Is Your Data Protection Strategy Spinning Out of Control?

data protection solutionWho’s really directing the protection of your business data?  Is it you, the administrator, founded on centralized IT policies, or rather is it based on the dynamic needs of your many stakeholders?  Are industry regulations your guiding principles, which force the occasional all-hands-on-deck audit exercise to verify compliance?  Perhaps the answer is “yes” or “it varies”.

As IT requirements continue to evolve, administrators and business owners need to change the way they consider available data protection solutions while retaining control.  I tend to think of the different types of data protection solutions as the gears on a bike.  I’m sure we all understand the basic principle: by changing gears, the rider can tackle differing terrain and perform the work, i.e. pedaling, efficiently and effectively.  But put the bike in the wrong gear at the wrong time and that hill in front of you just turned into the Col du Tourmalet.

bike_gearsGranted, there are also single-speed bikes available.  Yes, they work.  And, yes, they will eventually (probably) get you to your destination, but you’ll be tired and out of breath, and you won’t want to bike back to the point you started.  But when it comes to protecting your business applications and data, one size definitely does not fit all.  It’s a game of efficiency and goals, and selecting your data protection solution is no different.  Each type of data protection offers specific benefits and is effective and efficient when used together towards a common goal.

What I’m getting at is that different types of businesses with varying IT needs require multiple types of data protection solutions.  This may incorporate multiple solutions from one vendor, or multiple solutions from multiple vendors.  Whatever the case may be, businesses find themselves with a diverse set of data protection solutions, all operating on different schedules, supporting different platforms and applications, across several locations…you get the point.

How do you wrap your arms around all of that to manage everything, in real time, effectively and efficiently?  I know some IT shops who say they’re accomplishing that very goal.  But in reality they are still monitoring each component of their environment individually.  The backup administrator is watching the backup solutions.  The storage administrator is keeping an eye on the replication components.  The VM administrator is watching…..  And some of them are using the same software tools to monitor different things in addition to specific software for their area of focus.  Not efficient.  Not effective.  Not in control.

What to do, what to do.

First, a recent study revealed an interesting fact regarding the effect of the number of (IT) vendors on disruption.  Specifically, the more vendors a business has, the more likely it is to experience disruption.  Those with one vendor are least likely to experience data loss or downtime.  The same survey found 71% of businesses are not fully confident of their ability to restore their data.  Scary facts, but we have our cards in our hands.  How can we best address this situation?

The real question is how do we manage the environment while it seemingly spins out of control to address the needs of IT, business stakeholders, and regulatory requirements?  And how do we do so without complicating things further?

Imagine if you had real-time monitoring and analytics, unified visibility and comprehensive reporting for the entire data protection environment.  Imagine never worrying about the status of data protection or providing (or receiving) a specific service level.  Imagine never worrying about proving compliance for that unexpected audit.  Imagine knowing that all this information is just a click away regardless of your functional expertise.  No worries.  Ever.

Getting back to the analogy regarding bikes, Trek Bicycles is no longer worried about data protection.  Not only are they ahead of the curve to move toward a single vendor model, but they took the extra step to implement a data protection management solution to make sense of their diverse IT environment.  Trek has a single pane of glass control point across their backup, replication, protection storage and virtualized environment.  Their confidence in backups and recoverability are up, as are their prospects for continued global operations expansion.

Granted, Trek Bicycle is still spinning, but very much in control.

About the Author: Tom Giuliano