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Pro-Active Management of Unplanned Server Growth; Interview with Asigra CEO David Farajun

Hard-disk drive storage is taking center stage as the preferred media for enterprise archiving, data protection and information recovery needs. But as the shift to using disk for long term data storage needs occurs, companies are coming to realize that the software that they have relied on for years is, in many instances, poorly equipped to deal with the management of hard-disks as part of their larger data management scheme. Optimizing the placement of data on hard-disks, replicating data to disk storage systems at different sites and then recovering the data are new challenges that companies face as they introduce larger capacity hard-disks into their environment.

Of course, this is not true for every data protection and information recovery software product. Asigra Televaulting has since its inception in 1986, utilized hard-disk drives as its primary target for backup and recovery while using its agentless architecture to backup and recover servers on corporate networks.

In the last 20 years, the complexity of customer environments and the scope of backup have increased significantly. Asigra’s historical strengths such as backup to disk and agentless architecture will get an organization’s attention but it is new features that Asigra now offers that can help enterprises meet their specific challenges in regards to data protection and recovery.

Enterprises expect the next generation of data management software to provide a wider range of services than just supporting backup to disk. Making a change in a company’s enterprise data protection and information recovery strategy and the product that delivers on it is a large step and companies need numerous reasons to substantiate a move of this magnitude. More intelligently managing data stored in archives and backups, multiple recovery options and the support and management of replication processes are examples of the new features that companies now look for in their software.

To understand how Asigra is addressing these new corporate concerns as well as gain a better understanding of where Asigra is headed longer term, I recently met with Asigra’s CEO, David Farajun, to discuss these issues with him and gain an understanding of how Asigra is responding to them.

Jerome: How have you seen customer environments evolve over the last 20 years?

David: 20 years ago customers had a pretty firm handle on their environments and knew what they had. If they said they had 10 servers in their environment that required backup, you had a fairly high degree of certainty that’s what was there. Now the situation has changed significantly. Enterprises can add or remove servers from a LAN and you never know about it since even the enterprise network managers themselves may not know these changes have occurred.

The introduction of networks in general and the Internet specifically has translated into a general loss of control over corporate infrastructures. This presents new challenges when trying to meet customer service level agreements (SLAs) for information recovery. If the original SLA specified 10 servers, you sized your backup and recovery environment accordingly. But now 2, 3 or more servers can be unknowingly added to the backup configuration that can change the backup and recovery requirements significantly. The actual impact will depend on how fast the servers are, what applications are on the servers, how much data is on the servers and how much the data changes nightly. To address this, companies need a good understanding of the data on these servers in terms of its recovery and retention requirements.

Jerome: So what steps did Asigra take to help users first quantify and then pro-actively manage their server environment?

David: As part of Televaulting, its DS-Client helps companies perform pre-assessments before they implement Televaulting in their environment. The DS-Client is first deployed in a prospective client’s environment and allowed to run for 1 – 2 weeks to gather information about the customer’s environment. The DS-Client then produces a number of reports that help companies appropriately size the production Data Collector (also called the DS-Client) for day-to-day backup requirements and helps them size the disk storage for their backed up data.

In part 2 of this series, David explains why an appropriately configured Data Collector is so important to data protection and information recovery and what features Televaulting provides for long term data management and retention as well as shares his views on the use of removable media in data protection.


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