Consider application-specific data protection

As organizations create more and more data, the challenge for administrators dealing with backup processes isn't limited to just the sheer volume of data, but in considering what the source of the data is, as well.

"From a design perspective, enterprise backup becomes this sort of a foundational component. But I don't think that it is the be-all, end-all of data protection," said George Crump, founder of Storage Switzerland. "I think that most data centers need some form of specialized protection in certain situations."

Crump compared the backup offerings of bigger vendors, like a supermarket, with lots of options and told his Storage Decisions audience that some backup tools will be appropriate for specific jobs.

"I look at application-specific backup as sort of a gap thing. In most cases, if you think about it, the enterprise backup application eventually catches up. The problem is you can't lose data while you're waiting for it to catch up."

He also pointed to the importance of archive applications, especially as data growth requires organizations to evaluate their backup strategies.

"We really can't keep buying more storage. So coming up with a way to manage this makes more sense," he said, later adding that the cost of powering and cooling disks gets expensive over periods of years. "They could give you the disk for free and it would still be really expensive."

Crump pointed to tape as a realistic option for backup and not just for data archives. "We're seeing a nice increase in tape. The industry has done some things to fix itself … and over the last three years, tape has proven itself more consistently reliable than hard drive," said Crump.

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