Data protection designed for the cloud era

1Executive Summary

While natural disasters account for most news headlines, they comprise only a small percentage of IT downtime. The majority of IT outages come from accidents, sabotage, and technical failures. Additionally, most data-loss events and outages are due to the failure of single hard-disk drives, machines, or servers.

These outages reinforce the critical importance of thorough disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) planning so an organization can rapidly recover from data-loss events and resume business operations as quickly as possible. Since the survival of a business depends on rapid BC, failure to develop a BC/DR plan can result in lost productivity, customers, and revenue as well as decreases in customer satisfaction, sales, reputation, and stock price.

This report examines the limitations of various cloud-based data-protection solutions in the market today and describes a best practice for enabling local area network (LAN)-powered and cloud-powered near-instantaneous BC by virtualizing the IT environment. Doing so creates both a local and a cloud copy of all applications and data, which allows employees to follow a data-loss event. It will illustrate for CIOs, IT decision-makers and managers, system administrators, and cloud service providers that:

  • Constantly evolving IT infrastructures require data-protection solutions with easy-to-use interfaces. At the same time, economic considerations require moving away from IT specialists to IT generalists, as well as a deliberate shift to cohesive solutions.
  • Following a disaster, the time to receive “thawed data” from a public-cloud provider, acquire new hardware, install operating systems and applications, restore files from portable storage media, and test to ensure everything works could spell the difference between an organization remaining competitive or going out of business following a disaster.
  • Many cloud-enabled solutions have been architected for enterprise data-protection environments as well as cloud-washed without any significant change to the underlying technology architecture or functionality.

Recently, some data-protection vendors have addressed the difference between data restore and data recovery to resume BC by introducing offerings that enable near-instant recovery.

Source: flickr user Diego Torres Silvestre

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Ashar Baig

Research Director Gigaom Research

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