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Once data is collected, the IT organization can assess its levels of data protection. Inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the backup process are more easily highlighted so organizations can understand where gaps and vulnerabilities exist. Armed with better information, policies can be established or improved. Trending information (whether analyzed manually or fed into predictive analysis features) allows administrators to eliminate surprises.
Large enterprises' backup environments are almost always characterized by the operation of more than one backup app. The ability to support more than one backup app, and perform cross-domain collection and reporting, is important because it provides administrators with the ability to correlate data from the different domains in the backup environment to get a big picture view of backup operations. Developing and publishing policies across different domains in the backup environment is another useful capability.
Each of the vendors I've mentioned has adopted a browser-based user interface that can be launched from anywhere on the network (locally or remotely). Adaptable dashboard views allow data to be formatted for any given audience. Similarly, made-to-order reports and the ability to publish them through email, an intranet, and Excel or PDF file formats are important. Customizable alerts--what events trigger them, who receives them and the method
| of delivery (SNMP, email, pager or console message)--differentiate reporting solutions.
Customization, in general, is a useful attribute. For example, setting role- or user-based access to information or reports; establishing user-configurable parameters for reporting, trending and analytics; as well as generating reports by geography, business unit, app or other user-defined parameters are just a few areas where flexibility is a benefit.
Backup failures are chronic, time-consuming and costly. Deploying business-level backup reporting can change the life of a backup administrator, as well as the effectiveness of an IT organization. In addition to assessing inefficiencies and vulnerabilities, backup reporting products enable organizations to prove recoverability of data for SLAs and regulatory mandate audits. Through these tools, IT (and its business constituents) may understand the true costs of data protection vs. SLA effectiveness. Armed with more information, companies can make better decisions for data protection, while saving time and money, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing risk.
This was first published in February 2008