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Taking Data Protection to the Next Level

August 26, 2008

Summary

Backup and recovery challenges continue to evolve rapidly, which is why today's businesses require complete data protection solutions that can help them reduce backup and recovery times and control costs.

Introduction

"The backup/recovery market is undergoing a significant change."
That's the conclusion of a recent Gartner Inc. report, "MarketScope for Enterprise Backup/Recovery Software, 2008." The MarketScope is Gartner's evaluation of a marketplace at a specific time period.
The report goes on to predict that, "by 2013, surviving enterprise backup/recovery products will have transformed into recovery management solutions that unite traditional backup, replication, snapshot, and continuous data protection."
In light of this market change, Gartner sees "the management of these capabilities becoming more unified to meet client demand for a single recovery management platform rather than having the user becoming the integrator for multiple point solutions."
This article looks at how backup and recovery challenges are evolving and why today's businesses require data protection solutions that can help them reduce backup and recovery times and control costs.

Containing the data explosion

More than ever before, businesses today are under intense pressure to ensure that their business-critical data is protected and available. As the saying goes, "If IT breaks, the business stops."
According to IDC, this has resulted in a situation where IT departments now routinely face the following backup and recovery challenges:
  • Meet shrinking backup windows while facing data growth. The amount of data that must be backed up continues to increase. Indeed, IDC estimates that critical data is growing at a rate of 52% per year. At the same time, businesses of all sizes are increasingly focusing on recovery, demanding more stringent recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs). According to IDC, this challenge can be mitigated by eliminating the continual backup of duplicate data, which reduces the amount of data requiring backup and thus shrinks the backup window.
  • Manage disparate, distributed data protection products. Administrators today need to manage disparate types and numbers of data protection, replication, and backup architectures in both the data center and satellite locations. According to IDC, "a large firm will have an average of three disparate backup applications, many different replication approaches, and a varied use of disk and tape media as a target for backup." Multiple data protection point products result in multiple management consoles and agents and can challenge consistent policies and processes.
  • Manage and improve backup and restore reliability. Failed backups commonly compromise successful recovery. "Increasingly," says IDC, "disk-based data protection approaches can aid in improving the reliability of backups through processes such as verification, volume spanning, storage pooling, and sophisticated load balancing and fail-over capabilities." Two major benefits of disk—overall cost and performance—are pertinent here.
  • Support virtualized server environments. Data centers are deploying server virtualization at unprecedented rates to aid in consolidation, utilization, and mobility. Data protection environments need to detect new virtual machines and protect them in a manner that doesn't compromise performance, availability, and recovery expectations.
  • Protect remote and branch offices. Challenges include limited local technical staff, reliance on manual tape backup processes, and limited WAN bandwidth. And yet the business can't tolerate data loss or lack of data recovery or productivity in remote and branch operations.
  • Enable disaster recovery. Organizations can't afford to take days to recover data and systems when a disaster strikes. As IDC has observed, "challenges with disaster recovery include inefficient or untested disaster recovery plans, time lapses before recovery can be done, and difficulties in recovering the 'exact' data protection infrastructure to enable data recovery."
Of course, the challenges don't stop there. IT departments also face numerous business challenges, such as meeting stringent service-level agreements, supporting rollouts of new business applications, containing costs, and conducting compliance audits.
Symantec believes that many of these technical and business challenges can be met by making use of next-generation disk-based data protection to increase performance, improve reliability, shorten recovery times, and eliminate the need to back up redundant data.

Redefining data protection

Some industry observers have called the move to disk-based data protection the most important trend in data protection today. But while recent advancements in disk-based data protection have improved the speed and throughput of backup and recovery operations, many organizations still struggle to find practical methods of increasing recovery points to more than once a day.
Symantec believes the answer is to integrate next-generation technologies as part of a broader backup management platform. Recently Symantec announced a series of product updates to its Veritas NetBackup platform, including the integration of data de-duplication and continuous data protection, to provide improved manageability from a single solution. The NetBackup platform also now offers granular recovery capabilities for Windows and VMware environments, allowing administrators to restore a single file or an entire image with one backup pass, thus saving time, storage, and bandwidth.
Symantec, recognized by IDC as "the undisputed market leader in the data protection and recovery market," provides complete data protection across virtual environments, remote offices, desktops, laptops, servers, applications, and databases. With its focus on helping businesses reduce backup and recovery times and control costs, Symantec offers complete data protection solutions optimized for all market segments—from small and medium-sized businesses to large enterprises.
It is also Symantec's goal to continue to enhance its data protection portfolio through technology synergies between NetBackup and Backup Exec in the areas of disk-based backup, virtual machine support, Windows protection, OpenStorage, and recovery capabilities.
This software-based approach provides an alternative to appliance- and array-based solutions, allowing customers to leverage commodity server and storage hardware and to scale their data protection storage environment as they grow their business.

Conclusion

Today's businesses must keep their infrastructures up and running 24x7. They must also be able to access steadily increasing amounts of information—anytime and anywhere. That means that the physical systems, the operating environments, and the applications must be protected across all tiers of the infrastructure.
As the world leader in data protection, Symantec continues to help businesses successfully back up and quickly recover their critical information stored in data centers, remote offices, and virtual environments. And businesses that can easily recover information when they need it – whether it's an individual file or a complete application image – drastically reduce their overall IT risk.

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