This blog series examines the business costs associated with backup and recovery, with a focus on the costs of downtime caused by both backup and restore operations. This entry examines the costs and risks associated with the protecting data outside of the data center.
I spent several years in the late 2000s marketing software solutions for protecting data in remote and branch offices. At the time, this was a big hole in the data management and governance practice at most companies, despite many analysts noting that as much as 65% of a company’s data assets may reside outside of the data center. And of course, the situation has only gotten worse as more workers move to home offices. GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com estimates that 3.3 million U.S. employees consider their home to be their primary place of work, an increase of almost 80% from 2005 to 2012.
Fast forward 6 years, and I’m now realizing that the remote office data protection problem still hasn’t been fixed in a lot of organizations. Many of our customers and prospects have noted that they just can’t decide on the correct solution.
I have bad news for these folks: there is no “correct” solution. That’s because, like everything else in information technology, it’s complicated. There are many types and sizes of remote offices, each with different infrastructures, network connections, applications, numbers and skills of the local staff, and many other variables.
Does the office have file or application servers, desktops, laptops, or virtual desktops (VDI)? How valuable is the data being created and managed by these distributed employees? Is it connected to the headquarters or regional data center by Internet, Wide Area Network (WAN) or Virtual Private Network (VPN)? The answers to these questions will help to define the right set of solution choices, but it should be on an office-by-office basis.
The one-size-fits-all products offered by most data protection vendors only address their problem: they only have one product to sell.
Force-fitting a backup and recovery solution into all distributed data situations will almost certainly be more expensive than it needs to be for some offices, and not powerful to meet business requirements, such as recovery point and recovery time objectives, in other offices. In other words, a single solution will result in higher cost and higher risk than necessary. Do you really want to pay for enterprise-class protection for a laptop, and worse, pay for professional services to go install and upgrade it? Of course not. But do you want your remote office servers backed up to a consumer-class cloud service? Definitely not, unless you can control it, encrypt it, and ensure recovery objectives can be met.
As we do in the data center, Hitachi Data Systems helps its customers understand the data protection and recovery service level requirements for each situation, and can help craft a coherent, consistent set of solutions to meet these challenges.
By “right-sizing” the solution for each office, you can also right-size the cost and return on investment (ROI). Isn't that what Business-Defined IT is all about?
Also, the data protection solution set for remote and branch offices is complementary to Hitachi’s leading offerings for highly secure and scalable content mobility. Check out www.hds.com/go/mobility to see all the new capabilities that HDS recently announced.
The contents of this blog are my own.