On the Cover
Back-up to the future
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 00:00
Written by Nick Wonfor
I was shocked to hear recently that an established international telecoms company had lost revenue because its billing system wasn’t backed up, and that another company had opted not to include important data in its normal back-up routine in a bid to save money.
Unfortunately, in both cases, these fatal mistakes weren’t spotted until it was too late, and then heads rolled. Over a decade into the new millennium, why are people still losing their jobs and organisations still losing money because back-ups have failed? Some argue that the cause for any shortfall is that data centres have become more business-critical and complex in equal measures. Others suggest that the problem lies in looking at back-up policies and systems in isolation, thereby storing up trouble and cost down the line. The most common reasons for back-up failure, in my opinion, is a mix of insufficient planning, research, automation, training, and inappropriate spending.
The problems arising out of a lack of planning and research often have their roots in overworked teams and organic growth. Constant fire-fighting drives point solution purchases which feed a vicious circle – more point products take more time to manage.
Even when time is set aside to research appropriate solutions, it is often focused on detail rather than the bigger picture. Back-up needs to be seen as part of a wider data management strategy that draws a direct link between data protection and data value. Taking a blended approach to back-up may sound like a recommendation for point products, but it isn’t.
It’s widely accepted that automation can dramatically reduce human error, so the benefits of using software to manage hardware protection operations, such as snapshots, and to integrate this capability with traditional back-up and dedupe should be clear.
All this may sound complicated and expensive, but appropriate spending is the key. Although budgets are tight and getting tighter, lack of investment in effective back-up and recovery only serves to limit the insurance net it provides for valuable company information.
Ultimately, the technology for effective data protection is available and doesn’t cost as much as you may fear. Neglect back-up at your peril. Your livelihood may depend on it.
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