Improving data backup and recovery was the second most commonly cited IT priority for 2015 among respondents surveyed by ESG for its 2015 IT spending intentions report (see Figure 1).
But as important as backup and recovery are, the survey tells another story, too. The most frequently mentioned priority was information security. What that finding implies (and reinforces from ESG’s earlier annual research) is that—even more important than production-centric improvements—the two most important initiatives among organizations both tie directly to protecting their data!
Backup continues to receive attention and investment for two big reasons:
- Business units’ reliance on data and IT systems continues to heighten. Downtime and data loss have become intolerable.
- Production platforms continue to diversify and evolve. Those advancements are causing data protection inadequacies, or even resulting in negative business impacts when IT tries to use legacy backup approaches on their modern IT platforms.
In response, organizations of all sizes have been looking for ways to increase the agility of their data protection infrastructures. For example, they often look to supplement backups with other data protection capabilities such as snapshots, replicas, and archives. Each data protection mechanism offers a different kind of agility to complement backups (see Figure 2).
Each color on this ESG Data Protection Spectrum complements — but does not replace — the others. In other words, each data protection mechanism offers a different kind of agility and/or recoverability.
And, just as certain colors in a rainbow may appear to be more vivid than others, the different colors of the spectrum may reflect a different level of prevalence. For example, backups may be applied across an entire IT infrastructure, but snapshots, replicas, or archives may only be applied across certain parts of the organization based on the relative business value of the data or on IT availability mandates.
Unfortunately, although that approach to data protection may be logical, some organizations still attempt to satisfy each spectrum activity using a disconnected technology, and that choice often results in significantly higher costs and complexity while failing to meet the business units’ needs for better, more comprehensive protection and recovery agility.
ESG recommends that organizations seek out integrated approaches to data protection—approaches that support multiple “colors” of the data protection spectrum under a single management/policy lens. It’s the best way to ensure one DP strategy is going to be able to reflect and refract all the business units’ recovery needs in a single prism.