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Storage convergence includes backup, archiving, DR

There is some storage convergence among backup, archiving and disaster recovery, according to George Crump, president and founder of IT analyst firm Storage Switzerland.

Disaster recovery is becoming a feature of the backup product, rather than serving as a separate product requiring separate management. Data backup and disaster recovery integration is happening in several ways. For example, some modern data backup software products can manage data replication, according to Crump.

And instead of just doing backups and recoveries, a backup application should be able to help with some narrowing of recovery point objective and recovery time objective, Crump said.

Some backup tools also have the ability to do instant recoveries and could be used instead of replication, for example.
George CrumpPresident and founder of Storage Switzerland

The purposes of data backup and archiving are quite different, as are the demands each technology places on the storage system. But most data centers -- especially those in small to medium-sized organizations -- don't have formal archiving strategies, according to Crump, and given the capabilities of modern backup software and hardware, they may not need one.

The convergence of backup and archiving comes with benefits -- reduction in capital and operational costs as well as simplification of IT processes -- but also challenges, such as making sure that the software can perform the task and readability of the backup and the archive.

Learn more about storage convergence within backup, archiving and disaster recovery, as well as how the cloud fits into data protection, in this Tech Talk video.

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Transcript - Storage convergence includes backup, archiving, DR

Storage convergence: Backup, archiving and disaster recovery

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of a video clip from George Crump's Tech Talk discussion with Dave Raffo, senior news director for TechTarget's Storage Media Group. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Dave Raffo: Hello, my name is Dave Raffo. I'm the senior news director for TechTarget's Storage Media Group sites. Joining me today to discuss converged backup, archiving and DR is George Crump, president and founder of Storage Switzerland. Thanks for joining us today, George.

George Crump: Thanks for having me, Dave.

Dave: So how much do backup, archiving and DR overlap these days? Aren't they pretty much three separate functions now?

George: We are seeing some convergence in the different capabilities. For example, in backup, we're seeing it provide the ability to also perform an archive function. The indexes are getting richer. For some larger businesses, maybe not enterprises, but larger environments, for example, backup could be used for archive. Some backup tools also have the ability to do instant recoveries and could be used instead of replication, for example. So we are seeing some convergence. But in general, especially in the enterprise, there still should be separate components for each of those functions.

Dave: What is instant recovery, and is it a realistic objective?

George: Instant recovery is the ability to recover data directly from the backup storage device, typically a backup disk. … There are a number of positives.

The term instant is a little misleading, though, because instant, in the real world, means zero. I think in IT, it means 10 to 15 minutes. But that's a big gain versus where we were before. So for many environments, I think it's an excellent solution.

Dave: Where does the cloud fit into data protection? Is it more for archiving, DR or backup?

George: The cloud really plays a good and strong role in disaster recovery. It's ideal because you get a secondary site. It's generally several disaster recovery zones away and it really is tailor-made for that effort. Now, the bigger question to ask is, "Okay, if I use it for disaster recovery, how do I get my data back?"

Some cloud providers have come up with this feature called DR as a service, or DRaaS. And that really solves one problem in that now I don't have to transfer all my data back to start my recovery, which is great. Given an Internet connection, that could be a problem. You can start the virtual machines right in their cloud. And that’s great because you don’t have to do the transfer, but it does require that the IT professional ask new questions. That’s because we’ve always looked at cloud backup as a cloud storage provider, so there was a lower bar there. [The cloud was used for] a second copy, or maybe a third or fourth copy of data, and it wasn’t as critical that we had a constant connection.

If I switch to a compute relationship and you have now offered to run my applications, it's really important that you understand what the compute SLA (service-level agreement) is going to be. So, you need to ask the same questions of these guys that you would of an AWS (Amazon Web Services) or a Rackspace or anybody like that. It's a really critical question to understand as it relates to those guys.

Dave: Thanks, George. That wraps up today's Tech Talk on backup convergence, archiving and disaster recovery with George Crump. Thanks for joining us. I hope you found this informative.

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