Eran Farajun's blog
Enterprise IT is evolving at a rapid pace with new platforms to address emerging business demands. The integration of mobile devices, cloud adoption by business, expansion of data repositories and a general trend toward centralization is changing the way IT is consumed and managed. Backup and recovery is directly influenced by these trends. As backup targets and platforms multiply and costs skyrocket from the time, human capital and costs required, backup vendors are responding. This article will review anticipated changes in IT that are directly impacting data backup technologies, processes and costs. With this foresight is the promise that while a growing number of challenges are negatively affecting organizations, technologies and solutions are available now able to completely mitigate their impact.
Five Backup Industry Predictions for 2015
- Cloud-to-Cloud backup will increase in adoption as organizations transition to SaaS-based applications
- Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) shorten as new technologies become available to improve recovery time in any data loss situation
- Enterprise backup volumes increase as greater number of devices and data types are incorporated into backup sets
- Increased backup technology consolidation as solutions are called on to do more with less complexity and cost
- Pricing paradigms continue to evolve to be fair and focus on value
While there are a number of mainstream technology trends impacting the backup space, those that change where data is stored, its volume and location are the most relevant with respect to data protection. The first of these is business adoption of SaaS or cloud-based applications, such as Salesforce.com, Google Apps and Office 365. According to Gartner, SaaS is cannibalizing on-premise applications at a growing rate1. Perceived lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), faster and easier deployment and reduced capital expense rank among the top drivers for SaaS adoption says the analyst firm. Microsoft sales of Office 365 support this assertion with more 1.5 million new MS Office 365 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2014, moving the needle toward a 147% cloud application growth rate.
However, when data resides in an external SaaS cloud such as Microsoft Office 365, it is still the responsibility of the organization or the owner of the data to ensure the recovery of that information if lost. For example, if an organization cancels their Office 365 subscription, Microsoft will delete their data after 90 days. However, for regulatory or compliance reasons organizations may need to retain their data for a much longer period of time. Because of this, the need for backup technologies that allow users to regain control of data in cloud-based repositories will increase significantly in 2015, calling for the protection of that data to be integrated within the corporate backup infrastructure. For backup solutions, this will be a necessary step forward in the backup market as cloud applications such as Office 365 are expected to rank among the top in use globally.
The need for SaaS backup in the New Year will be closely followed by the requirement for high performance local and remote data recovery in the event of a site failure. As more backup solutions become more closely aligned with the cloud, solutions will differentiate on multiple levels. Second only to backup reliability will be recovery performance or the ability to retrieve lost data quickly regardless of location. To speed recovery of mission critical data, many organizations will deploy Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solutions. DRaaS is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third-party service provider to allow for failover in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe. The recovery can take place at an existing corporate location or at a planned recovery site to expedite business continuity. In 2015, this technology will be viewed as a competitive differentiator and eventually become a mainstream “must-have” to ensure business resilience.
As in the years prior, the next 12 months will see an enormous growth of data. According to a report in 2014 by IDC2 , “the digital universe is doubling in size every two years and will multiply 10-fold between 2013 and 2020 – from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes.” IDC’s research indicates that data in the digital universe “touched” by the cloud was 20% in 2013. By 2020, that percentage will double to 40%. This surge in data is exploding for multiple reasons, including the proliferation of wireless technologies, smart products, software defined businesses and the Internet of Things (IoT). In the world of backup, this rise in data will significantly increase the cost to protect it. The volume of data protected and the management of large distributed backup sets is breaking budgets and pulling valuable IT resources away from revenue generating IT projects. In 2015, backup vendors will further address this concern with technologies that take the management of large data sets into consideration.
One of the ways the issue of backup volumes is being addressed is not by the backup technology itself but by the way in which vendors charge to protect it. In most instances, backup pricing is based on the amount of data to be protected, whether tied to the number of machines or volume of data. However, this model is untenable as backup volumes drive pricing beyond available budgets. In 2015, IT administrators will seek alternative pricing models or technology solutions that apply policies to shrink protected data volumes. One such example is recovery-based pricing which flips traditional backup pricing on its head. The approach realigns with the value of backup which is the recovery of data and re-focuses it on the amount of data recovered versus that which is backed up. With this approach users will protect an unlimited amount of data without a pricing penalty and instead pay based on the data that is important enough to recover. The resulting savings of this approach can be as high as 70%.
Finally, the expansion of computing platforms and devices along with data growth has resulted in a cocktail of backup solutions to protect data across physical, virtual, cloud and mobile environments that a few years ago did not exist. Most enterprises today have as many as ten backup solutions to backup data on servers, remote sites, virtual environments, tablets/laptops and the cloud. The resulting mix of backup repositories with differing recovery strategies for each environment and the management resources required to ensure business continuity has been exhaustive for many organizations. The next twelve months will see continued movement toward centralization of this process as new technologies integrate with a broader number of IT environments.
