a self-service model by the line of business, and the IT infrastructure resources for service delivery are spread over internal and external (cloud) services.
- Increase the value of data by integrating backup and recovery services with archiving and data mining services, utilizing a common metadata model.
The benefits of this approach are:
- Backup windows are eliminated.
- Service levels of how often data is backup up, how quickly it can be restored and how efficiently historical data can be accessed can be dynamically dialed up or down according to business requirements.
- Cloud service providers can be used for some parts of the strategy, with on-site services providing the higher performance components of backup and recovery.
- The lines of business have a direct stake in setting service and budget levels appropriate to their mission.
- The extended use of data for archiving and data mining adds business value to backup and recovery.
Action Item: CIOs and CTOs need to work within their organizations to clearly define, communicate, implement and manage continuous-backup service levels and customer expectations. At the same time, business managers need to understand the requirement to invest in recovery services that will be infrequently used, but are essential part of their own customer service commitments.