LiteSpeed for SQL Server
Nine Steps to Building a Business Oriented Disaster Recovery Plan
Data Protection Beta Programs
Protect petabytes of data across diverse IT environments. Built-in scalability enables you to manage resources for a diverse and growing collection of physical and virtual platforms. Back up data to disk and tape or maximize storage efficiency with optional deduplication capabilities. By combining advanced functionality with exceptional ease of use, you get robust enterprise backup and recovery — not to mention reduced complexity.
Ensure continuous and integrated data protection for your organization’s most relied-upon applications. Dell data protection solutions offer deep application-level support for critical applications such as VMware, Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, Active Directory and Oracle.
How do fast-moving digital businesses keep up with their customers and still maintain adequate data protection?
Actually, some of them don’t.
Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett Licensed under CC BY 2.0
Sure, they keep up with their customers because that’s how they survive. But data protection has never been especially glamorous, and when you’re growing fast, it’s likely to fall to the bottom of your priority list.
In my previous post I described how IT trends in slow-growing companies sound the data protection wake-up call. In this post I look at trends at the other end of the spectrum: the ones that serve to remind fast-moving companies that there are always new sources of data to protect and new ways to protect it.
In the same way that digital business is being conducted in the cloud, it is also going to application programming interfaces (APIs) that move data like physical goods in a shipping container. The API in Product A ships a bit of data to an API that pulls it into Product B, which combines and operates on it, then generates a third set of data. Whether that data takes the form of a spreadsheet, a text file or an entire database table, it has its own, new value to the business. That means that it’s worth backing up.
Think about it in terms of an analytics package running on one database that you then connect with three, five or ten other databases. The result is a new set of data. All the records exist in their source databases, but at the point where they connect, you now have new data that is the analysis of multiple databases for a specific purpose.
Data like this will be the bread and butter of digital business. It will be annoying to have to regenerate it if it is lost, deleted or corrupted. But is the enterprise thinking about backing it up? Is it part of a data protection strategy yet? Not that I’ve seen.
Worse yet, the new data may be unstructured. If your thinking and your data protection assume structured data and databases, then as soon as analytics becomes popular for reporting and other purposes in your organization, you have to protect the resulting data differently from anything you’re currently protecting.
The Internet of Things is bringing us big data, and the Internet of Me is bringing us fast data.
The Internet of me, a term coined by Accenture, embodies user expectations about how they want to conduct business. The trend is toward an entire internet and digital environment that surrounds users, is all about them and answers their questions immediately. Here are a few use cases:
There’s no great need to back up and protect every byte that goes into and comes out of the Internet of Me, but it’s important to save the configuration data, settings and preferences on which the user experience depends.
Whether the data is big or fast or both, it needs protection. In Dell’s experience, few digital businesses have heard or responded to that wake-up call yet.
Businesses that move fast change their production models fast. We’ve published a white paper called “When You Make Changes in Production, Don’t Forget to Make Changes in Data Protection” that explores the IT trends shaping backup and the places your users and customers are generating new data. Read the paper for more ways you can keep up with them.
About Michael Grant
Michael Grant is the director of product marketing for Data Protection software solutions at Dell, where he helps oversee the strategy and delivery of a comprehensive portfolio of backup and recovery solutions.
View all posts by Michael Grant
So, what does a data protection wake-up call sound like?
Picking up from my previous post on trends like Bimodal IT, I want to focus on organizations that move slowly and take a long time to adapt to trends in IT. Even among digital businesses (in other words, almost every business in the 21st century), some organizations react more slowly to IT trends simply because they can afford to.
Photo Credit: m01229 Licensed under CC BY 2.0
Not every business wants to be the next Uber or Snapchat or Frogbox (check them out if you have to move kids into or out of a dorm). If you run IT in a lower-paced organization, the data protection wake-up call is not so loud and relentless as in a fast-moving company. You hear it, realize that your backups are safe, hit the Snooze button and drift off for a little while longer before you really need to get moving.
Still, even if you’re more accustomed to treading water than to swimming upstream, IT trends in data protection will find you eventually. They serve to remind you that there are always new kinds of data to protect and new ways to protect it.
What do you do when the software you’ve used and relied on for ages reaches end of life? You retire it, of course, because if you don’t, you run unnecessary security risks.
Take Windows Server 2003, for example. It had a very long life in a lot of data centers because it ran a variety of services so reliably. Microsoft EOLed it in 2015. Maybe you’re one of the holdouts who didn’t upgrade until support stopped. Maybe you’re still running it on four-year-old hardware not connected to the Internet. Good for you.
But if you built your data protection around Windows Server 2003 and other old products, that’s an indicator that your protection is outdated. What worked well for all those years won’t even come close to working well for the rest of your environment now.
Your data protection wake-up call: What has been EOLed? How have you been protecting it all this time? What was adequate data protection then, and what’s adequate now?
