How to modernise data backup with next-gen object store

By : |September 24, 2019 0

Complete data protection is the endeavour of every enterprise. As enterprises focus on modernising IT infrastructure, they often forget to transform the fundamental step to data protection—data backup. Until now, these enterprises have relied on traditional backup systems to retain information in physical and digital stores to counter data loss, corruption, and theft.

However, with the advent of digital channels and next-gen devices, enterprises need to retain and process information from more than one source. While some continue to use tape, others have embraced the cloud. Advances in technology have created a new array of solutions that optimise traditional backup, and, in some cases, prevent the need for backup. As new data solutions storm through the IT landscape, let’s explore what’s becoming redundant and what’s enhancing value in the backup.

Moving out of tape media

Many large enterprises, such as banks, continue to use tape to store data. This technology costs US$ 8662 per minute of downtime and entails tremendous manual effort and specific temperatures to minimise moulds. It is not compatible with today’s landscape that is characterised by new IoT-driven workloads, cloud-based IT infrastructure, and cost-driven IT priorities.

Also, in a world that is increasingly contained by regulations and audits, tape technology poses compliance challenges that enterprises find hard to address. Given that tape technology cannot be deduplicated or compressed, the relevance and value of this technology is no longer clear.

Taking backup beyond the cloud

On an average, enterprises spend US$ 5 million due to ransomware attacks. As the cloud becomes all-pervading, enterprises often backup comprehensive data stores to the cloud via service providers. While cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services offer reliable solutions for backup, they are not problem-free.

Given that cloud-based apps like e-mails account for 92 percent of malware, enterprises must think twice about putting personal information in the hands of cloud service providers.2 These providers also do not assist with de-duplication and compression of data, which means enterprises cannot optimise mammoth data stores.

Also, partnering with a single, cloud service provider restricts enterprises’ capability to shift to a better alternative. Thus, while the cloud is a good channel for backup, it is not the entire solution.

Choosing an object store for tomorrow

As you move out of tape and into cloud storage, I recommend that you give object-based storage a try. An object store is a data storage paradigm that saves data as discrete units called objects. An object store acts as a broker in the IT setup of an enterprise. It manages data backups across both on-premise storage and cloud service providers. By storing data that needs short-term storage on-premise and archiving long-term data storage to the cloud, the object store can act as an intelligent data manager.

It also helps enterprises to accelerate cloud adoption by optimising workloads to the cloud and enabling multi-cloud agility. What’s more, the object store also works with different sources, including backup servers, governance applications, user file shares, analytics, and more.

At this juncture, it is important to note that a cloud object store platform also removes the need to back up certain types of data like user files. That’s because object storage breaks up information into small components and copies them across multiple drives through erasure coding. So, if one drive goes down, information can be retrieved from other drives.

A case in point

The onset of 4G telecom and digitisation has meant that the telecommunication industry receives tons of unstructured data in the form of call detail records, voice calls, and scanned files. These humungous stores of data when stored in tape libraries results in slow data backup and recovery processes. In order to ensure business continuity and safeguard data repositories, telecom enterprises need an object store solution.

An object store solution replaces the existing tape library and accelerates the archival of unstructured data. It also comes with an easy user interface to ensure faster and easier adoption of the new solution.

This has the potential to improve the efficiency of backup and recovery by over 30 percent for telecommunication companies. It eliminates the time and effort needed for big data backup. In addition to ensuring greater business continuity, enterprises can also save money by minimising costs of tape libraries and staff overtime. For instance, a telecom company managed to save close to a million dollars over three years.

As CxOs mull over object stores, I would like to point out that these can be configured to do more than data backup and protection. A built-in intelligence layer can fuel app development, operations, and governance. This solution can also be scaled into a platform for content distribution, processing of IoT and sensor data, metadata enrichment, big data management, and more.

Thus, without a modern approach to data backup and recovery, innovation and sustainability for an enterprise are out of question. New trends in backup also imply that a combination of cloud and on-premise storage can work best for some data types. For other data types, object store removes the need for backup.

CxOs need to assess data types and sources before investing in the right data retention strategy. By making object stores an integral component of data backup, retrieval, and protection; enterprises can ensure that the foundations of their data management paradigms are strong, secure, and scalable.

By Mathew Hardman, Director, Data Intelligence, Asia Pacific, Hitachi Vantara

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