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Backup is not enough – data demands availability

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Today is World Backup Day. But, WARREN OLIVIER says that simply having a backup incase something goes wrong is not enough and companies need to have their applications and data available 24/7.

March 31 is World Backup Day. But, says Veeam Software, backup is no longer enough. The company has declared 30 March World Availability Day.

Not even the most diligent daily backups can now fulfill the high availability requirements of the always-on business,” says Warren Olivier, Veeam Regional Manager for Southern Africa.

The question businesses need be asking of their IT functions, he says, is not “Are we backed up?”, but “Can we guarantee that our customers, partners and employees will have access to their applications and data 24/7? Is our data centre always on? And if an application goes down, can we bring it back up in 15 minutes?

“The traditional idea of a backup is that it’s an insurance policy – an object that you make, store somewhere safe and hope you never have to use,” adds Olivier. “But in reality a backup is no good if it can’t be restored – and the need to restore comes up far more often than most people think. For example, it happens every day that someone deletes an email or a file they shouldn’t have.

When that happens, fast recovery is the key to avoiding lost productivity. But, in a recent global survey commissioned by Veeam, CIOs reported it took an average of 2,9 hours to recover a mission critical application, and 8,5 hours to recover other applications. In the worst case scenario, downtime could cost enterprises over $10-million a year.

South Africa is no exception to the general rule, says Olivier: “By our calculations, even brief periods of downtime, say an hour or two, have a massive impact on revenue and profitability. Five downtime incidents a year can cost a business up to to 2% of its profits. That’s not a loss any business can afford to take lightly.

The danger is not hypothetical, says Olivier

Globally, only five percent of backups are tested – and on average one in six backups fail when the crunch comes. That simply isn’t acceptable anymore. Every hour of lost availability translates directly into lost revenue.

“Fortunately, thanks to virtualisation the tools to ensure 24/7 availability are now available and affordable for just about any business, not just large enterprises.

In a highly virtualised data centre, every server is just another file. That means you can make a new, up-to-date copy of that file every couple of minutes – and make copies of those copies. Every backup can be tested, and systems or data can be restored within minutes. This means backup is no longer just about worst-case insurance – it’s about ensuring everything is available, to everyone who needs it, wherever they are and whenever they want. It’s about delivering availability for the modern data centre.

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