With more and more critical data residing at the edge of the enterprise in remote or branch offices (ROBOs) and on client systems, the ability to reliably protect and quickly recover this data has become more critical to business continuity and end-user productivity.
In addition, an increasingly mobile workforce is creating and sharing more data outside the traditional control of those primarily tasked with protecting it. If organizations are not able to efficiently and effectively address these challenges, they face significant business risk associated with losing or having to recreate unprotected edge data, not knowing what data exists in an environment and not being able to find it in association with a lawsuit or compliance requirement.
Protecting and recovering data at remote sites and at end-points using legacy technologies can consume scarce resources, require expertise that often isn’t present, and is prone to failure. In addition, these isolated systems can be expensive to deploy and manage. In the case of a site-level disaster—such as natural disasters, human error, viruses, and security breaches—organizations need to have a copy of important data stored safely, far away from the remote office that holds the original copy, but that is still easily and rapidly accessible. Without a centralized strategy, organizations are at risk for lost data, which can result in reduced operational capability and employee productivity as well as a range of other business consequences.
ROBOs and End Users Present a Range of Data Management Challenges
Data outside the data center is often just as critical to the success of your organization as that residing within it. Yet, this data is often unreliably protected due to insufficient network bandwidth, a lack of trained IT staff at remote sites and the high cost associated with managing distributed multi-platform environments. As the volume of data created and stored at the edge of the enterprise continues to grow, legacy data protection and management tools have become less capable of easily protecting it and ensuring business continuity. The data management burden on staff members at remote sites, who often are not IT professionals, is significant and continues to grow along with the data. Expecting end users to perform their own backups puts data at risk and limits your visibility into what data is in your environment.
In addition, if you don’t have an easy to use way for end users to recover their own data from a centralized protection plan, then the IT staff will easily become overburdened performing requests to find files for them. Downtime, effort spent recreating assets and data loss—the consequences of unprotected and/ or unrecoverable data—are costly. Whether you are taking busy production systems offline for backup or in order to recover data, downtime can significantly impact your organization’s mission or your company’s revenue, worker productivity and customer satisfaction. In the event of a temporary outage, a disaster or application data corruption, it becomes critical to access a more recent copy of your data than last night’s or last week’s backup.
You must be able to quickly recover specific files or to specific points in time so you can prevent data loss or roll back from corruption. It’s time to modernize your backup approach for ROBO and end-point data with a single platform. A platform that replaces dated legacy backup products that have not kept pace with today’s growing data center business challenges and contributed to management complexity, skyrocketing costs and put vulnerable data at risk. The problem with extending the traditional backup strategy used in a data center to ROBOs and end-point data is that it is not cost effective to deploy at each remote site. Traditional strategies require additional backup software and hardware that is expensive to purchase and maintain. They also require technical resources not readily available at remote sites.
Instead, many organizations use local tape to back up data at remote or branch offices. But this approach requires a significant amount of effort and administration. For example, when tapes are sent off site, security becomes an issue—reports of data tapes lost in transit or delivered to the wrong client are not uncommon. For organizations that don’t use tape and instead send large backups over the wire from remote locations to a central data center, a lack of sufficient network bandwidth becomes the issue. Finally, other methods, like using disparate, point appliances or localized disk and replication, are not ideal because they add cost and complexity if they are not part of a unified solution for managing data across the enterprise.
Finding an efficient protection solution for distributed data becomes pressing for organizations under a number of circumstances. For example, they may need to centralize and consolidate operations because they lack the resources to reliably protect and recover data locally at remote sites or across their desktops and laptops. In another case, they may want to implement a cost-effective disaster recovery strategy that leverages remote sites or virtual environments. This can entail efficiently distributing copies of backup data on disk at another site in order to improve RTO/RPO by maintaining a current copy of data to enable fast-yet-granular recovery to specific points in time. In both cases, they want to be able to take advantage of technologies that can reduce WAN bandwidth requirements because for many organizations the ability to centrally protect data is inhibited by limited network resources.
By Allen Mitchell
Senior technical account manager, MENA at CommVault Systems