Future of Backup: From Periodic to Continuous
Backup has been an essential part of IT infrastructure, but traditional backup technology is no longer able to meet businesses’ evolving demands to drive modernization and digital transformation.
Backup requirements are changing and so there are questions around whether today’s backup technology can meet businesses’ evolving demands to drive modernization and digital transformation.
Requirements are changing
As organizations increasingly focus on digital transformation, IT has become a critical strategic partner to the business. The importance of keeping your systems up 24 hours per day, 7 days per week has never been higher, but availability means much more than just having systems “up.” Users accessing IT systems are expecting the same experience every time, requiring IT to deliver high performance and stability no matter what time of the day.
The threat of ransomware is increasing and the impact of such an attack is enormous. It is not a question of “if” but, it is a question of “when” you will face this challenge. Choosing between paying the ransom or suffering data loss can be both costly and risky. Recovery using traditional backup methods might cause up to 24 hours of data loss and may take days before all applications and system are up and running again.
Organizations can’t afford to sustain any data loss. To avoid the impact of data, productivity, and revenue loss, companies need more granularity in recovery, while maintaining the same level of performance. IDC determined that the average cost of downtime is $250,0001 per hour across all industries and organizational sizes.
Besides data and productivity loss, damage to an organization’s reputation is at stake. Customers can easily share their frustration on social media where it can then be exposed to other customers or prospects.
Shortcomings of Traditional Backup Technology
When looking at the backup technology currently protecting your data—one of a company’s most valuable assets— not much has changed over the last 35 years. The basic process remains the same: during off-peak hours, take a copy of the data that changed in your production environments and store it in another, secondary location.
As data protection is such a vital component of every datacenter, the list of products that support any datacenter strategy can be endless. Let’s focus on one of the biggest trends today: hyperconverged backup.
Hyperconverged backup consolidates compute resources, storage, and backup software into a purpose-built hardware appliance that enables scale-out architecture. By combining all of these resources and features into a single solution— and adding an easy-to-use interface to manage and schedule your backups—they solve many of the complexities you experience when running more traditional build-your-own backup solutions.
But does the hyperconverged backup model address the requirement for more granular recovery? It successfully reduces complexity in the backup architecture, but still uses the same technology to protect the data; i.e. periodically copies the data from the production systems to a secondary storage target.
The Future: Continuous Backup
To ensure granularity without impacting production performance, the future of backup is moving from periodic backup to continuous backup.
By using continuous data replication, you can deliver recovery point objectives (RPOs) of seconds by replicating every change that is generated in real-time. Backup should also rely on scale-out architecture for replication that allows you to protect environments with thousands of VMs. All operations should be performed with zero performance impact on the production environment to deliver an uninterrupted user experience.
Granularity in seconds
All those replicated changes need to be stored in a journal which allows you to not only go to the latest point in time, but also offer you granularity of seconds, so you can safely rewind back to any point in the past – even up to 30 days ago. Recover files, applications, VMs, or even entire datacenters by simply pressing a virtual “rewind” button. Most recovery use cases that require granular recovery—such as file deletions, database corruption, or ransomware—only require short-term retention.
Continuous Data Protection
Combining always-on replication and granular recovery truly enables continuous data protection and allows you to move away from the periodic point-in-time copies used in traditional backup technology. For example, if an outage occurs at 17:26, CDP enables restoring data from 17:25 rather than a backup that is likely at least 4 hours out-of-date where all the data written since the 12:30 snapshot is now permanently loss.
To avoid inconsistent recovery of multi-VM applications, they will need to be protected as a cohesive, logical entity. When creating recovery points, all the VMs should share the exact same recovery point so that when the application is recovered every VM that contains the application spins up from that same cross-application recovery point. All of this should be guaranteed no matter where the VMs are located within the infrastructure.
Long Term Retention
Besides offering flexible options for short-term (up to 30 days) recovery scenarios, you will likely also have compliance requirements to store data longer than 30 days. Long-term retention data requires different storage and recovery times, but must be an integral part of your data protection platform. As with short-term backups, copies should not come directly from production systems as this impacts performance and often disrupts user experiences. Using a technology that benefits from the data already protected by CDP technology, combined and stored in a journal, allows you to offload point-in-time copies to secondary storage targets as often as you want.
It’s time to move from recovery to availability and restore to resume. Contact Plow Networks.
Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, Plow Networks is a Total Service Provider (TSP) with several distinct business practices that, when consumed together, offer our clients a unique, best-in-class experience. We give organizations peace of mind, valuable time back and the economies of scale that come with having one technology partner that is focused on exceeding their expectations with every engagement.