Backup is Broken – Enterprises Need Availability Instead

Backup is Broken – Enterprises Need Availability Instead

The problem is that CIOs are trying to leverage traditional backup to provide availability, and that’s an impossible task.

Peter Ruchatz is CMO of Veeam.

Backup is broken. Anyone who has had to work with enterprise backup knows this to be the case. Gartner, in fact, published a report six years ago titled, “Best Practices for Addressing the Broken State of Backup.” One would think that, given how awful the state of backup was in 2010, the situation would have improved by now. But, unfortunately, the broken state of backup is actually getting worse, not better.

For example, a global survey of CIOs and IT pros in 2015 showed that, on average, an organization experienced 15 unplanned downtime events that year. This compares to the average of 13 reported in 2014. In addition, unplanned mission-critical application downtime length grew 36 percent from 1.4 hours to 1.9 hours year over year, and non-mission-critical application downtime length grew 45 percent from 4 hours to 5.8 hours. These outages cost the average organization $16 million a year, up 60 percent over 2014.

The central problem is that backup cannot provide what organizations really need: availability. After all, when a mission-critical application is down or the file server has crashed beyond repair, it’s cold comfort to have a backup of the data somewhere across town on a tape in an underground vault. The enterprise is undergoing a digital transformation in which executives, employees, customers and partners expect to have 24/7/365 access to data.

Downtime is unacceptable, and the pressure to enable a truly always-on business is growing daily. However, CIOs are far from meeting expectations around data availability, a fact of which they are are painfully aware: 84 percent acknowledged they currently have an availability gap, which is defined as the gap between the constant access users demand what IT departments actually deliver. Also, most organizations (96 percent) have increased their service-level requirements to minimize application downtime over the past two years. Alas, the availability gap still remains.

How far away are organizations from delivering availability? According to the survey, service-level agreements (SLAs) around recovery time objectives (RTOs) are set on average at 1.6 hours, which, to be frank, is far too long for a critical application to be down. But organizations aren’t even meeting this standard. Their average recovery is three hours, nearly double their average SLA. Similarly, the average SLA for recovery point objectives (RPOs) is 2.9 hours, whereas 4.2 hours is what’s being delivered, on average.

Users want support for real-time operations (63 percent) and 24/7 global access to IT services to support international business (59 percent). But availability requires far more than creating a backup of the data every night. It requires backing up throughout the day every 15 minutes without affecting the performance of the production environment. Each of these backups need to be tested to ensure that they will restore properly, and then IT needs to be able to recover within 15 minutes if an application goes down or data is lost.

Again, CIOs are aware of the challenge ahead of them. When modernizing their data centers, CIOs cite high-speed recovery (59 percent) and data loss avoidance (57 percent) as the two most sought-after capabilities, but they say that high costs and insufficiently skilled personnel are inhibiting deployment. The problem is that CIOs are trying to leverage traditional backup to provide availability, and that’s an impossible task. Instead, IT organizations need to look beyond backup as they modernize their data centers and exploit the combined power of modern technologies like cloud, virtualization and advanced storage to achieve true availability.

CIOs don’t need to wait for a future solution to realize the always-on business. The solution is already here, so long as they leverage the right mix of advanced technologies to achieve it.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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