Looking back on 2008, data protection/data backup saw several noteworthy trends. The factors that elevated some technologies over others were driven by a tenuous business climate and initiatives that focused on efficiency, cost savings and environmental sustainability. Some of the issues IT organizations faced, not surprisingly, included:
- Data growth. Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) estimates annual data growth at 50% to 60% per year for many organizations. Collaboration, the use of messaging systems and copies made for data protection all contributed to organizations' capacity glut. The inability to keep pace with data growth added pressure on already-strained backup windows and/or recovery objectives.
- Volatility in global capital markets. ESG surveyed North American medium-sized businesses regarding the factors perceived as having the greatest influence on spending over the next 24 months and "internal pressure to reduce overall costs of doing business" ranked second in factors impacting IT infrastructure decisions. IT organizations, accordingly, were faced with reprioritizing and postponing projects, reducing capital and operational budgets, and oftentimes working with less staff to get it all done.
- Green data storage initiatives. Social responsibility has been less of a driver than the power, cooling and space efficiency challenges forcing "green" initiatives in companies of all sizes. These initiatives aim to reduce costs, improve the environment and create new business opportunities by eliminating waste, conserving energy, reducing carbon footprints, and taking new approaches to the development and marketing of products and services -- often relying heavily on IT to help meet goals.
- Compliance and litigation support. Compliance has become a business imperative for most organizations because failure to meet regulatory or governance requirements can lead to severe penalties, legal sanctions or damage to a company's reputation. Organizations have been challenged to develop standard operating procedures that include comprehensive electronic records management programs and information privacy practices, in addition to preparing for audits to prove compliance.
- Risk mitigation. ESG research found that IT spending will be closely aligned with initiatives that support or protect the business. In addition to improving backup and recovery, survey respondents indicated that their top three IT spending priorities will focus on improving business processes, decreasing costs and bolstering security controls in an effort to reduce risk.
- Dynamic and complex IT environments. Organizations have been undergoing dramatic changes and nowhere is that more evident than in IT. In an effort to expand globally, maintain competitiveness and increase revenues, organizations have adopted new technologies to improve IT infrastructure. Therefore, IT is challenged to not only maintain the status quo, but to continually refresh and improve technology infrastructure investments.
In the next part of our two-part series on the future of data protection and backup, we'll look at the biggest backup trends of 2008 and the future of backup and recovery.
About the author:
Lauren Whitehouse is an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group covering data protection technologies. Lauren is a 20-plus-year veteran in the software industry, formerly serving in marketing and software development roles.