The Essentials Series: The Evolving Landscape of Enterprise Data Protection

by Dan Sullivan


Data protection is essential for reliable business operations, but growing data volumes and infrastructure complexity pose significant challenges. Without optimized backup strategies, storage management, and virtual environment management businesses will spend more than needed to protect their information assets.

The Essentials Series: The Evolving Landscape of Enterprise Data Protection provides background in key areas of data protection, including data deduplication strategies, virtual machine management, and meeting application specific data protection requirements. Throughout the articles, a special emphasis is placed on examining the ROI of various options.


Article 1: Lowering Costs of Data Protection through Deduplication and Data Reduction

Information technology (IT) professionals are living with something of a paradox—their colleagues see ads for 1TB drives selling for less than 0 and cannot understand why storage, backup, and disaster recovery services cost so much. The simple answer is that generating and storing data is easy and sometimes inexpensive. Protecting it over the long term is not.

The Essential Series: The Evolving Landscape of Enterprise Data Protection will examine several of the key issues in backup and disaster recovery while illustrating how to optimize services with virtual environments and existing infrastructure. This first article addresses how to lower the costs of backup and disaster recovery by taking advantage of deduplication and data reduction technologies. Not surprisingly, there are different ways of accomplishing this goal and each has their advantages and disadvantages. We will consider how these ultimately impact the return on investment (ROI), which will help lead to selecting the proper solution for a particular set of requirements.

Article 2: Virtual Machine Environments: Data Protection and Recovery Solutions

Virtualization technology, widely adopted for its cost efficiency and ease of administration, has implications for data protection and recovery solutions. The data and applications running on virtual machine environments must be protected just as those on physical servers, but differences in physical and virtual servers have implications for your backup strategies. At the same time, virtual machine technology can significantly contribute to streamlining disaster recovery operations. In both cases, proper planning and deployment of virtual machine environments and backup solutions can positively influence the return on investment (ROI) in these technologies.

Virtual Machine Environments in the Enterprise

Virtual machine technologies such as VMware’s Infrastructure 3 and VMware Server and Microsoft’s Hyper‐V technology, available in Windows Server 2008, are gaining in popularity. Virtualization technologies such as these insert a software layer between the hardware and the operating system (OS), which traditionally ran directly on that hardware. The new software layer, known as a hypervisor, can act as a mediator between CPUs, memory, storage, and other hardware components and one or more OSs.

Article 3: Leveraging Your Existing Infrastructure for Enterprise Data Protection

Comprehensive and efficient enterprise data protection should not require substantial changes to your existing infrastructure. If you were to find that your company needed to deploy new operating systems (OSs) or make changes to database processes to implement a data protection strategy, it might be time to reconsider your strategy. This, the third and final article in the Essential Series: The Evolving Landscape of Enterprise Data Protection, discusses evaluation criteria for selecting an appropriate solution for your business.

Before delving into detailed evaluation criteria, it is worth noting two overarching principles. First, enterprise data protection should not require changes to core components of the IT environment, such as OSs, databases, email systems, or storage hardware. A second principle is that data protection methods should seamlessly support changes to OSs, storage hardware, and so on. The business environment is already dynamic and subject to many influences; data protection should not add another driver to that dynamic situation.