Escape from Alcatraz is Like a Data Protection Plan Gone Bad

‘Ready for anVMworld blog-logoy’, the theme of VMworld 2015, points out that mission critical data is sitting in a variety of locations, including the cloud.  In addition, any application and device should have access to the data.  We all expect and need data to be available at our fingertips 7×24 365 days a year.

While at VMworld, I spoke with attendees about what the ‘ready for any’ theme means when combined with the expectations of data protection.  The question I posed:  “Would you say that inaccessible data is as costly as lost data?  Meaning, the data might not be lost but you do not have access to the data”

My findings:   Unavailable data costs money and “why” is a moot point.  My take away from these discussions confirmed what is often overlooked.  Your data protection plan needs to cover much more than just backup.

In my spare time after VMworld I swam in the San Francisco Bay. There was an added excitement to the swim because I was swimming in the waters meant to keep prisoners from escaping Alcatraz.  Alcatraz

The “Great Escape” is the well-known Alcatraz escape attempt. The prisoners believed they had thought through all possible risks. Leaving out a few key details during the planning phase caused their escape to fail.

After my swim I started thinking about how the escape related to my findings while at VMworld.

The escape entailed more than just breaking out of the prison. Your data protection plan needs to include more than backup and recovery.

While planning, the prisoners had limited access to details that would have increased their chance of a successful escape.  Your data protection solution needs to provide the information necessary to plan and reduce risks.  What are your potential risks?  How quickly can you resolve issues? Is collecting and analyzing data a manual process?

Their escape plan included getting off the island plus where they would go once on land.  They had a plan for the future.  You need one solution that will continue to meet your future needs.  This includes protecting physical environments as you move into a virtual infrastructure.

The prisoners had no means of testing their plan and their attempt failed. You need to know that a  recovery from any point-in-time  is possible.  When was the last time you tested a recovery of your applications?

Each prisoner had a unique role to play in the escape.  If you are like most customers running apps on virtualized servers you have more than one admin involved in data protection.  You need to keep the management simple by allowing your admins to leverage native interfaces. In an ideal world, application admins take control of protecting the applications, and the backup admins configure the policies that adhere to corporate standards.

The prisoners made it off the island but no bodies were recovered.  A recent study found that 71% of IT professionals interviewed were not confident they could recover data.  How confident are you that you can recover your mission critical data?

The key take-away here is your data protection solution needs to include more than just backup and recovery.  It needs to be flexible and scalable while including unified monitoring.

EMC is the only on the market that offers data protection across the continuum.


If you are attending VMworld in Barcelona in October be sure to visit EMC Stand D207 to learn more.

About the Author: Deanna Hoover