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Spreading the Joy of Backup

At Actifio, we’re all about the data. Your data. How you manage it, use it, share it, protect it. And, coming away from our participation in a recent Gartner enterprise IT event, I’m amazed at how frustrated so many enterprises remain in accomplishing each of these essentials. Again and again visitors to our booth made it clear that the challenges of Backup/DR have not been solved for the vast majority. They aren’t happy with the complexity, cost and resources consumed. They’re fed up with the proliferation of disparate uncoordinated tools. And, most of all, they’re exasperated by poor performance. Backups take forever and recovery even longer – if it works at all.

Individually and collectively we’ve never had a closer relationship to data. Business data. Personal data. Documents, news reports, email, blogs, video, tweets, texts, and now the internet of things – the list seems inexhaustible. And directly or indirectly we each produce more data every year. Some on purpose. Some as unintentional digital exhaust. Some valuable. Some, suitable only for Snapchat. Altogether we’re looking at annual data growth of 40-60% depending upon how you count it. And, of course, there’s always the critical and obvious question, what do we do with it?

joy_of_backup_imgAnother question is how much of data growth is due to protection efforts. We make lots of data copies. Clones, snapshots, backups. To paraphrase Jimmy Buffet – “Backups – We all got ‘em, we all want ‘em. What do we do with’em?”

We know that even simple backup is complicated at scale. Do-it-yourself or buy it as a service, all the critical considerations need to be accounted for. Now, as more enterprises are evaluating Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), Gartner suggests eight key capabilities when assessing a provider. They are:

  • Customer experience and satisfaction
  • Physical/Vitual/Hybrid system recovery
  • Pricing
  • Resiliency
  • Security and compliance
  • Service manageability
  • Recovery testing & disaster declaration
  • Value added services

If you’ve been shipping backup tapes offsite, (it’s amazing to us how many enterprises still do this) Gartner suggest DRaaS as not just a convenient alternative but a significantly less expensive one. More importantly, the speed of data recovery can be orders of magnitude faster.


Back to our conversations at the Gartner conference – there are four big backup problems that customers consistently raise with us:

  1. Operations nightmares that create huge cost of ownership
  2. Negative impacts of backup on production applications
  3. Backup impacts on business from long recovery times
  4. Inabilities to take advantage cloud economics

The conversations are amazingly similar. We could just record the exchanges and play back a video loop at the front of our booth:

Actifio: “We can help you modernize your backup for the last time.” “The fix includes faster backup and recovery, scalability, flexibility and simplicity.”

Customer: “Too good to be true.”

Actifio: “Actually we do all that while your newly virtualized data sets can be simultaneously used for multiple additional purposes. It’s a versatile data management platform.” “Gartner calls us “visionary”.” “And now, combined with Google Nearline Storage, you can have a high-performance, low cost cloud service option.” “Would you like to see a demonstration?”

Customer: “Yes.”

At that point, the discussions often go deeper and we may provide reference to one of our many customer examples and testimonials. Sutherland, an international law firm, is a great example. They use Actifio for backup, testing, DR and are on the way to cloud based “work anywhere” services supported by Google Nearline.

The Sutherland management team is happy with $1.5M in cost cuts. The lawyers are more productive and the IT staff is happier because they have fewer weekend emergency interruptions. We think of it as the joy of backup. Take a look at the video below to hear from Sutherland them self on how Actifio has transformed their business.


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