Backup Restore

Data protection storage and business value

George Crump posted an article over on Network Computing discussing why storage is different for data protection. He makes a number of points regarding the benefits of using a storage appliance approach versus a software-only model, and for the most part, I agree with his analysis. However, there is an important point missing.

The software-only model relies on a generic software stack that can use any hardware or storage platform. This extreme flexibility also creates extreme headaches. The software provider or ISV cannot certify every hardware and environment combination and so the customer is responsible for installing, qualifying and testing their system. Initial setup can be difficult, but support can be even harder.

What happens if the product is not performing? The support complexities become difficult. Do you call your software ISV, your storage vendor, your SAN provider, your HBA vendor? There are a myriad of different hardware pieces at play and the challenge becomes how to diagnose and resolve any product issues. This is less of a problem in small environments with simple needs, and rapidly becomes an issue as data sizes grow.

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Surviving A Down Economy – A vendor Perspective

The outlook on the economy continues to be less than stellar. The National Bureau of Economic Research formally declared that we are in a recession. Thanks guys for stating the obvious! Tough times create difficulties for everyone. We have already seen vendors including NetApp, Quantum and Copan announcing cutbacks. Sequoia Capital added to the bleak forecast with their gloomy outlook slide deck. The big question is what does this mean to technology vendors?

In these difficult times, companies must focus on their bottom line. Every technology purchase will be scrutinized and the payback must be clearly quantified. As I posted previously, ROI is vital.

The good news for data protection companies is that data volumes do not go down in a recession and retention times do not shorten. The current difficulties in the financial sector suggest that we may see even stricter regulations and longer retentions. Deduplication-enabled solutions can still thrive in this environment because they provide compelling value. They reduce backup administration time and cost  while dramatically lowering acquisition cost. However, remember that not all systems are alike and you must consider future performance and capacity requirements. Adding multiple independent systems will negatively impact ROI. The result is that scalable deduplication solutions like those sold by SEPATON can provide strong ROIs and thus can weather the storm of a tough economy better than other technologies with weaker value propositions.

Recently, an independent market research firm who reviews the purchasing trends of companies of all sizes told us that their research indicates that companies over-purchased primary storage in the first half of 2008 and that the outlook for this sector was gloomy. In contrast, deduplication technology was the one bright spot. So far our experience has suggested that their analysis is accurate.

A difficult economy is a test of everyone’s staying power. Companies are scrutinizing every purchase and focus only on those technologies that provide truly compelling value. Deduplication enabled solutions are fortunate because of the value they bring. This is not to say that these technologies are immune, but rather that they will fare better than most.

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Choosing a Data Protection Solution in a Down Economy

I hate to turn on the TV these days because it is full of bad news. There always seems to be some pundit talking about troubles in the housing market, credit markets, automotive industry, consumer confidence and so many other areas. It does not take a rocket scientist to recognize that the economy is in tough shape right now. As a reader of this blog, you are likely feeling some of the pain in your budget. This obviously brings up an important question: how do I justify IT purchases in these environments.

In situations like these, IT departments must go back to the basics. Purchases must be all about ROI. You must look beyond just acquisition cost and consider how a given solution can save your organization money both upon acquisition and into the future.