A 3-Step Plan to Delivering Backup and Recoveries with Higher Success Rates and Less IT Oversight

582,226. That’s the number of individuals laid off at America’s largest companies as of July 10, 2009, according to the Layoff Tracker on the Forbes website since November 1, 2008. And, depending on what date you are reading this blog, that number has probably gone up. But what this number can not quantify is how layoffs are forcing the individuals left behind within these Fortune 500 organizations to cope with increasing workloads and nowhere is that problem more acute than within IT.

Despite these workforce reductions, most studies still show storage growth continuing at a robust 30% or higher through 2009. Even though a recent report from IDC forecasted a 3.1% decline in storage spending from 2008 to 2009, IDC still expects those systems sold to result in a net increase of storage capacity by 44% versus normal year-over-year capacity increases of 50 – 60% (even though it may not translate into more systems to manage since storage density increases accordingly). Another survey by Applied Research that was conducted at about the same time that IDC report was released contacted 400 IT professionals and it found that in their organizations most (over 90%) anticipate that their storage budgets for the next 6 months to 2 years will stay the same or even increase.

What this means from an IT perspective is that even as the number of people available to manage this data is reduced, there is now more data to manage, protect and recover than before. To cope with this growth and protect and recover their organization’s data using fewer people, IT can take the following steps to resolve this:

  • Bring in a disk-based storage system that supports deduplication. Disk-based backup and recovery improves success rates to 98% or higher versus 60 to 80% success rates using tape and, and by reducing the required capacity for the same amount of data through deduplication, the storage system can scale to handle this continuous data growth.
  • Purchase resilient, reliable disk-based deduplicating systems. Using commodity disk storage systems as backup targets may be appear economical on the front end but as backup storage capacities grow, so do their costs with some estimating that management and operation costs often come in at several times the acquisition cost of these systems.  Organizations need to purchase resilient, disk-based deduplication backup solutions that automatically handle tasks like disk drive failures with little or no intervention required on the part of IT staff to fix these types of common hardware issues.
  • Obtain scalable disk-based backup solutions that can start small and grow large. Most organizations are dealing with budgets that are flat right now but are forecasted to grow in the future. The last thing organizations want to do is buy a disk-based backup solution with available budgetary funds that only meets their short term needs but then does not scale to meet their future needs. Just because budgets are limited does not mean organizations cannot put a solution in place that meets their needs now and into the future.

NEC HYDRAstor is one solution that fits this list of criteria by providing organizations the building blocks that they need to meet their disk-based backup needs now and into the future. Because HYDRAstor is based on a grid architecture, organizations can start small and then scale by adding either more Accelerator Nodes for higher performance or Storage Nodes for greater capacity at a future time as their demands dictate and budgets permit without needing to replace the entire system.

Further, because the HYDRAstor distributes deduplicated data across multiple nodes, in the event of a disk failure or even the failure of an entire node, data is protected with and always available with minimal or no intervention required by the administrator. Because the system is also future evolving, newer, denser and faster components can plug in directly into the existing grid and the system can takes care of distributing the I/O load and account for any differences across components. This allows organizations to maximize investment protection by extending the life of hardware purchases.

The loss of over 500,000+ jobs in Fortune 500 organization in the last eight plus months is a pretty telling statistic about the current state of the economy. Yet in the face of this, organizations still have to deliver on their most critical functions of which backup and recovery clearly belongs. To meet that objective, organizations need new technologies that improve efficiency and reliability, scale to meet future needs and take less time to manage and support. The NEC HYDRAstor is clearly one technology that should be on the short list of products that organizations need to consider for this purpose.

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