Today’s tough economic times are changing many aspects of the way businesses run that range from the way businesses promote themselves to the way they purchase products or support their growth internally. Yet one thing that all businesses have in common is that tough economic times force them to focus on their core objectives and how well their current technologies are delivering on meeting these goals. As companies go through these self-examinations, businesses tend to discover that the promised features of technologies they purchased in the past may turn out to provide them far less value than they anticipated or are becoming irrelevant as their infrastructures evolve. Nowhere does this hold truer than with their approach to enterprise data protection.
Both mid-tier and enterprise corporations alike often employ multiple point products to protect their data. IT organizations may use tape for their daily and weekly data protection while utilizing storage replication or other third party tools to replicate data to achieve near real-time recoveries. Yet these technologies are built upon yesterday’s architectures and assumptions that leave significant gaps in data protection. Tape restoration times can range from several hours to days or even weeks depending on the volume of data being restored while storage replication does not automatically protect companies from application failures or from data corruption.
Instead what is emerging is the need for a new product that bridges that gap in that it enables companies to still create daily and weekly backups if they so desire but also enables them to recover any of their applications in real time. More importantly it needs to account for:
- Centralized management
- Support for multiple operating systems
- Integration with multiple applications
- The ready availability of low cost disk subsystems
- Rising application servers to administrator ratios
- The introduction of virtual servers into corporate environments
- Rising user expectations for fast application recoveries (30 minutes or less)
It is this gap that new technologies like InMage Systems’ Scout fill. Beneath the covers, Scout uses Continuous Data Protection (CDP) technology as its means to capture and copy data but implements in such a way that allows it to scale in the ways that matter most to many companies. It offers protection for application servers whether their storage is on local disks or attached to SANs. It includes built-in templates for common enterprise applications such as Oracle, SQL, SharePoint and Exchange. Scout can also protect data at either the file or block level and allows companies to roll-back their data to any point in time.
The roll-back feature is especially important in today’s 24×7 world. Let’s say your main data center and its underlying infrastructure becomes unusable or even wiped out at 3:30 pm due to a natural disaster. Using Scout, the platform will let you failover all of your applications and data to a remote site and actually recover your data back to that point in time to when the outage occurred. Probably the best way to think of Scout is as a TiVo for data protection and, like TiVo, the beauty of Scout is that you do not require a significant amount of storage or replication experience in order to take advantage of its features.
Tape backup and recovery applications as well as storage replication products served a specific purpose at a specific time in corporate data centers but times have changed. Today companies increasingly call for products that provide near real-time recoveries across their entire infrastructure that do it faster, require less administrators, cost less and meet today’s user expectations for application recovery. Scout is one such example of a product that bridges this gap by enabling companies to keep their current technologies in place while building a foundation for a new and better way to protect their data going forward using the technologies of tomorrow.