Since our beginnings at ClearSky, our primary storage service has included data protection as an integral component of the service. We firmly believe that backup should not be an add-on and that simplicity is essential. After all, no responsible organization deploys storage without protecting it, so why should enterprise IT be required to bolt on additional systems, adding to complexity and cost.
We believe that enterprise IT needs to achieve backup independence, so they can stop spending so much time and money managing data protection and operating a secondary disaster recovery (DR) data center. To do this for our customers, we need to meet three vital objectives:
- Backup and replication for disaster recovery need to happen automatically, with nearly continuous backups occurring throughout the day and without slowing down the production environment;
- The service has to deliver zero RPO and nearly zero RTO;
- Backup and DR must be invisible to enterprise IT operations until data recovery is required.
Traditional backup: Expensive, complex and roundly disliked
Backup independence is still a new concept to many in the tech industry. Most IT administrators still view data backup as an extra form of insurance they have to buy on top of their on-prem storage systems. And by and large, no one loves their backup system, because no one likes paying for something that returns no immediate value. Everyone hopes they’ll never need to use their expensive backup and disaster recovery systems.
And they are expensive. According to a recent “State of IT” report from Spiceworks, businesses spend, on average, eight percent of their entire software budget on backup systems. That’s more than what businesses spend on IT management software (six percent) and just less than what they spend on all productivity software (10 percent). An even more impressive 15 percent of the hosted or cloud services budget goes to data backup.
Not only is the traditional add-on model for data protection expensive, all too often, it’s not very effective. Too many businesses are backing up with a recovery point objective (RPO) that’s often measured in hours and approaching a full day, leaving valuable data completely exposed to loss. Every single minute of unplanned data center downtime costs about $17,000, according to a 2016 study from the Ponemon Institute, and that is simply the time to recovery of operations. It doesn’t account for the cost of losing data created since the last backup.
Achieving as close to a zero RPO as possible causes the cost of an add-on backup and recovery system to skyrocket. Continuous data protection (CDP) systems are very expensive, and it can take a long time to recover data. One could also leverage SAN storage snapshots to protect data throughout the day, but if the SAN is destroyed, the snapshots are useless.
Self-protecting storage frees enterprise IT from these concerns, because backup and DR happen automatically and recovery is nearly instantaneous. This is backup independence.
Achieving backup independence
Here’s how self-protecting storage works in our service. It starts with storing our customers’ data in multiple places: different locations within the cloud, a nearby metro POP and in local caches. We automatically move hot data where it is needed, whether in a cache on-prem or in the cloud, plus we also cache data in a metro POP within 120 miles of your business. As a result, we can offer an RTO of less than one minute.
Determining what data is hot, warm or cold is key to making this service perform properly, and we have developed a patented Smart-Tiered Caching technology that is baked right into our service. It automatically optimizes the storage location for all your data depending where it exists in the data lifecycle.
We also connect each customer site to a MetroPoP, at the edge, and to the public cloud via our dedicated network, so your data never travels over the public Internet. This helps us ensure extremely low latency, provide the utmost security and adds to our ability to provide you with an RTO of under 60 seconds once apps are up and running.
Backup independence vastly simplifies data protection. Just ask Ken Adams, CIO at the Baltimore-based law firm of Miles & Stockbridge. Here’s what he said to Network World, explaining how easy DR is with the ClearSky service: “You just push a button in the ClearSky console that works with VMware, and it fails over from one environment to the other.”
Backup and disaster recovery aren’t optional. They’re a necessary requirement and, as such, should be an integral part of any storage offering. That’s exactly what we’ve done, and, as a result, our customers don’t spend valuable time and money babysitting and managing backups or maintaining an expensive secondary DR site. Instead, they simplify and leave it all to ClearSky.
See for yourself how ClearSky can deliver backup independence to your organization, removing data protection from the list of things keeping you up at night. Read more about self-protecting storage or sign up for a demo to see for yourself!