I recently booked a flight to Toronto’s City Center Airport (YTZ) on Porter Airlines. YTZ was very close to my customer meetings so I did not give it much more thought. However, a day prior to my departure, I researched Porter and realized that they only flew Bombardier Q400 turboprops! Not everyone may recall flying in old turboprops like the Twin Otter or Short 360, but I remember them vividly…in my nightmares. They were about as quiet as a jackhammer, and their rides were not much smoother. It always felt like they were on the verge of crashing.
Naturally, I began catastrophizing about my upcoming white knuckle and potentially life threatening flying experience. Upon arrival at Logan Terminal E, consumed with deep feelings of foreboding, I was thankful that I had recently visited my financial planner and my affairs were in order. Fortunately, the experience was radically different than what I expected.
Believe it or not, the modern Porter Airlines experience is actually better than typical US airlines. The staff were helpful, it was not crowded and the plane, while small, was actually nice. The flight was equally uneventful and was far more pleasant than the typical cattle car experience of today’s modern jetliners. In fact, in retrospect, I did not realize that modern turboprops are more efficient and cost effective than their jet powered brethren!
What does this have to do with IT? Well, many people have similar white knuckle experiences with protecting their infrastructure. They remember the angst created by tape-based restores where recoveries, when successful, often took hours and were accompanied by ample prayers to the Gods of LTO.
Sadly, the tape Gods did not always listen resulting in troubling consequences. Over time, vendors created hacks to address these challenges. Some added incremental forever strategies which never really worked, others gravitated towards software or hardware deduplication and others suggested that traditional backups were not needed. Unfortunately, limitations in many of these strategies reduced their effectiveness and, as a result, IT teams accepted the reality of uncertain and highly complex recoveries, thus causing a visit to the altar of Red Bull when emergency restores were needed.
Ladies and gentlemen, it does not need to be that way. Just like I panicked at the thought of a Q400 only to find that it was a pleasant experience, you probably feel terrified about data protection. There is a simple solution – new technologies are available today that can completely change the game for data backup and even more importantly…recovery. Some features to look for in your data protection solution include:
- Incremental forever backup technologies – perform only one full and then incrementals afterwards…forever. The newest approaches delivering this protection strategy are far better than the approaches from a decade ago.
- Instant recoveries – Backup is about recovery and as you think about data protection think about how you recover. There are new technologies that allow data to be restored instantly from backups both locally and in the cloud.
- Cloud – The cloud can change data protection in so many ways. Common use cases include long-term retention, DR or even application testing.
- Orchestration – Recovery processes used to be highly complex and could take days or even weeks if large scale recoveries were required. With today’s advanced orchestration tools, the entire recovery and even disaster recovery process can be automated.
- Deep application integration – You need to be sure that any data you protect is instantly accessible without cumbersome consistency checks or other processes to delay data access.
Let’s face it, we all get stuck in traditional habits, and it is only natural that as humans we look to the past to guide us in the future. Yet, we control the future and must move forward. Just like I tackled my fear of turboprops and emerged a stronger and better person, you can do the same with data protection. It is time to break from the past and join me as we soar off into the sunset…in a turboprop.