Charles Clarke, technical director for Asia-Pacific at Veeam Software
CIO chats with Charles Clarke, technical director for Asia-Pacific at Veeam Software, about the transformative nature of virtualisation and cloud solutions on business continuity planning in the enterprise.
What impact has rapid virtualisation across the data centre had on backup and business continuity planning (BCP) across the enterprise?
Virtualisation has made BCP a more complex task. Virtual environments by their very nature are dynamic, in many cases sprawling, often provisioned and de-provisioned on demand. These factors create unique management challenges, especially in data protection, and raise questions around identifying protected assets accurately, guaranteeing new services and virtual machines are automatically protected and ensuring the most important thing of all: Reliable, rapid recovery.
Of course, all these challenges are married to amazing opportunities to achieve incredible recovery point and time objectives leveraging the power of the virtual platform and tools built for virtualisation, without massive outlay for redundant servers.
Although backup and BCP is a more complex and daunting task, the right virtualisation tools and platform can unlock business continuity outcomes that were prohibitively expensive before. We have seen our customers drive recovery time objectives down from days to minutes for critical services, all driven by a virtualisation approach. One customer recovered a 7 terabyte file server in around three minutes, dramatically reducing the cost associated with that server's downtime.
How is cloud-based IT affecting how CIOs look at business continuity and backup?
If you are already virtualised, then you are on the road to the cloud. While backup and business continuity is definitely a hot topic, it is yet to come to full maturity - at least as far as protecting local data to the public cloud is concerned. A rule of thumb we often discuss is the 3-2-1 rule; three copies of production data, in two different locations, one of which should be offsite.
The public cloud represents an opportunity to store data offsite that in some respects is superior to traditional methods like tape or rotating disk drives. With a cloud-based solution, the capital outlay is low or zero and you only pay for what you use. It is important to note data retrieval can be a more expensive process, not to mention bandwidth and infrastructure requirements, so I would encourage any CIO to investigate the economic feasibility of cloud-based backup. It will be appropriate for some data sets, but not necessarily all of them.
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