Category Archives: data backup

Verizon Enterprise launch cloud backup product with Actifio

cloud puzzleVerizon Enterprise Solutions has launched a new cloud backup service alongside Actifio, aimed at accelerating application development, and improving business resiliency.

The new offering, which will be available to customers using a virtualized environment, to create unified hybrid cloud environment with the aim of making data easier to manage, access and protect. The product will be available for customers in North America in June, and other regions towards the end of the year.

“The complexity of legacy infrastructure limits the ability of many enterprises to innovate around their data,” said Dan Jablonski, Director of Cloud and IT solutions, Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “We chose Actifio’s class-leading copy data virtualisation technology to power this new offering because it means we can now offer customers a simple, single solution to protect, move and store data in our cloud. Together with Actifio, we’re helping clients to be more agile so they can deliver better experiences to their own customers.”

The new offering is built on Actifio’s technology, which it claims will allow customers to move data back and forth between the customer premise and Verizon’s cloud-based infrastructure, allows self-serve instant access to data to improve speed of deployment and improve resiliency and availability by protecting data across the full range of conventional protection use cases.

“Data is the lifeblood of business, and it’s essential to have access to the data and applications you need when and where you need them,” said Ash Ashutosh, CEO of Actifio. “This next step in our relationship with Verizon will enable us to provide exactly that to more customers around the world, more easily and efficiently than ever before. We are thrilled to take this step forward with what is becoming one of our most important and valued cloud service provider partnerships.”

EMC outlines ‘Technical Debt’ challenges for data greedy enterprises

Jeremy and Guy on stage day 2

President of Core Technologies Division Guy Churchward (Left) and Jeremy Burton, President of Products and Marketing (Right) at EMC World 2016

Speaking at EMC World, President of Core Technologies Division at EMC Guy Churchward joined Jeremy Burton, President of Products and Marketing, to outline one of the industry’s primary challenges, technical debt.

The idea of technical debt is being felt by the new waves of IT professionals. This new generation is currently feeling the pressure from most areas of the business to innovate, to create an agile, digitally enabled business, but still have commitments to traditional IT systems on which the business currently operates on. The commitment to legacy technologies, which could represent a significant proportion of a company’s IT budget and prevents future innovation, is what Churchward describes as the technical debt.

“They know their business is transforming fast,” said Churchward. “Business has to use IT to make their organization a force to be reckoned with and remain competitive in the market, but all the money is taken up by the current IT systems. This is what we call technical debt. A lot of people have to do more with what they have and create innovation with a very limited budget. This is the first challenge for every organization.”

This technical debt is described by Churchward as the first challenge which every IT department will face when driving towards the modern data centre. It makes business clunky and ineffective, but is a necessity to ensure the organization continues to operate, until the infrastructure can be upgraded to a modern proposition. Finding the budget without compromising current operations can be a tricky proposition.

“When you live in an older house, where the layout doesn’t really work for the way you live your life and there aren’t enough closets to satiate your wife’s shoe fetish, maybe it’s time to modernize,” said Churchward on his blog. “But do you knock the whole house down and start again? Maybe it’s tempting but, what about the investment that you’ve already made in your home? It’s similar when you want to modernize your IT infrastructure. You have money sunk into your existing technology and you don’t want to face the disruption of completely starting again

MainOne datacentre 1“For many companies, this debt includes a strategy for data storage that takes advantage of a shrinking per-gig cost of storage that enables them to keep everything. And that data is probably stored primarily on spinning disk with some high-availability workloads on flash in their primary data centre. The old way of doing things was to see volumes of data growing and address that on a point basis with more spinning disk. Data centres are bursting at the seams and it’s now time to modernize – but how?”

Churchward highlighted the first-step is to remove duplicate data sets – EMC launched its Enterprise Copy Data Management tool at EMC World this week – to reduce unnecessary spend within the data centres. While there are a number of reasons to duplicate and keep old data sets for a defined period of time, Churchward commented this data can often be forgotten and thus becomes an expense which can be unnecessary. Although the identification and removal of this data might be considered a simple solution to removing a portion of the technical debt, Churchward believes it could be a $50 billion business problem by 2018.

The Enterprise Copy Data Management software helps customers discover, automate and optimize copy data to reduce costs and streamline operations. The tool automatically identifies duplicate data sets within various data centres, and using data-driven decision making software, optimizes the storage plans, and in the necessary cases, deletes duplicate data sets.

This is just one example of how the challenge of technical debt can be managed, though the team at EMC believe this challenge, the first in a series when transforming to a modern business, can be one of the largest. Whether this is one of the reasons cloud adoption within the mainstream market cloud be slower than anticipated remains to be seen, though the removal of redundant and/or duplicated data could provide some breathing room for innovation and budget for the journey towards the modern data centre.

