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What to know when considering a data protection plan

When considering a data protection plan, administrators need to understand if data needs to be backed up to disk or if it can be moved to an archive.

"Disk-only is kind of a fool's errand here. Multiple mediums exist with different price points," said Jon Toigo of Toigo Partners International. "Not all of your data needs to be replicated disk-to-disk."

Toigo noted that there are multiple storage types with different price performance characteristics -- including tape, which offers the lowest price per GB of any storage medium.

He said not all applications serve mission-critical functions for an organization, and applications can require expensive and technically complicated ways to mirror them. He also noted that using array controller-embedded replication can add cost to array products, and can become a form of vendor lock-in for customers.

"With a little data hygiene and a good archiving strategy, you can reclaim the capacity of 70% of every spindle you already own," Toigo said. "Think about how that would bend the cost curve of storage … and how that would pay for the appropriate mix of data protection technologies to protect the data you have."

Toigo said storage tiering and archiving could help reclaim space used by data that is not required on a day-to-day basis. He said a survey of 3,000 companies found only 30% of data stored on disk is needed for day-to-day activities. Another 40% of that data can be archived, while the remaining material is usually old or contraband data.

"You want to really breathe life into your data protection strategy? Take all of the data that doesn't change and make a tape backup," Toigo said.

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