Are Backups Dead?

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand.

So do you think the cry of “Make Backups a Snap!” is still a good idea?

I have been bemused for a while now, as to why end users think that the way to solve the perennial backup problem is to simply stop doing them!  It’s kind of like making a car lighter by removing all the safety features; no re-enforcing, no crumple zones, no airbags, etc..  I’m sure it will be quicker and consume less fuel,  but do you really want to be traveling in the car at high speed?

Well the crash just happened if what I read, here, is correct it indicates that their backup method was snapshots. So when they were hacked and their drives destroyed, they lost both their primary and their snaps. There has been a flurry of tweets about why they did not have an offsite copy of the data. Which I’m not sure is the issue here. To me the real issue here is why they did not have a point in time copy, that was not reliant on their primary storage.
Don’t get me wrong, snaps and clones are very useful operational tools and their use-cases are only limited by your imagination. However I don’t believe backup is in that set!

The ‘offsite’ question is obviously essential aspect of your business continuance planning. I would suggest that today, there is no excuse for not having a DR copy of your data. The services on offer and the impact of virtualistaion make this achievable for almost all organisations, mainly due to the dramatic reduction in the cost of building a disaster recovery facility. EMC has been working with leading cloud providers like; Telstra, Optus, MelbourneIT, Maquarie Telecom, and dimension data,  for years to build our their portfolio of backup, archive and other services.  To be blunt, I would suggest that you are negligent in your duty as an IT professional, if you don’t at least have a DR copy of your data!

So, I do still wonder when I hear vendors make claims that go against common sense, why end users don’t translate these messages into the real impact they have. For example, on the storage side there is a cry to “Use direct attached storage”, which really means – build stovepipes.  The cry to make backups a snap’ really means don’t backup. I could go on forever.. but what’s the fun in that!

Keep safe and remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water! There are new and dramatically improved ways of achieving the end, just make sure you still achieve the end!


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