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Legacy backup is dead, long live availability

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Backing up has become an archaic way of ensuring the continuity of an organisation. Instead, the Always-On business environment means companies have to embrace availability as a fundamental practice. So says Warren Olivier, regional manager for Southern Africa at Veeam.
“A recent Veeam Data Centre Availability report found that 16% of backups fail. In a fast-paced and connected environment, a legacy backup strategy is clearly no longer effective. The needs of the modern business are focused on providing employees with instant access to information. This means that the gap between the traditional way of restoring files and an Always-On environment needs to be bridged to ensure the business continuity of organisations.”
People use a variety of devices to access information irrespective of where they are, resulting in employee expectations changing in terms of data availability. Mobile apps and more refined data centres have created an environment where people are empowered with the tools and information they need in order to make faster and more informed decisions.
“As information workers and executives have gotten used to the idea of using apps for even business-critical functions, the resultant change has meant that these solutions now need to work for us. Apps have become the means to an end. Improved bandwidth means organisations of all sizes are benefitting from a mobile workforce who need real-time access to anything from sales figures and forecasts to trend reports,” says Olivier.
He believes that the move towards availability means that getting back up and running in the event of a disaster or failure has become a matter of minutes instead of hours or days.
“Cloud computing and virtualisation are elements that assist in driving this home. These contribute to the Always-On environment and one in which an employee can resume business as usual within 15 minutes of an issue occurring.”
Olivier says that the speed of business could result in attention being diverted from what is happening in the backup environment. Traditionally, backups operated in isolation of what the reality of the business. IT staff scheduled them to take place on certain days and at specified times. It was a ‘fire-and-forget’ approach. But even some of the problems associated to those methods of backups – such as failure, a lack of storage capacity, and not monitoring it effectively – can still happen today and remain invisible until a problem occurs.
“Rome could be burning and the backups would still happily be playing the fiddle. An Always-On world is much more cognisant of what is required from availability. It is acutely aware of the need for real-time access and mitigating environmental issues such as load shedding.”
This puts the onus on a company to work with a partner that understands connectivity, availability, and securing the data that is most important for business operations. Such an environment enables better capacity planning around infrastructure as well as give better tools to monitor and manage data.
“Availability is no longer a question of why it should be done. Instead, decision-makers need to make the leap and embrace it fully if they are to remain competitive in an Always-On environment,” concludes Olivier.