The Business Challenge
Backup and archival storage continue to be key issues for companies of all sizes. The reasons for this are fairly simple: First, information growth continues to explode. In fact, many industry experts estimate information to be growing at 60% year over year for most businesses. Second, regulatory and legal issues are having an impact on how long information must be retained and resultantly, how it must be protected.
For many companies, customer relationships are driven almost exclusively by data. As competition increases, most companies respond by increasing their data intake in order to gather even more information regarding their customers and their businesses. Governmental regulations have caused data retention periods to lengthen. Retention of healthcare data is now considered to be necessary for the life of the patient and beyond. Personnel records tend to be kept for longer periods to support any employment disputes that can arise. Product design, manufacturing, and warranty records are kept to support any product liability issues, and the retention times are much longer now than ever.
Litigation has created the need to easily and quickly discover all of the critical business records to support the defense against any claim. Having a solid set of policies defining the retention of data is critically important in addition to the retention of data per those policies.
The IT Challenge
IT exists for the primary purpose of handling information in support of the business. The original intent of IT was to have a more cost effective and efficient organization dedicated to the storing, retrieving, moving and processing of information. Unfortunately, as IT became more efficient, the business demand for information increased exponentially. This has created a challenging environment where IT has struggled to keep up with the business demand for data protection.
This is especially true when discussing backups and the backup window. Inevitably, the discussions center around backups, not archives. Many IT departments treat backups and archives as one and the same. Understanding the differences is critical to understanding the challenge created by the business needs.
Backups are copies of active production information used when a problem arises within a production environment, and a recovery copy is needed to get the business up and running. Since backups are focused on constantly changing business information, a newer and known good copy is always preferred to an older copy, so backups are generally short-term and often overwritten.
Archives do not focus on “recovering” an application or business data, but allow for information retrieval — usually at the level of a file, e-mail, or other individual piece of data. Archives are not copies of production data, but rather the primary version of a piece of often inactive or non-changing data. In fact, when data stops changing or is no longer frequently used, it is often best to move it to an archive, where it lives outside the backup window, yet still accessible.
The overlying challenge, then, is to develop a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of the business and includes data backup, data recovery, and archives. So, how do IT departments develop a unified plan for backup, recovery, and archive? How do they implement cost-effective methods to deal with the requirements of the business?
The dcVAST Approach
The advantages of deploying an integrated and aligned backup, recovery and archival solution are significant, but accomplishing this is complex. dcVAST understands that there is no single solution to these challenges. That’s why we use a proven five-step approach to solving these kinds of problems for our customers.
Assess: Through the assessment process, dcVAST takes the time to understand actual usage trends, sources of growth, and rates of increase. dcVAST also takes the time to understand the needs of the business as it relates to long-term retention and archival of its digital information.
Design: This assessment results can then be used to create a forecast of future demand for the “right” archival needs. dcVAST architects have a broad range of technologies to choose from in order to deliver solutions based on industry best practices. .
Build: dcVAST Customer Engineers are available to implement the solution or to work with your personnel and assist in the implementation.
Support: dcVAST will support your personnel and all of the technologies involved in the backup and archival solutions. We will keep these solutions performing optimally.
Manage: dcVAST will fully manage the operation of your backup and archival infrastructure at your location or off-site based on your preference.
Now more than ever, companies need to take aggressive action to improve the reliability and reduce the cost of their archive operations, making sure the long term data retention requirements are achieved. dcVAST understands that backup and archive are two related, yet distinctly separate operations and will work with your organization to develop the right solution.