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How Enterprises Are Managing Big Data Backups and Recovery

The more data you have, the larger your data backup and recovery concerns. How are large enterprises meeting these challenges?

In its fourth annual survey, Sepaton asked 93 IT professionals in North America and Europe about their data protection issues and concerns as well as their expectations about future big data backups.

According to the company, nearly half (47 percent) are replicating over 50 percent of their data to remote recovery sites. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 23 percent of data centers “are still replicating less than 10 percent of their data to a disaster recovery site.”

We’re talking big data here -- 55 percent of respondents had backup volumes with more than 50 TB of data (that includes 14 percent with backups of over 1 PB of data).

Sepaton says that “21 percent have an active-active remote replication strategy in place" (meaning that they “back up and replicate full data sets using fully configured systems at both local and remote sites”), and 41 percent have an active-passive replication strategy (they back up to a fully configured system in a main data center and replicate to a ‘passive’ system(s) in a remote site”). “This result is noteworthy,” the company pointed out in a prepared statement, “given that large enterprises have historically moved large data volumes by shipping physical tapes off-site.”

Those physical tapes haven’t disappeared: 18 percent of large enterprise backup environments still copy their data to physical tapes that are stored off site. Of course, that’s better than the 14 percent of respondents who say their enterprise is still working on creating their disaster recovery strategy or the 3 percent with no data recovery strategy whatsoever.

Even those with DR plans may find their plans aren’t adequate. According to the survey, “11 percent of data in main data centers is currently not backed up or protected.” In fairness, that may be OK -- if the data not backed up includes multimedia files downloaded by employees against company policy.

The picture is brighter for remote offices. In last year’s study, more than a third of remote-office data wasn’t protected. This year, that figure is down to 15 percent.

Half of respondents feel “the remote office data is adequately protected in the event of site-wide disaster” (which is up from 30 percent in last year’s survey), and 60 percent of respondents rated “improving remote office data protection” as critical or of moderate priority for data protection in the next year.

The survey included respondents from several vertical industries, including 23 percent from government, 14 percent from financial services, 13 percent from health care, and 12 percent from manufacturing.

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted on 08/30/2012

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