That’s related to another trend in companies where IT evolves slowly: maintaining the status quo. “Things being what they are, everything is going as well as possible,” goes the French saying.
Dell Software’s biggest competitor in data protection is the status quo. A lot of the people we talk to – including long-time customers who are very happy with Dell products – understand the importance of data recovery and high availability. But until they face a dire need to think differently about backup, they’d rather continue pumping money into extended support on the same products they’ve used for ages.
By embracing the status quo, they’re adding more layers to the encrusted infrastructure in their environment. They’re a long way from meeting their protection needs, but it’s been so long since they looked at their environment that they don’t realize it.
So even if your approach to IT is more like treading water than shooting the rapids, you’ll still be subject to IT trends and you’ll always need adequate data protection.
Every growing company makes changes in the way it produces goods and provides services. Those changes in production require changes in data protection, so we’ve put together a new white paper, “When You Make Changes in Production, Don’t Forget to Make Changes in Data Protection” around that fact of business life. Whatever the pace of growth in your IT environment, you’ll find ideas in the paper to help you hear the data protection wake-up call more clearly.
View all posts by Michael Grant |
Do you get much time to think about IT trends in data protection?
I suppose that’s like asking an individual foot soldier how the war is going, or asking a single honeybee if this is really the best place for the hive, or asking a single lemming where they’re all going.
Photo Credit: Ian Sane Licensed under CC BY 2.0
There really are IT trends at work and they really do affect you, but most of the IT managers and even directors I talk to tell me their teams are so busy and stressed out that they don’t get much time to think about them.
Just finding all the data they need to protect is a big task. Then they need to fit it onto the physical media and into the backup window available to them. And they have to negotiate with business managers about primary and secondary storage.
“Are you serious?” one customer asked me. “IT trends? Who has time to focus on trends when I spend all my time just keeping things running? You’re supposed to tell me about trends in data protection.”
All right. I will. Watch these next few blog posts as I describe what’s going on in IT as it relates to data protection.
The separate tracks of Bimodal IT may already be at work in your organization, even if you don’t think of them that way.
Gartner describes Bimodal IT as “the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery: one focused on stability and the other on agility.” Mode 1 is traditional IT, doing everything it takes to run IT safely and keep data flowing. Mode 2 includes the cool stuff: exploration, experimentation and agile development.
The objective of Mode 2 in Bimodal IT is to be the opposite of IT: working the way software developers work, getting your hands on pieces of new technology like Internet of Things or robotics, putting them into your environment and seeing under real-world conditions whether they meet your needs.
Best of all, you get to fail fast, which is a kind of Get Out of Jail Free card. You’re experimenting in a small way, so if the technology doesn't work, you give it back to the vendor, write off the cost and move on to the next thing. It’s the opposite of where you’ve been for your entire career in IT.
And it’s especially cool because the Mode 1 guys don’t get to fail at all.
Frankly, none of the customers I’ve talked to has put Bimodal IT completely in place yet. Maybe they have a smart utility player or a small group of people working on ad hoc projects, but Bimodal IT still has a long way to go to industry acceptance. Don’t feel alone if you’re still mulling it over.
Mode 2 is more appealing if you’re a sysadmin or IT manager, but you don’t get to try it until Mode 1 is under control.
Plus, you could spend a lot of time innovating, then find out you innovated in the wrong direction, like one of my university customers who started down the path of experimenting. “No matter what you say about the millennial crowd being digital natives,” he said, “as soon as they get on campus they start screwing up their own IT, then everybody else’s IT. They do things that no dorm room was ever designed to support. Then, at 9:00 at night, suddenly everybody is streaming movies, and three quarters of them are streaming wirelessly.” You’ve got to innovate far and fast to stay ahead of a user community like university students. And sometimes you just need fatter pipe more than you need innovation.
Prominent among the naysayers is analyst Jason Bloomberg, who considers Bimodal IT “Gartner’s recipe for disaster.” Traditional IT is worthy of innovation, he believes, and going Bimodal is like giving up on traditional IT just because innovation there seems hard to come by. Besides, it’s asking for a brain drain from the boring, eternal work of keeping data flowing smoothly to the whiz-bang frontiers of IT innovation.
Will Bimodal IT ever catch on? Maybe not. You can argue that it departs so far from traditional IT activity that nobody will take it seriously.
But to get back to data protection, if you decide to pursue separate tracks in Bimodal IT, you’ll find that all that innovative work being done in Mode 2 represents a change in production and another source of data to back up. You’ll want to protect the code being written and the results being generated so you can study them and move on to the next experiment as well informed as possible.
We’ve put together a new white paper called “When You Make Changes in Production, Don’t Forget to Make Changes in Data Protection.” In it, you’ll find more discussion about Bimodal IT and innovation, and the need to think differently about data protection whenever IT trends cause your production to change.
Is Bimodal IT in your organization? Is it reality? Do you think it’s a lot of hooey? Let me know in the comments below.