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Cloud uptake accelerates

Veritas reports 4x year-over-year increase in data moving to leading public clouds to power backup and disaster recovery at scale

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Enterprise customers are accelerating their cloud transformation initiatives, revealed Veritas Technologies, a worldwide leader in enterprise data protection and software-defined infrastructure. Over the past year alone, Veritas has seen a four-fold increase in the amount of data moving from on-premises environments to the two leading public clouds. This is in addition to a dramatic increase in the number of NetBackup workloads that have moved to the cloud in that same time frame.

The cloud as an enabler of modern digital business is a primary driver of this acceleration. As dependence on the cloud increases, it requires organisations to employ data management strategies that are robust, yet flexible enough to aid their transformation, while mitigating risks. This has become abundantly clear in a world of evolving data regulations, ransomware, and virtually zero tolerance for downtime.

Movement to the cloud accelerates

The results of the company’s latest Truth in Cloud Report—a recent survey commissioned by Veritas on the challenges of cloud data management, reiterate the industry’s shift toward cloud. The research found 47 percent of respondents characterise their company’s current infrastructure state as an even split between the public cloud and the data centre. However, more than 70 percent indicate their desired end-state is to run most or all of their applications on public cloud infrastructure.

Respondents are moving quickly to make this happen for non-production systems and dev/test environments, as well as mission-critical production systems. The increasingly distributed nature of IT systems is likely one major reason many companies are also increasing their investment in the technology used to protect and secure them.

Nearly 70 percent have allocated budget to purchase new solutions to address cloud data protection in the next 12 months, and a majority expect their budget for backup and recovery to increase substantially over the next three years. However, where respondents had responsibility over both on-premises and cloud-based workloads, almost half would rather do so with a single backup solution.

“Our customers are overwhelmingly choosing the cloud for new workloads and advanced deployments. Today, many organisations benefit from disaster recovery orchestration, cloud data protection, and hybrid on-premises and cloud environments,” said Deepak Mohan, executive vice president, enterprise data protection and compliance, Veritas. “Our integrated Enterprise Data Services Platform makes it easy to extend enterprise-grade protection from on-premises to the cloud and ensure data is always available, compliant, and secure.”

Cloud-based data availability and protection strategies

While organisations are choosing the cloud for a variety of deployments, three use cases demonstrate the most common cloud strategies being employed by Veritas customers today:

1.       Cloud as a storage target – The first foray into cloud adoption for many companies is running applications on-premises while using the cloud for storage. To ensure its data is safely stored and protected, financial services company, Profuturo Group, implemented Veritas NetBackup Appliances for rapid recovery readiness and CloudCatalyst for optimised transfer of data to Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud for long-term retention. This shift has helped accelerate data backup and recovery operations, while dramatically improving efficiency.

“Moving data storage to the cloud via NetBackup and CloudCatalyst has not only improved our data protection processes, but also our ability to meet storage, data availability and compliance needs for our customers and government regulators,” said Mario Alberto Correa Fuentes, manager, production and changes, Profuturo Group.

2.       Data protection in the cloud for cloud-based application workloads –As application workloads shift to the cloud, the need to protect cloud-based data increases. Many companies are deploying data protection in the cloud to address this need. Global environmental services firm, Veolia, decided to improve efficiencies and reduce costs by shifting all applications and data from on-premises data centers to AWS.

Knowing that all our data is in a central location, and that we can access it instantaneously, is a huge benefit of using NetBackup with AWS. A data restore that might take days in our on-premises environment can complete in seconds or minutes in AWS,” said Aurélien Durand, storage and backup engineer, Veolia.

3.       Cloud as an on-demand data center for disaster recovery – While some organisations choose to migrate the entire data center infrastructure to the cloud, others want to use the cloud as an on-demand resource for fast recovery during a disaster—natural or manmade. When China International Marine Containers, Ltd. (CIMC), wanted to move its business-critical applications to the cloud, it adopted a solution from Veritas that replicates data between an on-premises appliance and AWS cloud storage. The solution satisfies disaster recovery concerns, while significantly improving efficiency of data protection companywide.

