This evening, I suited up to enjoy a bicycle ride along Boston Harbor and enjoy the last vestiges of fair weather in New England before winter arrives. My well-worn ritual played out as I prepared for my ride by adding air to the tires and strapping on my helmet. And that's when it hit me:
I always have to adjust my helmet. It never seems to fit quite the way I want it to fit. I find myself stopping and readjusting the helmet several times during my ride. This evening was no different. When I bought the helmet, it was labeled ‘One Size Fits All’. I thought this was the best option available for a necessary piece of safety equipment, especially for riding on urban streets.
It now occurs to me that ‘One Size’ never fits all. In fact, ‘one size’ amounts to a series of compromises in many cases.
This is not the only example of how a ‘one size’ solution falls short of its intended purpose. In the case of a customer’s critical data, the information that is necessary for their businesses to run day-to-day. It is extremely important they have tools that fit their unique needs and requirements in order to safeguard and protect that information from unintended loss, corruption or disasters. The challenging part for most customers is their data is created and stored in many different formats, applications and operating systems. This why in many organizations, large and small, there is typically more than one tool being used to safeguard their data. The accelerated adoption of virtualization and cloud-based computing has exacerbated their problems.
Increasingly, customers are using more than one tool to manage, backup and store their critical data as way to alleviate the shortcomings of one solution of product. Over time, this places an enormous burden on IT staff members or others to manage and maintain separate data protection tools. It becomes a costly endeavor as well with each product having its own licensing and maintenance contracts. In many instances, customers do not have the correct tools to adequately manage and safe their data. We have seen many purveyors of data protection and recovery solutions move to a model that allows customers to purchase, based on capacity of data under management, key elements or features that are needed to meet their protection and recovery requirements.
This notion of bundling a broader set of features that can allow a customer to protect their widely distributed data whether it resides in the cloud or within the confines of their datacenter is very enticing indeed. Providing customers a bundle of tools that can span applications in Windows and Unix environments or to cover their virtual and physical workloads whether the datasets are blocks, files or images is very powerful. It is also very important to help educate customers on merits of proven tools from a vendor with a longstanding reputation in the industry. We have seen many customers deploy point-products in their environments to help them protect their virtual infrastructure or assets for example. While this does help them quickly cover a new application area it introduces another set of tools, UI’s, licensing and uncertainly that the tool(s) can scale or be managed long-term.
We hear time-and-time again that customer’s want freedom of choice, greater value, simplicity, easier-to-manage data protection and recovery tools. Customers want to pay only for the features they truly use and not be burdened with features and options that are never used. In terms of data protection and recovery choices customers want simplicity and value in a market filled with products that are costly, complex and difficult to manage. Freedom of choice transcends a wider set of features and functions in many cases.