The data backup challenge is daunting – but the solution is clear

FalconStor StorSafe

Businesses need to back up more, much more, data than they did in the past. They have to do it more quickly, at a lower cost and they have to keep it for far longer. And in the interests of sleeping at night, it’s best to know that using a proven backup and disaster recovery service ensures your  data is secure and can be restored safely.

The pace of data accumulation is staggering. Recent ESG research shows that the demand for backup data is growing annually at 39 per cent. At that rate it would increase by more than 500 per cent in the next four years, And we’re starting from a high benchmark. In 2018, Forbes estimated that 90 per cent of all the data in the world had been created in the previous two years.

Additionally, businesses need to keep their data for longer. And there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. In part this is because the demands of compliance vary significantly for different vertical markets. Financial services regulation requires that data be preserved for anywhere between five years and forever. Seismic data for oil and gas research has no limit on the time it must be retained. Pharmaceutical and biotech R&D records must be kept for 75 to 100 years. The demands of the insurance and construction industries run to the life of the contract, plus a defined period (up to ten years). Additionally, data protection laws such as GDPR and California’s CCPR set out their own requirements.

As hardware systems become obsolete and unsupported, organisations are left with difficult decisions – ask any IBM ProtecTier customer. At the same time, physical tape backups become highly problematic in the age of COVID-19.

A future for tape?

What is the best way to store this ever-growing mass of information? Magnetic tape has been the medium of choice for a long time. The demise of the tape backup has been predicted for at least 20 years, and yet it’s still with us. Almost two-thirds of organisations say they expect to maintain their use of tape – for long-term data retention at least. But where tape has traditionally won on cost, it loses out on usability. Data can be hard to access, difficult to validate, and with the need to recycle tapes from time to time, it’s more prone to failure.

In the face of the demands for bigger backups, faster speeds and reduced cost, can tape really be the answer for the future? It’s a complex problem – organisations often feel reassured by traditional processes and assets they can see and touch. But as journalist HL Mencken pointed out, for every complex problem there is always a single solution – and it’s always wrong.

What if a solution out-performed tape on usability and cost? The answer can lie in using more modern technologies but adapting a hybrid approach to incorporate physical media if that suits you best. A virtual tape library allows you to reduce the amount of data. In any event, modernising your IBM i backup and recovery operations is easier than you might think.

StorSafe is a software product that sits between an organisation’s server and tape-based data and an archive. It takes the information, removes duplicated content to create much smaller file sizes and then outputs to either physical media, such as tape, for offsite storage or to the cloud. The software’s powerful deduplication process is protected by eight patents.

A faster cheaper solution

The result is a secure backup system that works six times faster and reduces data by a staggering 95 per cent. StorSafe runs on industry-standard servers, or in any cloud as a virtual machine. It provides a virtual tape library that is scalable, state-of-the-art, and totally compatible with existing backup software and procedures.

Research by Evaluator Group showed a 200 per cent performance improvement over a leading VTL competitor – at about one-third of the cost. What’s more, StorSafe data restoration is six times faster than using physical tape. And with an eye on rising demand, the design enables independent scaling of performance and capacity.

The route to better backups and archiving lies in eliminating as much of the human element – and the physical limitations of magnetic media – as possible. Touch-free, tape-free, backup and restorations are faster and more secure. You will sleep better, no longer wondering whether the restoration will actually work.

Unsurprisingly, increased efficiency and reduced data storage bring a real-world benefit in the form of reduced costs too. In addition to the reduced the cost of storing smaller backups, you can buy your storage area network or cloud storage from any vendor.

Failing to restore your data can be operationally devastating and have a catastrophic effect on corporate reputation. Blue Chip’s performance and scalability ensure that backups are completed on time, enabling you to restore data from next month, to 100 years.

ESG’s study shows that one in every five organisations has lost control of their backup data. With Blue Chip, you can take back control.

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