IT Focus Area: Infrastructure Optimization
November 17, 2017
Beyond Backup to Intelligent Data Management
There was a time when the future of backup was unclear – in fact, it was thought that the future of backup might not be backup at all. Several years later, backup isn’t going away, but it is changing. Data is now one of the most valuable assets of any company, and organizations are challenged to leverage this asset for greater competitive and operational advantage as business demands more. More flexibility in how and where data is stored. Greater visibility and intelligence into data. Improved insights into where data resides and its importance in the business hierarchy. Increased efficiency, effectiveness and control. For organizations that want to transform IT and modernize backup from a transactional process to a forward thinking strategy, the future is here. So now what?
The Storage Evolution
In the drive to transform and modernize IT, backup still remains critical to ensuring that data is secure and protected. All data was once considered important, and so all data was backed up equally. Although the media and location have changed – from tape to disk to cloud – and deduplication has provided some level of efficiency by reducing the need for storage capacity, the demand for simplification and classification of data has become vital to leveraging this business asset.
Today, organizations need to answer questions that weren’t being asked in the past, and those answers require a new understanding of data, storage mobility options, and organizational drivers for data use:
- Where should data live – on-premises, in the cloud, or both?
- Who will decide where data lives, and what’s optimal for the organization?
- How will decisions around data, its use and storage be made?
IT modernization demands a new way of thinking about data, and that means a new way of thinking about backup. Backup isn’t going away.
IT Modernization: How to Get There from Here
IT modernization is all about aligning IT with your organization's business strategies while driving improved efficiency, security, and agility. While data is a vital business asset, it can also be increasingly difficult to manage, control and use to your advantage, essentially stalling IT modernization efforts. Add to that the varied platforms, applications, storage and infrastructure in your environment, and backup and recovery itself is ripe for modernization. Once a tedious must-have that wasn’t considered a strategic business imperative, backup can now be the building block of your modernization efforts.
In the past, approaches to backup were all or nothing – mostly all. By backing-up all data, regardless of its value or use, organizations were guaranteed to protect everything forever, even if that meant escalating hardware costs. The introduction of deduplication attempted to address the rising costs of storage, however it only addressed capacity – it doesn’t truly solve the underlying issues impacting the use and value of data to your business.
Modernizing your backup strategy can simplify deployment and management while delivering the efficiency, security and agility benefits today’s organization is after.
IT modernization is expected to impact both OPEX and CAPEX, after all, the improvements in business alignment should create both cost and resource efficiencies. Given the existing investment allocated to backup and recovery, modernization should positively impact your storage, management and operations costs, especially when it comes to avoiding the collection, processing, and storing costs associated with the “dark data” that is not effectively used by your organization because it lacks an assigned value.
There are three key areas that can significantly impact your backup and data modernization efforts and enable IT transformation:
1. Gain visibility and intelligence into data. Protecting business critical data without wasting time and resources on non-critical data requires an understanding of your data composition. Backup and recovery modernization begins with taking steps to optimize how data is stored, recovered or used – whether on-premises or in private, public or hybrid clouds. Aligning data classification with retention policies helps ensure that critical data is managed appropriately, while reducing the costs associated with maintaining and managing nonessential data. Enhancing classification capabilities to include tags makes searches easier and expedites discovery or information requests to address compliance regulations.
2. Ensure multi-cloud data management. Simply, quickly and easily moving or migrating data from the cloud or between clouds gives you flexibility, but you also need control over where critical systems are running and the ability to ensure service uptime. Business priorities change, and your ability to seamlessly and automatically move applications and workloads on-premises or to your public cloud of choice while protecting data across clouds, platforms or infrastructure is vital to backup modernization efforts.
3. Assign data risk classification. The growth of unstructured data, including emails, documents and image files, is expected to grow 800% over the next five years, with 80% of that residing as unstructured data, according to Gartner. This unstructured data is especially vulnerable to security risks as well as impacting an organization’s ability to meet regulatory and compliance requirements. Properly managing and protecting sensitive or risky information is imperative, and automating processes can eliminate unenforceable, resource-intensive and inconsistent manual methods that hinder backup modernization initiatives. It can also ensure that data is retained and removed as needed rather than treating all data in the same way.
A Platform Approach to Data and Backup with Veritas
Successful backup and storage modernization relies on a data management platform approach that gives organizations features to better, more easily use data – not just back it up. Veritas helps organizations move beyond data backup to intelligent data management, with solutions designed to protect workloads and applications while supporting your need for greater visibility, simplified multi-cloud management, and improved data classification. By aligning its approach to backup and storage with IT modernization paths, Veritas enables you to better leverage the value of your data and your existing storage investments.
Clear the Path to Backup and Storage Modernization
Modernizing your backup and recovery ensures that your ability to be agile, efficient and secure keeps pace with your data demands. In the past, your storage vendor determined your capabilities. Today your requirements and strategy should determine your storage.
Organizations can take advantage of a consultant's deep expertise that comes from understanding the impact a data management strategy can have on your business – from operational and financial, to the technical realities of your existing environment. The insights developed via engagement with your organization help identify areas that improve agility, efficiency and security with a data management strategy designed around your business.
The path to modernization requires going beyond backup to intelligent data management that enables innovation while driving efficiencies. Engaging with an experienced partner can help chart a clear path by identifying short- and long-term opportunities to drive cost savings while supporting an intelligent data management strategy.