Think Different: How to Modernize Modern Data Backup

Breakthroughs begin with new thinking. Last September marked the eighteenth anniversary of Apple’s “Think different” marketing campaign. Featuring pictures of Edison, Picasso, Rosa Parks, Einstein, Maria Callas and other well-known thinkers, we were encouraged to join in, to “Think different” – to stand out from a crowd. Few would dispute that Apple has successfully done that for nearly two decades. Thomas Watson’s famous “THINK” signs posted all over NCR and later, IBM, supposedly inspired the slogan. The implication being that Watson would agree with Jobs in honoring “the ones who see things differently”, because “they invent, they explore, they create.” “Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Apple we ascribe to a “think different” philosophy. It requires creativity, discipline and honesty. It can mean discarding some long-cherished views of how things should work. We know that’s how possibilities become real differences.

think_different_imgWe’ve all seen the overused truisms and clichés that technology companies use to promote the “best” “newest” “most advanced” and “exclusive” technologies. The latest products are presented as groundbreaking, even when improvements are only incremental. But we do believe that breakthroughs happen. Sometimes, there is true transformative potential. It’s been our objective from the outset to change the ways that data is protected – to create the platform that modernizes data backup modernization for the final time – to think different.

Effective data backup is an exasperating problem that consistently tops IT priority lists. That’s because protecting operational data – backing it up and assuring secure, rapid access, has always been way more difficult and expensive than it should be. It’s grown even more complicated with time. The industry has been at it for years but persistent backup pains have continued to plague businesses with significant capital outlays, tedious maintenance requirements, and limited flexibility of proprietary tools. Velocity and data scale have accelerated well beyond the capabilities of traditional disjointed approaches.

As enterprises have looked to “modernize” their backup processes, hopes to improve performance and reduce cost are frustrated by vendor incrementalism. Offered solutions are often proprietary extensions to existing platforms that add expense and complexity without addressing the core issues of data protection, access, and movement throughout the full data lifecycle.

Legacy backup approaches that are still in widespread use were designed decades ago for a slow moving world based on physical infrastructure holding data on magnetic tapes – stored offsite and moved by truck. Data is locked in proprietary formats. Recovery times sluggish at best. As needs for more complete disaster recovery capabilities expanded, remote locations were multiplied and new technologies bolted on. But the foundation architecture wasn’t altered. Until now.

In the domain of virtualized, mobile, data obsessed, application-centric enterprises, we have taken the initiative to confront the modernization priority list. Scalability, consistency, data control, and ease-of-use are all fundamental requirements. Efficient and effective data recovery is central to application reliability. Redundant data copies and redundant infrastructure need to be banished. Data needs to connect directly to applications and be reliably managed at scale.

Our objective became changing the center of gravity from storage box to application data. Creating smart, virtualized data. That means holding the data with its reservoir of meta data to make data very, very smart. In effect, the data knows where it came from. It knows which application, at what time, at what level of protection and what authorized access. It’s tied to SLAs that direct what needs to happen throughout its lifecycle. It’s a unique approach that can scale to billions of objects, each with very precise associated service levels.

We’ve created a platform that will modernize data backup for the last time. By virtualizing data and eliminating redundant data copies, it saves time, money, and complexity. It creates a single “golden copy” available anywhere instantly, streamlining IT infrastructure and operations. It replaces legacy data protection methods with a radically simple system and allows data management to function at unprecedented scale and performance levels, and it fixes the backup problem once and for all.

All of the key requirements have been satisfied to establish essential data protection and backup confidence. These include:

  • 1  Short Backup Windows
  • 2  Low Impact on Production Applications
  • 3  Storage Efficiency
  • 4  Point-in-Time Recovery
  • 5  Fast, Efficient Restorations
  • 6  Low RTO
  • 7  Regulatory Compliance
  • 8  Leverage of Cloud Economics

Data capture and copy speeds are immediate. Production application performance is never impaired. Redundancies are eliminated as data is deduplicated and compressed without sacrificing data access times. Restores cover anything from a lost file to the entire datacenter. We minimize application recovery times with complete automation and make it simple to move data, leverage cloud vaulting, and application recovery.

The intent has been to modernize data architecture in a way that would permanently and efficiently resolve data protection needs across virtual, physical, and heterogeneous platforms – all of this with a single virtual data management platform.

We believe we have achieved our objectives. Actifio is the last backup modernization you’ll ever need. It’s application-centric future-proof data protection – a use case adaptable and infrastructure-agnostic resolution for data. It accelerates RTO while reducing cost and complexity. Managing copy data on a single, dedicated system improves control and accelerates production performance while freeing up expensive primary storage, bandwidth, and staff time.

It’s an entirely new “think different” approach to data backup modernization.

Top photo credit: Dick Sullivan

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