Data protection is one of the most basic requirements for any operation involving data processing. Information has value and requires protection from many disastrous events that can befall stored information. Not only human or machine errors, malicious actions, and natural disasters require data protection, overriding legal issues have entered into the requirements.
With a history of a relatively straightforward process in making copies of data to tape, the approach to protecting information changed slowly for many years. Demands for storing information with increased capacity and no tolerance for unavailability are driving new solutions to be developed with new technologies to achieve more stringent goals.
Approaches to address data protection demands have evolved with new technology and solutions. There are a variety of approaches employed today. Backup to disk with deduplication has improved the economics and performance. Use of storage system snapshot features improve the effectiveness of protected changed blocks with incremental control. Direct Backup, using storage system snapshot and data movement over a storage network to the target device, transitions control to the application. Self-protecting storage systems have been developed to deal with the overwhelming growth of unstructured data. Integrating backup software into scale-out NAS solutions, which is opportunistically called Hyper-Converged Data Protection is a recent solution into the market (see our Scale-Out Data Protection Evaluation Guide for more information). The problem of multiple copies of data, predominantly created with data protection, is being addressed with solutions for Copy Data Management.
Many vendors offer data protection solutions with different approaches. There are data protection software only vendors and data protection hardware platform only vendors. There are also vendors that integrate software and hardware into pre-configured appliances (physical and virtual) to simplify deployment and management. An increasing range of cloud-based data protection solutions allow IT organizations additional options for protecting their data in the cloud and for acquiring data protection as an outcome without having to purchase and maintain the hardware and software.
Without an objective analysis of the solutions and the technologies employed, IT administrators, manager, and CIO’s must rely on the marketing and sales claims of the vendors pitching their product. This Evaluation Guide will illuminate the underlying technologies and their corresponding use cases, outline the individual product offerings, and provide actionable insight for the product acquisition and decision-making processes.
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