“Veritas has the industry-leading technology and solid industry background knowledge, with a professional local team,” said Jinjie Pan, CIO of CIMC. “Veritas is becoming our most important partner for digital transformation strategy. Through the Veritas data management solution, we can meet business requirements and pave the way for our future innovation.”

For more information about cloud data protection strategies, visit https://www.veritas.com/solution/cloud.

Survey Methodology—A total of 1,645 cloud architects and administrators were interviewed in June and July across the US, the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UAE, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

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SA’s Internet goes down again

South Africa is about to experience a small repeat of the lower speeds and loss of Internet connectivity suffered in January, thanks to a new undersea cable break, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Internet service provider Afrihost has notified customers that there are major outages across all South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as a result of a break in the WACS undersea cable between Portugal and England 

The cause of the cable break along the cable is unclear. it marks the second major breakage event along the West African Internet sea cables this year, and comes at the worst possible time: as South Africans grow heavily dependent on their Internet connections during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

As a result of the break, the use of international websites and services, which include VPNs (virtual private networks), may result in latency – decreased speeds and response times.  

WACS runs from Yzerfontein in the Western Cape, up the West Coast of Africa, and terminates in the United Kingdom. It makes a stop in Portugal before it reaches the UK, and the breakage is reportedly somewhere between these two countries. 

The cable is owned in portions by several companies, and the portion where the breakage has occurred belongs to Tata Communications. 

The alternate routes are:  

  • SAT3, which runs from Melkbosstrand also in the Western Cape, up the West Coast and terminates in Portugal and Spain. This cable runs nearly parallel to WACS and has less Internet capacity than WACS. 
  • ACE (Africa Coast to Europe), which also runs up the West Coast.  
  • The SEACOM cable runs from South Africa, up the East Coast of Africa, terminating in both London and Dubai.  
  • The EASSy cable also runs from South Africa, up the East Coast, terminating in Sudan, from where it connects to other cables. 

The routes most ISPs in South Africa use are WACS and SAT3, due to cost reasons. 

The impact will not be as severe as in January, though. All international traffic is being redirected via alternative cable routes. This may be a viable method for connecting users to the Internet but might not be suitable for latency-sensitive applications like International video conferencing. 

Read more about the first Internet connectivity breakage which happened on the same cable, earlier this year. 

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SA cellphones to be tracked to fight coronavirus

Several countries are tracking cellphones to understand who may have been exposed to coronavirus-infected people. South Africa is about to follow suit, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From Israel to South Korea, governments and cell networks have been implementing measures to trace the cellphones of coronavirus-infected citizens, and who they’ve been around. The mechanisms countries have used have varied.  

In Iran, citizens were encouraged to download an app that claimed to diagnose COVID-19 with a series of yes or no questions. The app also tracked real-time location with a very high level of accuracy, provided by the GPS sensor. 

In Germany, all cellphones on Deutsche Telekom are being tracked through cell tower connections, providing a much coarser location, but a less invasive method of tracking. The data is being handled by the Robert Koch Institute, the German version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In Taiwan, those quarantined at home are tracked via an “electronic fence”, which determines if users leave their homes.  

In South Africa, preparations have started to track cellphones based on cell tower connections. The choice of this method is understandable, as many South Africans may either feel an app is too intrusive to have installed, or may not have the data to install the app. This method also allows more cellphones, including basic feature phones, to be tracked. 

This means that users can be tracked on a fairly anonymised basis, because these locations can be accurate to about 2 square kilometers. Clearly, this method of tracking is not meant to monitor individual movements, but rather gain a sense of who’s been around which general area.  

This data could be used to find lockdown violators, if one considers that a phone connecting in Hillbrow for the first 11 days of lockdown, and then connecting in Morningside for the next 5, likely indicates a person has moved for an extended period of time. 

The distance between Hillbrow and Morningside is 17km. One would pass through several zones covered by different towers.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that South African network providers have agreed to provide government with location data to help fight COVID-19. 

Details on how the data will be used, and what it will used to determine, are still unclear. 

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