Data, data, data. The importance of backing up data

Cloud datacentreMore often than not when browsing the internet each morning you’ll soon discover that in fact, this morning is “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, or “Hug a Vegetarian Day”, or something equally humorous. Today is an awareness day which, conversely, holds some use to the world on the whole.

World Backup Day encourages consumers to back up their family photos, home videos, documents and emails, on more than one device. The World Backup Day website lists numerous ways in which a consumer’s data or documents can be lost, however this day is also very applicable to the world of enterprise IT.

“The rapid increase in the amount of data that consumers and organisations store is one of the biggest challenges facing the backup industry,” says Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace. “Organisations aren’t always sure what data they should be keeping, so to make sure they don’t discard any important data they sometimes end up keeping everything which adds to this swell of data.

“For many companies, a simple backup tool is no longer enough to make sure all these company assets are safe and available, they need support in keeping up with the sheer scale of data and to fix problems when a valuable file or database goes missing.”

The volume of data being utilized (and in some cases not utilized) has grown astronomically, but to a certain degree, security and employee behaviour has not kept pace with this growth. Cyber criminals always seem to be one step ahead of ahead of enterprise when attempting to access data, but what is more worrying is the trend of employee indifference to IT security.

A recent survey highlighted employee negligence and indifference to IT policy is one of the most significant inhibitors to cloud security with only 35% of respondents highlighting that they use passwords in work.

Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace

Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace

“Over recent years, organisations have become far more aware of the importance of backing up their data and we’ve noticed the impact here at Rackspace, where currently we backup 120 PB per month globally,” adds Fox. “One of the main challenges for us is that businesses don’t just want to back-up more data than ever before, they want it to be done quicker than ever before.

“Also, the process of doing so has become more complex than it used to be because companies are more conscious than ever of the compliance regulations they have to adhere to. Fortunately, with the development of deduplication techniques, we are now able to back-up unique sections of data rather than duplicating large pools continuously, which has sped-up the backing-up process.”

Outside of employee indifference to cloud security, changes to EU-US data protection policy have highlighted the significance of data-backup and prevention of data loss. An instance of data loss could be crippling for an organization, whether it is financial penalties or the loss of information which could prove to be invaluable in the future.

“Initiatives like World Backup Day are a great way of highlighting the importance of backing up in an age where, as Ann Winbald put it, ‘data is the new oil’,” comments Fox.

In a world where data can be seen as one of the most important commodities to any business, the value of securing, backing up and encrypting data cannot be underplayed. That said, the majority of the working world (outside of the IT department), do not appreciate the value of security, mostly not out of malice, more because they don’t know any better.

“In the post-Edward Snowden era we’re also seeing just how seriously companies are thinking about encryption. Many companies now want to make sure their backed up data is no longer just encrypted when it goes outside the four walls of a data centre, but inside it as well,” says Fox.

Cloud-based data backup solutions increasing in popularity – survey

Cloud data sharing conceptResearch from Kroll Ontrack has stated cloud-back backup solutions are increasing in popularity, though hardware based options still account for the majority.

The survey, which was only open to participants who have experienced loss of valuable data, highlighted 51% of respondents are still using hardware based options, though this figure is down from 68% in 2015. Cloud-based solutions are currently being considered by 23%, an increase from 18% over the last 12 months.

What could cause concern within the industry is that in instance of data loss, 86% of the respondents said they did have a backup in place, and 48% highlighted they backup the data on a daily basis. If these statistics are to be believed, why is data being lost on such a regular basis? 22% stated the backup was not operating correctly, 21% said the device was not included in backup procedures and 21% commented the backup was out of date.

“It’s no longer enough to have a backup solution where you just hope for the best,” said Robin England, Senior Research & Development Engineer, Kroll Ontrack. “As our survey results indicate year after year, conducting backups is just one step in an overall backup strategy.”

While security and data protection appears to be at the top of the agenda for most organizations, it would appear human indifference and negligence, as well as a shortage of resource are not backing up company claims. A number of organizations have cited recently one of the main challenges for enterprise organizations is the relaxed approach to security demonstrated by its employees.

The statistics also back this point up as 54% of respondents highlighted they did not have the time to effectively research and administer an effective backup solution. While the time factor is a significant barrier here, 24% of respondents said the cost was prohibitive which is down from 31% in 2015. When combined with the statistic that the number of respondents who do daily backups increased by six percentage points over the same period, the findings could imply that enterprise organizations are taking the process of data backup more seriously.

“Storage devices pack more and more data into smaller and more complex systems,” said England. “This not only requires IT teams to dedicate significant time to actually back up the data, but requires even more time to verify the backups worked properly. IT teams face a challenging balancing act when ensuring all of this is managed effectively.”

While the statistics are encouraging, it would still appear that human error and a lack of centralized oversight are the underlying causes for data loss.