Rethinking data protection strategies


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Time to change your thinking about data protection

If you're adding disk to your backup mix, try this step-by-step approach for faster backups and recoveries.

For years, IT administrators approached data protection the same way: They backed up data to tape, crossed their fingers that the backup process worked and was complete (that everything that needed to be backed up was actually backed up), and then prayed they'd never be asked to do a restore.

It wasn't pretty, but it was all administrators had available to them at the time, so it became the accepted practice. Everyone knew about the potential problems of backing up to tape, but no one said much about it. Backup had become "IT's dirty little secret." And, more importantly, no one did anything differently.

Today, we're more aware of the need to find and recover data quickly. The reason for our heightened awareness may be due to growing governmental and corporate scrutiny; the maturing of disk-based backup; the availability of higher density, lower cost disk drives in storage systems; the increasing availability of recovery-focused products; or the ongoing drain of rising data volumes. The reason doesn't matter; what's important is that a decisive shift has occurred and the industry no longer thinks about data protection in pure backup terms.

After all, what good is backing up data if you can't restore it when you need to? It's a

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question whose answer goes without saying, but given the history of the data protection market, it's one the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) believes organizations should continually ask themselves, especially as their business objectives change.

The bottom line is that it's no longer a question of if data can be restored, but how quickly it can be recovered and how much data loss an organization can tolerate. It's about making sure that recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives (RTOs/RPOs) match the value of data at any given point in the data lifecycle. It's also about being "recovery minded."

This was first published in September 2006

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