As we welcome in the New Year, many of us are dealing with the same challenges from last year. On a personal level, that could mean staying on a consistent exercise routine or not indulging in one’s personal vices. It seems that with every new beginning there are the same old challenges in front of us for the New Year.
But don’t beat yourself up - the same is true for most organizations. New challenges are the old challenges. As we know, business conditions and priorities change from year-to-year but there are many consistent challenges that companies of all sizes face. From an IT perspective, one of an organization’s most significant competitive advantages is its ability to recover after and outage, a disaster, a catastrophic event or human error preventing them from carrying out their mission. Furthermore, in this era of non-stop commerce, IT operations must follow the sun without interruption, especially in the event of any unforeseen disaster.
Moreover, corporate user expectations have changed in recent years with regard to availability, access and platform availability. Corporate users are now more accustom to accessing their data anytime, anywhere on any platform. Third-party research validates these trends. As a result, many corporations are rapidly evolving their IT infrastructure in order to provide the optimum level of user access, availability and assurance that their data is safeguarded in the event of an outage or interruption in business operations.
IT managers face a conundrum of providing their corporate users increased levels of service while at the same time controlling costs and re-architecting their infrastructure to accommodate both new and legacy processes. We hear time and time again, that IT managers’ top priorities include improved services to end users, reduced costs, and reduced risks associated with security breaches or data loss. In short, IT managers must provide consumer like levels of service with intuitive easier-to-use and manage tools while better aligning IT processes with their business objectives and application owners. IT organizations are forced to make changes. Remaining steady-state is no longer an option. Addressing the same old priorities with new challenges takes new approaches to cost-effectively manage and improve service levels. So how do IT managers balance their old priorities and new challenges?
We believe they need to be much more innovative in their approach to better align their IT infrastructure in order to meet these new objectives and to ensure their data protection and recovery will keep pace with their rapidly changing user requirements. In a recent IDC study, IDC EMEA Tech Spotlight, outlined four suggestions for IT managers need to be mindful of in order for them to keep pace with their user expectations this new era. IDC, along with Dell, believe that it is sound and prudent advice to consider the following:
- Map your workloads and their requirements: Not all workloads have the same data protection requirements as they are not handling the same type of data. Getting an overview of the various applications or services that your organization uses, and classifying them by business criticality and sensitivity of data handled provides a good starting point for an innovative data protection strategy that fits to the new Third Platform requirements.
- Consolidate, standardize and automate where possible: With ever growing amounts of data sources and information to manage, the need to consolidate, standardize and automate has never been more pressing then now. Only with automation, IT managers will be able to achieve the response times that their users require and to manage the growing amounts of data with the same staff.
- Test your ability to restore and recover: Backups are done for the sole purpose of ensuring a company's ability to recover information or systems as needed. However, many organizations don't have an easy means to test their ability to recover, and tend to be overly confident that they can recover just because they are doing backups and are left woefully exposed when required to recover for real.
- Evaluate Purpose Built Backup Appliances: One of the new backup and recovery storage technologies that is designed to solve the challenges of storage performance and capacity are Purpose Built Backup Appliances. They have several benefits that enable IT managers to live up to their users' expectations and run their data protection processes much more efficiently, as they are designed for ease of deployment, recovery speed and efficient operation as well as providing integrated best practice.
A New Year should ring in new hopes for the coming year, but in data protection, the New Year usually highlights the challenges of the previous year. However, in this new era of increased corporate user expectations IT managers must use innovative approaches for solving these new challenges and expectations. We promise the year ahead for IT managers will be very challenging indeed and they will not be grappling with the same old problems.