Watch Out for Bumps in the Road: The Business Risks of Data Protection

Most traditional data protection strategies are full of unforeseen bumps in the road because they were built for a simpler time – when one server, one tape seemed like the leading edge. But that time is past, it’s in the rearview mirror. You’re dealing with a much more complicated set of scenarios, and you need data protection that overcomes the hidden risks of old approaches. In our latest eBook, we’ve developed a roadmap to help you avoid some of these risks.

Spring is around the corner, and for my family, that means a spring break road trip is in order. We’ll be off to some warmer corner of the country, spending a week visiting the grandparents, getting in some relaxation, and returning home refreshed, ready for school and work and the status quo.

That is, unless we hit another unforeseen bump in the road.

Last year, we were driving through a construction zone at night, and without any real warning, we drove over a damaged section of road. The impact damaged our car. It shook us up. And it threatened to turn our enjoyable trip into a disaster.

Something similar can happen with data protection. One moment, you're driving along, things are smooth, and the next minute, you have problems.

Let’s take a look at what some of these bumps you might face when protecting your data.

Risk #1: For physical and virtual, inconsistent processes = inconsistent results

Let’s imagine a simple scenario, that you have five physical, legacy workloads, and five virtual workloads. You’re using a traditional backup and recovery technique to back up your physical servers while you’re using a virtualization-specific solution to back up your virtual machines.

That’s all well and good if the added complexity of two data protection solutions suits your needs. But it usually doesn’t because with two solutions, you have inconsistent processes and inconsistent results. Inconsistency is bad for business and tends to frustrate everyone – including your executives.

Risk #2: Lengthy time to recovery = business exposure

How quickly do you need to recover? Well, that’s a complicated question of course, but the standard answer is “as quickly as possible.” Problem is traditional data protection approaches don’t lend themselves to a short RTO. Magnetic tape is slow compared with disk. Granular restore isn’t usually an option, so you’re reloading an entire database or file structure from tape just to recover a record or file. In virtual environments, traditional solutions usually force you to read the entire virtual machine back from tape.

These limitations expose your organization to risks because you're compromising important workloads. How will you cope when you can’t recover for days?

Risk #3: Poor granularity = increased time, cost, and risk

Traditional backup approaches tend to have poor backup and recovery granularity. You need a solution that backs up just the changes and is capable of restoring just the changes – instead of an entire email store or file server. Having to restore an entire mail server just to access a single lost mail message is overkill—but it’s something many organizations accept as inevitable because that’s been the status quo for a long time.

The status quo isn’t a good thing for you. You need a data protection approach that’s granular – that can restore a single byte, or file, or record because it protects data intelligently, in a granular way. Without granularity, increasing the time spent on data protection, the risks to your organization, and the costs associated with management, storage, and poor recovery.

Risk #4: Too many administrators, doing too much work.

It’s a sad fact: traditional data protection approaches are incredibly labor-intensive, especially as your organization grows. Your admins are monitoring backups to ensure they complete; shuffling tapes off-site, on-site, and so forth, and dealing with the implications of slow recovery times.

Because of this, you’re devoting far too much energy and money to keeping the status quo alive. Projects that could be beneficial to the business end up unrealized because there aren’t sufficient IT resources. Problems take longer to solve because resources are tied up with daily overhead. Your business suffers.

Risk #5: Lack of recovery flexibility

Let me ask you a question: how flexible is your traditional data protection? Do you have the capability to recover a failed system to a standby server? Recover physical servers to a temporary virtual machine? Recover to a virtual machine in the cloud, or in another datacenter entirely?

Traditional backup solutions don’t facilitate that flexibility. How are you supposed to get your tapes into the cloud? You’ve spent time and money building a flexible, virtual datacenter, and yet your backup barely leverages Internet connectivity.

Risk #6: Massive amounts of at-risk data

Your data is growing exponentially, which likely means that your backup windows are limiting your ability to keep everything backed up. Some data doesn’t get backed up for days or weeks.

How much data can your organization stand to lose? The fact is, most organizations accept massive amounts of at-risk data because that was the best they could do. Here’s a risk that goes beyond a bump in the road – to extend the analogy, the bridge is out and you’re about to drive into the swamp.

How can you leverage leading technologies to avoid these bumps in the road?

The old ways are bumps in the road that could ruin your trip. How can you avoid them?

We’ve produced a roadmap to help. It’s called Think Like a CIO: 5 Key Virtual + Physical Data Protection Takeaways. It explores all the challenges, opportunities, and benefits you could experience by moving away from a traditional data protection approach.

Based on years of experience, both internally and with thousands of customers, it offers our perspective on the best approach to data protection. Download it here to learn the best ways to avoid bumps in the road while traveling toward optimized data protection that’s built for you.