Big data & analytics

Pt 2: Bringing data protection into the cognitive era

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This is part two of a three-part blog post series on innovations in data protection. Read part one on the evolution of data protection here.

Part two: Snapshots, snapshot management and automation– the next step in data protection

Snapshots are used as a means to recover a storage array to a point when the last snapshot was taken. The ability to take snapshots of a data set multiple times per day and recover that data set quickly enables administrators to better meet their service-level agreements (SLAs).

Snapshots create a very granular recovery point objective (RPO) that includes the data required in a single image eliminating backup search and rebuild time. Snapshots taken are readily available for recovery, creating a very low recovery time objective (RTO).  In addition, snapshots can be time stamped and versioned, so older snaps can be recovered using version recovery objectives (VROs).  When the environment is properly configured, these snaps can be recovered in multiple locations, enabling GRO recovery of the data to any location or geography.

Historically, snapshot technology has been used to recover a storage array to the point when the last snapshot was taken. However, most array snapshots have been unable to meet data protection requirements such as crash consistency or application consistency when recovering data.

Some recent snapshot technologies are able to create crash-consistent and application-consistent snapshots of the data. Thus data recovery is able to meet the same criteria as backup applications that protect application data, with agents making data recovery simple and fast.

The advent of snapshot management

Still-newer snapshot management applications are able to take application-consistent snapshots without the use of agents.  This capability makes the management of the overall data protection environment easier to set up and manage, especially as the environment continues to grow.

Traditionally, snapshot management tools helped in the creation of the snapshots, but that was the extent of their management capabilities.  New applications can now help administrators not only set up the creation of the snapshots, but also use these applications to find specific snapshots and recover them.

Snapshots & lower data protection TCO

The data protection process has advanced significantly in the last few years with the ability to create and manage snapshot data with new snapshot management applications.  Snapshots and snapshot management tools help to lower the management overhead that is required to manage the data protection environment.

When combined with lower application costs and the space savings of snapshots, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a snapshot management solution can significantly lower the costs of backup and recovery.  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, as data protection evolves comes the need for using the snapshot data for multiple business purposes.

For example, multiple lines of business need access to accurate data sets from specific points in time for reporting and analytics purposes. They also need to keep a competitive edge with new solutions that require data access for DevOps or development and testing to help make the business more streamlined and agile.

The future of data protection is here today

IBM Spectrum Protect™ Plus is an innovative data management solution that provides superior data recovery and access capabilities. This high-availability solution gives today’s organizations the visibility, insight and control to be able to manage and meet data protection SLAs, as well as to unlock the data value for new and emerging use cases.

The global catalog is key

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus creates and maintains a global catalog of copies of VMs and files under protection. This helps an administrator to see what is protected and perhaps more importantly, what isn’t.

When the need to recover or access data arises, this global catalog can help you identify the affected data instead of browsing through hundreds of objects and recovery points. IBM Spectrum Protect Plus provides restore and access from the catalog so that anyone with the proper permissions can help restore the organization’s operations, generally in a matter of minutes.

ibm spectrum protect plus dashboard

Robust backup and faster recovery

With IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, vital data is kept accessible with a flexible, cost-efficient solution that integrates with existing virtualized environments, providing robust backups with granular RPO and low RTO in mind.

In addition, snapshots at different points in time can be utilized to meet today’s necessary VROs, in order to test different scenarios or report on data at different points in time. When configured properly, snapshots can be replicated or made available in multiple locations for different reasons to meet GROs for data reuse in other locations.

Spectrum Protect Plus can help your organization to work more efficiently, making data management easier with policy-driven controls that allow administrators to institute and maintain organization-wide standards for data protection and availability.

ibm spectrum protect plus restore

In part three of this series, we tackle one final topic critical to data protection success: the ability of a solution to integrate and deploy easily into your existing data center. You can also read more here.

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