Information Technology (IT) is evolving. The way in which we consume it, what it’s expected to provide, the speed at which it operates, and how it’s organised, run and paid for, have all changed. Consumer-led expectations – and the desire to monetise mobile, social, cloud and big data capabilities – demand a rapid response and much higher levels of innovation from IT than ever before. Traditional IT is no longer an option, and this poses a challenge for many CIOs and CTOs.
Among these challenges is the rapid rate at which data is growing. Organisations are struggling with the sheer quantity of data – how to store it, manage it and protect it. They need to manage complexities caused by volumes of data in disparate locations, which impact the speed of their business because they are expected to be able to do more with less, while retaining management and control. Faster, more agile storage solutions are required to handle the incoming data. Businesses also need to consider their ability to support efficient and effective mobility, with its own set of data and data security challenges. Above all, the organisation needs to be able to show the value of the data they are gathering through analytics and insights gathered.
Historically, data management has typically been viewed as a security or insurance measure; something which only delivers value when there is a loss of data. However, modern data management methods are enabling organisations to “activate” their secondary, or backup, data to deliver real value – and with less effort than one would expect.
Data protection has come a long way, moving from simple backup and archiving to more robust functions, including deduplication, eDiscovery, filtering, searching and more. Many of these functions open up an organisation’s data copies for active use, allowing them to be accessed in order to provide benefits, rather than the storage of data simply being a cost centre until the data is needed.
Organisations should be partnering with a data management company who can offer a platform that does more – much more – than simply storing their data. These are some of the features that businesses should be demanding of their data management service provider:
Standards-based data services platform
Many data service providers elect to lock their customers in by using proprietary standards which make interoperability with other systems and software difficult. Data managers are required to constantly change configurations and data languages when data backed up, restored or requested, which invariably costs time and money. Data requisition becomes an onerous task in such environments. A more open platform is essential to the adoption of new technologies.
Legacy recovery is vastly complicated, laborious, and has multiple limitations. ‘Live’ functionality drastically changes the way we look at recovery. Recovery, or secondary, data should be immediately accessible in its native form, for use by anyone (with the right authorisation, of course) and from anywhere. There should be no need to rehydrate, reconstitute, or un-dedupe/encrypt the data upon retrieval.
This leads to significant business advantages as well, such as virtually no downtime or business disruption in case of data loss, reduced infrastructure costs by shrinking the number of secondary copies of data required for business operations, and improved storage efficiency through condensed data silos.
Real-time change capture
When backups are run once a day, as they are in many organisations, the potential data loss for an organisation when disaster strikes, is 24 hours. It’s a far greater loss for businesses who backup less regularly, such as those with large databases. Legacy backups typically demand large resources as well.
Choosing a data management platform which offers real-time change capture eliminates all of the burdens of legacy backup processes. Data can be captured and indexed as and when it is written, providing organisations with virtually no data loss and an infinite amount of restore points.
Extensible embedded analytics and visualisation
Data is considered today’s currency, and there are extensive insights that organisations can gain from leveraging analytics and visualisation; insights which aid in decision-making, market assessment and gathering customer information. Secondary data, which typically sits unused, makes for the perfect repository of information for analysis.
A data management platform which has this functionality embedded means that organisations need not purchase additional analytics products and services.
Secure universal access
Being able to securely access, modify, share and synchronise secondary data from anywhere, and in any format, can help organisations to save significant time accessing and locating critical information normally buried in separate silos. There is also no need to change user access behaviour to tap into both historical and production copies in a single view.
Cloud Ready Strategy
Cloud adoption is being prioritised by organisations everywhere. Those not already embarking on a cloud strategy, are in the process of exploring cloud’s potential. Data and workloads should be ready for the shift to cloud, and should be easily movable to the cloud, from the cloud and between cloud environments.
By Michiel von der Crone, CTO for EMEA at Commvault