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Are backups a waste of time?

New business requirements may mean your backup process won't adequately protect company data.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." --Charles Darwin

"The future ain't what it used to be." --Yogi Berra

At the risk of becoming overly philosophical, every once in a while it's important to take a step back from day-to-day activities and reflect on why we do the things we do. What real purpose is served? Are the original requirements still applicable or have new ones cropped up? Have new or better solutions evolved?

In storage management, there's no better candidate for this kind of scrutiny than backup. It seems that nearly everyone is evaluating new technology options, from virtual tape libraries to continuous data protection and agentless backup. While it makes sense to seek out these improvements, when a mass push to adopt new technologies occurs, I become concerned that insufficient attention and thought may be given to that most fundamental of questions: What problem are we really trying to solve?

Data protection has changed not only in terms of technology, but with regard to business needs and expectations. As a result, there are data protection functions and services that are routinely provided within IT in addition to traditional

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backup. Yet many of the efforts underway to improve traditional backup don't adequately take these other data protection elements into account.

For example, if we're currently replicating top-tier application data to a remote site and taking regular split-mirror or snapshot copies of data volumes, why do we continue to do nightly backups? What's the purpose of a nightly backup and, given a demonstrated requirement, how do we design the right solution to adequately address it?

This was first published in March 2007

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