Too often one of the requirements in the enterprise data protection equation for corporate remote and branch offices (ROBOs) is “rip-and-replace.” While this approach is fine for dealing with aging hardware and software, it ignores the majority of scenarios where ROBOs have hardware or software that they can’t afford to replace but are being asked to rip out anyway in favor of OEMs’ latest solution. ROBOs are just as apt to want a “bolt-on” solution that enables adding new technology to their environment while continuing to use what’s already in place. The latter scenario is what Overland Storage’s announcement of its REO Compass is designed to provide.
Backup and recovery of data in ROBOs is often the responsibility of each individual office. This turns into a huge challenge as these offices try to provide reliable data protection that complies with corporate standards while hampered by limited resources. ROBOs are often looked upon as the stepchildren of organizations–literally forgotten unless something goes wrong. But times have changed. The distributed workforce and the amount of corporate data stored at remote locations (as much as 60 percent) are growing, so more companies now are placing greater priority on protecting the data at these sites.
Data created and stored at ROBOs is vital to the organization, but there are challenges that must be overcome to protect it. While a quick-fix might be to deploy skilled IT technicians at each remote site, this would be quite expensive and impractical. Likewise, training non-IT staff to perform IT-related tasks does not guarantee a high percentage of successful backups and a newfound ability to detect or report problems. While remote administration sounds logical, the time spent by IT administrators becomes significant and often futile as they try to deploy pointed solutions for each remote site.
Compounding the challenges of administrating backup and recovery at remote locations is the fact that, because remote offices have acted autonomously in the past, each office is likely to have different backup software products, tape rotation schemes, schedules and procedures. With corporate IT already resource constrained, it is very possible that effective backup and disaster recovery processes will remain non-existent at most remote sites.
To counter this, companies are looking to centrally control and protect data while minimizing the costs and effort of putting such a plan in place. Much of the difficulty associated with backup and moving data to a central location revolves around the following:
- Sufficient bandwidth between the data center and each remote site;
- Technical expertise for implementation and administration, and;
- Utilizing existing hardware and software at the remote sites to keep upfront costs low while avoiding a rip-and-replace scenario.
Today’s release of Overland Storage‘s REO Compass fits neatly into that space. It is a disk-based appliance designed specifically for moving data between geographically distributed offices that natively integrates with existing backup software (just Symantec Backup Exec in its first release) and policies as well as virtual and physical tape libraries. Through its centralized management interface, corporate IT can create, monitor and manage a common set of policies across all REO Compass units in an enterprise. The result creates a form of global intelligence around all remote backup and recovery operations.
Enterprises are becoming well aware of the importance of managing and protecting data in their ROBOs and the number of solutions emerging to address this problem continues to increase. REO Compass, however, represents a first in terms of a solution that enables companies to keep and manage existing hardware and software while bringing it under the control of central IT. We’ll get into more details in forthcoming blog entries about how REO Compass works and for which corporate environments it makes the most sense to deploy now.