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Balancing agility and increased complexity for effective data management in the cloud

August 16, 2016 • Top Stories

Allen MitchellAsk any CIO today what their primary motivations are behind a move to the cloud, and increased agility is frequently in the top three. While cost savings still drive a significant proportion of cloud adoption, the flexibility to respond quickly and efficiently to business needs is a growing requirement.

However, with increased agility there often comes a corresponding increase in complexity, since cloud adoptions today are typically a combination of public and private offerings. This in turn increases the risk of losing data, for a number of reasons. It is essential for organisations to implement an effective data protection solution to handle this complexity while retaining agility. Cloud-based data management is the ideal solution, not only to achieve this balance, but also to extend existing data backup and recovery to include new and more complicated IT infrastructure and solutions.

As IT environments become more complex due to the combination of various different cloud technologies, the risk of lost data increases. Whether this loss is as a result of unplanned downtime or a disastrous natural or man made event, the end result is the same if it cannot be effectively recovered. Many businesses are simply unable to survive if they cannot recover their IT systems, which is typically the result of inadequate Disaster Recovery (DR) planning. It is essential for organisations to protect their data regardless of where it is stored, while maintaining the agility that was one of the drivers of the move toward the cloud in the first place.

However, despite the critical nature of effective data recovery, achieving this has never been more challenging. With services and solutions often farmed out to a variety of providers in different cloud configurations, organisations must manage a number of Service Level Agreements (SLAs). In addition, they must also deal with the fact that downtime could occur with any one of these providers at any time, for any number of reasons over which they have no control. Unplanned downtime can be immensely costly, even if no disaster occurs, and can result in lost data that amplifies the cost of these events several times over.

Traditional DR approaches typically involve a secondary data centre that mirrors the setup and configuration of the primary data centre. However, this is not only expensive and complex, it is simply no longer viable given the dynamic nature of the IT environment today. With more and more organisations moving applications into the cloud or replacing them with Software as a Service (SaaS), data management becomes increasingly complex as data is fragmented across various solutions. In addition, it is not feasible to recover data from the cloud to an on premises data centre, as this would be costly, time consuming and counterproductive. Furthermore, applications often cross over between the cloud and on-premise.

Addressing on-premise and cloud data separately is not the answer, as simply creating another silo for the cloud hampers agility. This complicated data ecosystem requires a new recovery strategy, or businesses risk leaving gaps that put their data and their applications at risk. A holistic, cloud-based data recovery and data protection solution enables organisations to easily manage data regardless of its location, from a single, centralised point of control. This not only preserves agility, but extends it to backup and recovery operations.

Cloud-based data backup and recovery enables organisations to automate the process from end to end, across different cloud service providers. Other advantages include the ability to automate recovery workflows in the cloud, turn data protection and recovery into an operational expense, and integrate data management across on premise as well as public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructures. In addition, organisations can easily move data between on-premise and cloud solutions, which prevents lock-in scenarios should a business wish to terminate a cloud service in the future.

With data management in the cloud, organisations can leverage the benefits of SaaS and cloud-based applications while ensuring that their information is protected in case of loss, and their disaster recovery planning is comprehensive for business continuity assurance.

By: Allen Mitchell, Cloud Consultant at Commvault Cloud Solutions Group EMEA

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