Fast restore key to high availability in the modern data centre

Mark Perry
Aptronics Business Development Director Mark Perry.

The key to maintaining availability for the modern data centre is not whether you’ve protected your data by backing up – it’s how well you can recover.

Everyone loses data, all the time. The MD unthinkingly deletes an important email, or a system administrator accidentally trashes an entire server in the middle of a long night shift, or a hard drive fails. What matters then is not just whether you’re backed up, but whether you can restore the lost data.

Clients have failed audits because their backup environment was not up to scratch: Auditors are very IT-literate these days, and are not prepared to take an IT manager or CIO’s word for it that systems are backed up. A lot of companies back up to tape with a retention period of 10 years – but a 10-year-old tape is very likely to fail. If the auditors ask for a restore and it doesn’t work, you have a problem.

Just as important as ensuring that data can be restored is ensuring it happens quickly. In an environment with a thousand or more users, finding a lost file or email message on tape could take months. That’s obviously not acceptable. In the always-on business era, if your restore takes longer than half an hour you have an unacceptably large availability gap.

The problem is worldwide. Veeam’s recent global Availability Survey showed that IT departments are missing the recovery time objective (RTO) their businesses demand for mission-critical data by more than an hour and are more than 2.5 hours away from the always-on standards set by modern availability solutions. Even more troubling, they are missing the required recovery point objective (RPO) –  how often data is backed up — by 1.5 hours. Overall they are 4.5 hours away from modern always-on standards.

Previously known for our prowess in bare metal backups and restore, we’ve become a leader in the virtualised data recovery environment winning several awards as a VMware partner. Our virtualisation expertise has contributed to our success with Veeam, which this month also earned Aptronics a ProPartner of the Year Award as Veeam’s Best Enterprise Partner in Gauteng in 2014.

We have a very large base of customers whose IT systems are largely or completely virtualised and both we and they have complete confidence in the Veeam Availability Suite. It can provide near-continuous data availability  with a recovery time and point objective (RTPO) of 15 minutes or less. It’s also simple to use – it just works.

We have made strategic investment in sales and technical training around Veeam products, leading to the company being named one of three Veeam Platinum Partners in South Africa.

The support Veeam offers is crucial to his business: The days are long gone when a company like ours could survive selling hardware alone. It’s important that we add value to our clients, which among other things means being able to provide excellent after-sales service and support. Veeam is an agile, responsive company – I can get attention from key decision makers 24/7 all the way up to the MD if necessary. That’s very important to me.

By Aptronics Business Development Director Mark Perry