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December 5, 2014

Don’t make data recovery difficult

Don't make data recovery difficult

By Anthea Nadin, Data Centre Solutions Specialist

Has data recovery become too complex for the average company? Anthea Nadin, Data Centre Solutions Specialist at Aptronics, looks at how businesses can keep their valuable data safe without getting bogged down in choice.

“You can have any colour, as long as it’s black,” Henry Ford is said to have remarked when the first Model-Ts were rolled out of the assembly line. If there’s one thing that can be said for car owners of Ford’s day, it’s that they were never paralysed by the excess of choices that today’s consumers are.

When it comes to data recovery, companies may take one look at the sheer volume of solutions available and find themselves longing for a Model T-style solution. Backup and data recovery has evolved greatly in complexity as big data takes centre stage. How can businesses make the difficult choice of which solution is right for their needs?

Looking back

Much like Ford’s black Model-T, the data recovery technologies of yesteryear were, in many ways, reassuringly simple. IT departments would back everything up using tape, which could retain data for long period of time. Unfortunately, tapes fall short when it came to timeliness – it took a frustratingly long time in terms of both back-up and restoration.

The advent of virtual tape libraries led to greatly improved recovery times. The introduction of deduplication technology reduced the length of the recovery window even more by preventing the same data from being repeated. This, however, added complexity as different vendors each had their own interpretation of how to do this.

The challenges

Today’s businesses have more nuanced needs than just simple data archiving. Companies cannot afford to ignore day-to-day requirements, which are becoming more stringent in the face of greater compliance requirements for stored information. Back-up and recovery windows are shrinking exponentially as many companies run 24/7 processing operations. Big data means greater space requirements, so capacity demand is increasing. With these conflicting imperatives, choosing a vendor with the best approach to deduplication technology becomes important.

Beyond operational needs there are DRP requirements. These often require IT departments to adhere to challenging RTO/RPO targets as they look to enable businesses access to valuable data and systems at recovery sites. For many companies, every minute of downtime means thousands if not millions of rands are lost. For companies that don’t have effective DRP processes, it’s even worse – they can go out of business very quickly.

Thankfully, much of today’s solutions are intelligent enough to back up entire virtualised environments so that you can get an entire site up and running within minutes, or even recover a single mail message in the same amount of time without the complexity of traditional restore methods. The key is adopting the most appropriate solution that balances needs, cost, functionality and complexity.

Bringing simplicity back

For companies that don’t have the time, experience and resources to monitor and manage the back-up themselves, they have the option of turning to managed backup solutions. By offloading the responsibility to a team whose sole focus is ensuring their backups and recoveries are successful, companies can free up valuable IT resources.

Each vendor has its own approach to backup, so it’s best to partner with a solutions provider that has extensive experience with multiple portfolios. At Aptronics, we are committed to choosing solutions that align with your company’s backup needs and can slot right into your unique environment with minimal disruption.

That way, back-up and recovery can fall back into the background where it belongs, allowing IT departments to concentrate on business applications that enhance competitiveness and optimise operations. Data archiving can finally be simple again, while still meeting all of your most pressing business and governance requirements. Wonder what Ford would have said about that?

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