Backup strategies: Future directions

Backups can guard against data loss, support compliance and retention needs and protect the business from disaster. But good backups need much more than a new tape library or the latest software release. Backups need a clear plan that meets the objectives of your specific business. Backup windows and RPOs must be met, and the backups must be recoverable within established RTOs. To accomplish these objectives and others, storage administrators must develop and maintain a solid backup strategy that protects relevant data in a timely manner using the appropriate backup platform.

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Backup strategies -- Future directions

The future is always uncertain when it comes to technology, but analysts have noted some important trends to look for. The ultimate fate of CDP may be decided within the next two yearsas other technologies fight for attention in the data center. "I think within 12-18 months this whole notion of CDP could fall by the wayside," says Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at Storage IO Group. "It could be the 'perfect storm' where traditional...

backup, mirroring/replication and snapshots all come together and allow dynamic restoration with dynamic recovery point objectives."

Data deduplication -- also known as "commonality factoring," "single-instance storage" or "intelligent compression" -- is another important development that will influence backups and backup strategies into the future. Instead of backing up every copy of a file, only one iteration of the file is actually saved to disk media. Data deduplication is currently available but should move more into the mainstream. Reducing redundant copies of data can significantly shrink storage requirements. This lowers storage costs because fewer disks are needed, and shortens backup/recovery times since there can be far less data to transfer. "While software already is shipping that supports this technology, it is still maturing," says Jerome Wendt, independent storage analyst. "But users should look for major backup software products to announce adoption and support of this technology in the near future."

Analysts believe that backup strategies will move out of the enterprise and become increasingly important for smaller organizations. "It's no longer just about the enterprise," Schulz says. "The requirements of the enterprise will move down into the SMB [small and midsized business] and right down into the SOHO [small office/home office]." Looking further down the road, tomorrow's backup strategies will probably not be standalone schemes but exist as part of a broader data protection strategy involving concepts like security, privacy, business continuance and disaster planning. This means corporations must treat backups as more than just an IT function and learn to protect data as a business resource. Backup users must also work to lower costs and increase functionality -- often by implementing emerging technologies to achieve backup goals.

Go to the first part of this article: Introduction

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  • Introduction
  • Backup strategies: An overview
  • Backup strategies: Strengths and weaknesses
  • Backup strategies: The vendors
  • Backup strategies: User perspectives
  • Backup strategies: Future directions

  • Dig deeper on Disk-based backup

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