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Using snapshot, replication for data protection

Generally, one way organizations try to improve their recovery point objectives is to reduce the interval of backups made from a storage system -- which creates more copies of data -- and in today's environment, it's easier to do, according to George Crump, founder of Storage Switzerland.

"And the good news is that the technology to do that is not only there, but pretty cost-effective," Crump told his Storage Decisions audience in discussing the importance of snapshot, replication and other data protection technologies.

Crump said block-level backups are usually very environment-specific and that there are few enterprise tools that broadly apply changed block tracking. But the tools that exist for virtualization-specific applications "are pretty good," he noted.

As for snapshots, Crump said that they need to be based upon a clean copy of data for them to have any value.

"What I tend to find in primary storage systems is they have snapshot capability, they just don't have any interface into the application … if you're going to count on snapshot capability from your primary storage device, make sure you investigate what that interface is," he said.

He also noted that there could be a "performance negative" with the implementation of a snapshot, if only briefly. "In most cases, you can get out in a few seconds, but you might not want to run it on payroll day," he said.

Crump also noted developments in the area of replication, including copy data management. He said it was "almost storage virtualization," in which writes are split and conducted in two different locations and snapshots of data are also created.

"I would certainly revisit replication as a data protection strategy if you've ruled it out in the past," said Crump.

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