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Recovery Should Not Displace Backup as the Next IT Headache

Most organizations recognize that the introduction of disk into the data protection process is fundamentally changing the landscape of how data is protected. But what organizations are failing to entirely grasp is how disk fundamentally alters how applications can be protected and recovered. Disk can minimize the impact of data protection on production applications while providing shorter recovery times and improving recovery reliability.  It is as organizations come to this realization that they also begin to grasp how recovery can displace backup as the next IT headache.

Backup has been a problem within organizations for so long that most IT managers are just relieved that troubleshooting last night’s backup issues is no longer at the top of their daily “To Do” list after they deploy disk. But now that their data is protected, the bigger issue of managing the timely recovery of their applications takes on a whole new life.
Organizations may use multiple means – backup software, replication software and clustering software – to protect and recover mission critical applications while primarily using backup software to protect applications not deemed “mission critical”.

Yet where they fall down is in providing a single, common mechanism to recover key enterprise applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint and Oracle. Organizations may now rely on backup software to recover some of these applications, replication software to perform recoveries for other applications and clustering software for yet another set of applications.

So what emerges over time is that the money and manpower that organizations once spent troubleshooting backup problems is now redirected towards managing the recovery of their applications using these different software tools. This adds both cost and complexity back into the infrastructure.

A better approach for organizations to take as they look to redesign their backup infrastructure is to adopt a broader mindset that is based on “Consolidated Recovery” and then select a solution that supports that approach. While I have previously defined some of the characteristics that a consolidated recovery solution should possess, the most important aspect to keep in mind is that regardless of the solution deployed, it should NOT result in recovery displacing backup as the next IT headache.

It is for this reason that organizations looking to solve their backup issues without creating new recovery issues should take a hard look at InMage Systems’ Scout software. It provides organizations with a common software platform that they can use to protect and recover these different applications. For example, using Scout organizations can:

  • Centrally protect and recover these different applications using one software-based tool.  This feature of Scout eliminates the need for organizations to configure backup software to recover one type of application, replication software to recover another and clustering software to recover yet another. Because Scout continuously replicates data and constantly creates application recovery check points as part of its replication process, organizations can use just one product instead of many to protect and recover all of their applications.
  • Cost effective recovery of “Tier 1” and “Tier 2” applications. User expectations for the recovery of their applications are rising – and not just for mission critical applications. Users do not want to wait hours for IT to recover an application server just because IT classified a server as “Tier 2”. From the end-users’ perspective, if they are using an application and it goes off-line for whatever reason, they stop working. So to those users the application is mission critical even if IT may not classify it that way.

Using Scout, IT can extend the same level of near-real time recoveries to multiple different applications with minimal increases in costs since only one software platform, not multiple, are needed. Further, Scout may actually lower IT’s support costs while improving service levels. IT staff no longer need to monitor each application server to determine if and when they need to reclassify a “Tier 1” as “Mission Critical” since all applications protected by Scout are afforded the same high levels of protection and recoverability.

  • Improve your data protection and recovery methods while showing an ROI. Using multiple data protection products create real, ongoing hard dollar OPEX costs in the form of licensing fees. Backup agents can be removed from production servers since Scout is now effectively collecting data necessary to support any recovery operation.  If you still want to dump data to tape, you can back up disk-based images created by Scout, effectively off-loading production servers.  By consolidating on Scout, organizations can lower software agent costs and minimize the impact of agent maintenance operations.  As they protect and recover more applications with Scout, the savings should continue to increase.

The growing adoption of disk for use in the data protection process is fundamentally changing how organizations think about backing up their data. However organizations are failing to fully realize how eliminating their backup problems is creating new recovery challenges that current data protection technologies do not address, address only in part or are so expensive that organizations can only offer these high levels of recovery to a small subset of their application servers. Only by implementing software such as InMage Systems’ Scout that takes all of these factors into account can organizations begin to solve their backup and recoveries once and for all by consolidating backup and recovery under one roof.


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