Answer

The impact of the 'third platform of IT' on backup processes

Will the "third platform of IT" kill traditional backup processes? If so, how and why will this happen? If not, why?

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I think that the answer to this question depends largely on how you define "the third platform of IT" and how you define "traditional backup processes.” Most people tend to define the third platform of IT as mobile computing, although some lump things like big data into the definition. For the purposes of answering this question however, I will stick to defining the third platform as mobility.

It is also necessary to consider the definition of traditional backup processes. This one is a little bit tougher to pin down. In the not too distant past, traditional backup processes referred to copying data to tape on a nightly basis. Today, traditional backup commonly refers to continuous data protection (CDP) solutions.

The reason why these definitions are important is because there has been a long history of evolution, both in IT and in the realm of backup processes. IT was once based around the use of mainframes, but eventually PCs took over (although mainframes never completely went away). The point is that past evolutions in IT have never "killed traditional backup.” They have merely forced changes in the backup methodology.

Transitioning to mobile solutions in a post-PC era will not eliminate the need for backups. Such devices decentralize access to data, but the data itself still resides somewhere and must be protected.

If the data resides in the corporate datacenter, then backups will likely be performed in a manner similar to "traditional backups." If the data resides in a public cloud, there will still be a need for data protection because many cloud providers do not perform backups on the customer's behalf.

In these types of situations, backups are likely to be based on inter-cloud replication. In other words, backups are not going to go away. It's just that the way in which backups are performed will likely change.

This was first published in June 2014

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