How long until backups are just a nearline copy?

Many organizations that have deployed server virtualization will invest in new backup processes in order to avoid a technology refresh.

Server virtualisation has opened up a world of "best-of-breed" backup offerings for strategic backup software vendors. These new backup products do everything from leveraging snapshots, mirror clones and storage replication to performing new file- and block-level backups of the virtual file system.

Each of these new backup offerings has a high dependency on a tiered storage model to be effective, thereby giving the user the opportunity to realize cost savings.

With this in mind, what business would dare flaunt the capabilities of this new line of backup software and still use legacy off-the-shelf network/client backup products? Actually, there are four such groups:

  • Organisations without OLAs/SLAs defined in their business continuity plan
  • Organisations without clarity around what data they really need to be backing up
  • IT Service providers who manage through simplicity and have deep pockets
  • Vendors who manage the storage service and bill on utilisation
But if you don't fit in one of these four groups, you have the opportunity to save cost, deliver availability and improve RPO/RTOs within your organisation.

Mid-sized businesses that need to continue driving down the cost of data backups will also find many benefits in using inexpensive tape technology.
Andrew McCreath
Engagement PartnerGlassHouse Technologies
Server virtualisation has the ability to transform an organization's backup processes into a service model integrating into business continuity and disaster recovery. But what is the roadmap for current backup methodologies? What type of organization will still require a nearline tape service? Which will use a client-by-client backup profile?

Certainly most SMBs will continue to adopt this approach (until managed service offerings come down considerably in price). Mid-sized businesses that need to continue driving down the cost of data backups will also find many benefits in using inexpensive tape technology/media.

However, organisations with an eye on data management, ILM and/or data deduplication will be looking at server virtualisation to leverage these new backup methodologies, and will invest in new backup processes for their business in order to avoid a technology refresh.

Andrew McCreath is an engagement partner with Glasshouse Technologies (UK), a global provider of IT infrastructure services. He has more than 16 years experience of Infrastructure and Management Information Systems. Prior to joining GlassHouse, Andrew managed multi-million dollar projects while employed with Accenture, Credit Suisse First Boston, Kimberly-Clark, Société Générale and EMC, and is currently specialised in server virtualisation and data centre consolidation.

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