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How will the disaster recovery model evolve over the next five years?

There's a lot more going on in the backup and disaster recovery market than just a shift to the cloud. Technologies have to improve as organizations seek to recover quicker.

In the last five years, we've moved from a disaster recovery model, couched in terms of tape, to one centered on the cloud. This radical shift of emphasis affects not only the tape industry, but puts pressure on vendors and backup app creators to evolve in sync with the move to the cloud.

This transition is not complete, so tape is not dead -- yet. But the DR/backup market is something of a mess, with many vendors vying for a piece of the pie.

At the same time, the threats we are protecting against with DR continue to change. Ransomware is becoming more sophisticated, and the ability to attack backup images is on the horizon. Endpoint backup is by no means ubiquitous, which creates a large attack surface that grows exponentially as mobile devices increasingly become the tools of daily corporate life.

So what can we expect to happen to the disaster recovery model in the next half decade?

Vendor consolidation will reduce backup app choices and bring the disaster recovery model into focus. The major players will selectively acquire technology, while smaller companies will struggle for identity and, ultimately, survival.

Ransomware will be attacked on several fronts.

  • Detection will improve, both in blocking the ransomware code from entering a system and in detecting it in the early stages of data corruption (canary programs).
  • The attack surface for ransomware will be reduced by automated tools that tighten access to storage and limit access windows.
  • Endpoint backup with near-continuous operation will become the norm for backup approaches. Coupled with detection tools that identify the corrupted nodes, recovery will be targeted and quick.
  • The top vendors will provide vulnerability assessment tools to determine if a data center or corporate entity is adequately guarded.

A cloud-based backup and disaster recovery model will become the standard for all data centers, given the need for rapid recovery from viruses, system failures or ransomware. Specifically:

  • Disk-based or SSD-based backup will be the norm, even in the cloud, due to the need for rapid access to selected portions of the total backup image.
  • Storage pools for cloud DR models will be isolated via backup tools from the general storage pool.
  • Public cloud backup will be the norm, putting pressure on administrators to keep primary copies of data in the public cloud.

Software-defined storage approaches will see extended metadata tagging, which will move DR/backup/end-of-life erasure to a data-driven model, rather than the current, very limited controls.

Next Steps

Try integrating backup and DR processes

Data protection measures can help fight ransomware

Plan your cloud disaster recovery strategy

This was last published in February 2017

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