Today backup and recovery looks almost nothing like it did 10 years ago. But as one looks at all of the changes still going on in backup and recovery, one can only guess what backup and recovery might look line in another 5-10 years. In this ninth and final installment of my interview series with Brett Roscoe, General Manager, Data Protection for Dell Software, Brett provides some insight into where he sees backup and recovery going over the next decade.
Jerome: There is a lot excitement out there right now around data protection and how much backup and recovery has changed in the last 5 – 10 years. To a certain degree, it does not even look like it did 10 years ago. It makes me wonder what it is going to look like in 5 or 10 more years in terms of what new technologies are going to come to market or how they are going take advantage of new technologies. Do you have any thoughts about what the future of backup and recovery looks like and is it even going to be called backup and recovery?
Brett: That’s a great question, and boy, if I could accurately predict what’s going to happen ten years from now, that would be something!. But you’re absolutely right in saying that this is a market that’s quickly evolving and changing. That is one nice thing about the software side of the business: you can quickly change with the market and meet these changing customer needs.
But if I had to predict what I think is going to happen, it is clear to me that we are going to continue to move to real-time or near real-time data protection. That world of 10 years ago, where you scheduled backup jobs at night, is just going to fade away. The real-time backup means that as soon as something changes in your environment, it’s immediately protected. I do not think we are going to get away from that. I think it’s going to be driven by the technology, as well as the demands of our customers.
Data is becoming more and more critical. More and more of my company depends on this data being available and being recoverable. If a business has a disaster and loses their data, a large percentage of them never recover and never stay in business. That is just becoming a reality.
In addition, I think you’re going to more and more cloud and backup and recovery as a service models, especially in the smaller SMB side of the market. Customers are looking to offload and maybe simplify their IT infrastructure. When you can start using very efficient technologies such as WAN optimization, deduplication and compression to minimize the bandwidth required to move data into the cloud, that reduces costs while making bandwidth more efficient. This makes the cloud much more usable as a backup and recovery option.
Further, virtual standby technology is coming into its own. Using this technology, you can actually run your applications in the cloud for some period of time. Using this approach, you may lease some additional compute and storage resources in the cloud to deliver on this capability. However, it is a temporal thing and allows you to meet an SLA which would normally require much more cost if you did it locally. So, in that vein, I expect to see expanded use of the cloud and a continuation of today’s hybrid cloud environment IT initiatives.
Another trend is using backup for additional IT functions like analytics, testing, and data migration. We have all this great data that we’ve captured through the backup process. Now there is a new push to create more value for this idle data and exploring what else we can do with it.
There are all kinds of great tools coming out in terms of analytics and data mining capabilities that can provide additional value to any company that can mine through that data and use it in some other manner.
I also expect to see tighter integration of backup to traditional management infrastructure. This idea that backup becomes a little bit more of the mainstream tool set that you see in IT through your larger IT frameworks or management infrastructures is going to continue. Many big companies are starting to build backup tools into their applications or into their hypervisors. We will continue to see that.
Lastly, there’s the trend we hit on previously when we talked about the Dell Backup & Disaster Recovery Suite, which is the desire for more flexibility to leverage Dell or whichever vendor’s IP across the portfolio. That will continue to grow. How do you get customers to a place where they feel like they can leverage more and more of your IP no matter what product they buy? Dell is leading the charge on that. We really have a vision for making sure all of our IP is available to our customers.