Organizations are demanding higher levels of system and network availability, and cost effective business continuity. However, all this must be managed and maintained by a single department with one IT budget. This often leads to the creation of tensions between conflicting demands and priorities of production requirements where access and speed are desired qualities but must also provide resiliency and recovery. The main area of contention is the distinction between business continuity (BC), disaster recovery (DR), and backup and recovery (B&R), and how these share the budget to deliver what the end user wants, and minimize the impact of any loss of data or service. This report provides a side-by-side comparison of leading enterprise backup and recovery solutions, looking at the ability to deliver a holistic backup and recovery strategy. The results are delivered as the Ovum Decision Matrix (ODM), which considers the significance of all three aspects of a backup and recovery strategy and how these influence how technology is deployed, used, and controlled.
Backup and recovery are aspects of systems management that are typically forgotten about until they are needed. However, managing the production systems and the backup systems as a single entity has significant benefits, as well as significant challenges. Technology advances have created the position where providing the infrastructure to provide resiliency does not have to mean redundant and expensive capacity, and the systems can be used as part of an active backup plan. However, security remains a key issue with all aspects of data protection, and Ovum believes that this area represents the next wave of product innovations.
The terms continuous availability (CA), high availability (HA), fault tolerant (FT), BC, and DR have been used by the x86 virtualization vendors as potential added benefits from using the virtualization technology. Today there are many more products on the market offering solutions that address the issues surrounding the question of how to provide a differentiated level of service availability, based on business priority. The solutions nearly all operate across both the physical and virtual environments, but some newer vendors have specialized in virtual-only.
Ovum research (2013 Global enterprise infrastructure management survey, n=700) indicated that x86 virtualization accounted for approximately 50% of the x86 market. The survey also showed that its adoption was continuing to grow, with physical x86 deployments declining. This market shift introduces a dilemma for many CIOs regarding when to adopt a virtual first solution approach, and what to do with legacy physical environments. The issue is that many traditional availability backup and recovery solutions are not designed for virtualized environments, and lack some of the advanced features and capabilities of the virtual-only solutions. Cloud computing and the move to an as-a service delivery method is also beginning to create tensions and splits in organizations’ backup and recovery strategies, with questions being raised about location and latency.
The issue for CIOs is that these technologies need to be administered and configured correctly to provide solutions to the many different requirements for resiliency that organizations demand.