The challenges facing IT professionals can be succinctly narrowed down to increasing IT administrator pain resulting from higher complexity and cost. The backup industry is directly impacted by current and forthcoming trends and vendors have made strides to simplify data protection in ways that have reduced capital and operational expense. While many have made varied attempts, some have made great strides in advancing their solutions. Understanding the forthcoming challenges in data protection and how to ensure the best approach for one’s organization will define industry discussions moving forward. The final responsibility for streamlining backup and refocusing efforts on revenue generating projects is in the hands of IT.
1 Gartner - Market Trends: SaaS’s Varied Levels of Cannibalization to On-Premises Applications https://www.gartner.com/doc/2217217
2 IDC, The Digital Universe of Opportunities: Rich Data and the Increasing Value of the Internet of Things, April, 2014
The growing problem of unfair pricing in the backup and recovery market is unsustainable. It is time for a fair pricing model, one that is aligned with the true business value of backup – data recovery.
Technology has enabled business model revolutions in many markets that are fair to customers, allowing significant savings and better overall value. This has resulted in pricing overhauls in several markets, including the music industry’s shift from albums to per-song pricing; telecom’s move from per-minute to per-second billing, and the auto insurance industry’s Pay-as-You-Drive (PAYD) performance-based pricing as an alternative to monthly premiums based solely on actuarial statistics.
The Asigra Recovery License Model® gives organizations the option of selecting a fair pricing model based on how little they recover. The model is enabled by technology and follows what many experts agree is an evolving movement toward performance-based pricing that aligns with the value derived by the customer. The Recovery License Model separates the cost of backup and recovery. Backup costs are based on capacity and remain constant; recovery costs are based on how much recovery you actually do and although this number is variable there is a limit to how much you can be charged. And nobody recovers 100% of their data – so why should you be paying to recover 100%?
The Recovery License Model pricing gives IT professionals the ability to better control backup and recovery costs, even as organizational data grows rapidly. With this approach, fees are based on a Recovery Performance Score that is calculated over a 12-month period. A waiver is provided for the single largest recovery event in any licensing term and only successful recoveries are included in the calculations. This allows customers who recover less to pay less.
Hear what Databarracks, one of the UK's first providers of managed backup and disaster recovery services, has to say about the business benefits of the Recovery License Model.
Those who adopt the pricing model will realize immediate savings of approximately 40% and long term savings of 60% to 70% as a result of separating backup and recovery license costs and associating price with recovery performance. The Asigra Recovery Tracker™, proprietary analytics tracking software, generates actionable information that helps to improve IT efficiency, enabling performance-based savings and more user control on how they are billed for backup software/services. The model keeps backup and recovery costs under control over time, despite the trend of rapid data growth showing no signs of slowing down.
The Asigra Recovery License Model follows customer demand for pricing that prioritizes data recovery over the backup of data. This is reinforced by recent Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) research of IT managers and/or staff who influence backup and recovery purchasing decisions. The research revealed a number of findings related to data recovery, including the fact that most of the respondents attributed higher IT costs to rising volumes of data (data capacity). Survey respondents also indicated that they anticipate an increase in backup and recovery costs over the next five years as these volumes grow.
For more information on how you can effectively control and lower your backup and recovery software costs as data volumes continue to grow, download your complimentary copy of “The Costs of Rapid Data Growth”.
Do you think it is fair that you pay to recover 100% of your data, when you don’t actually recover 100% of your data? Don’t you deserve to pay less since you recover so very little?
One of the main concerns from end users about cloud storage is its security. “I am legally obliged to keep my data inside the country’s boundaries; where would you store it?” “How do I know it’s safe?” “How do I know I’m the only one that can access it?” These are all questions that cloud computing vendors and resellers have been striving to answer, and reassure their customers about since this service delivery model was first introduced.
However, today there is a variety of ways in which cloud solutions providers i.e. vendors, resellers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), can near-guarantee data security and among the most sophisticated near-guarantee of security is encryption. This is a simple yet effective process that will put many customers’ minds at rest, and is therefore a powerful tool for the channel.
Before data leaves the end user’s datacentre it is encrypted at the source and it stays so while it gets transmitted to the cloud, essentially the data is encrypted at rest and in flight to ensure the data remains secure, where it also remains encrypted. Therefore, anyone trying to intercept this data while it is being transferred would only capture encrypted files; access to confidential content is hence not possible.
In order to access data in its un-encrypted form, it needs to be unlocked and the only key resides with the customer, ensuring that the stored version of the data is as safe and secure in the MSP’s datacentre as if it was in-house. Depending on the required level of security, keys can have between eight and 32 digits. So far, so secure.
Safeguards can be applied at various levels to ensure the security of customers’ data from cradle to grave including encryption key escrow management capability. This allows for an additional security provision to be put in place should a customer lose or forget their encryption key. Measures of security (or lack thereof) will often be a deal breaker so any reseller or cloud service provider looking for that extra element of differentiation should certainly look into having as many of these security measures in their portfolios. Amongst the most important factors is to ensure that the underlying technology vendor has a third-party certification of the encryption elements in its products, like a governmental body. It is not enough that a vendor claims their product is secure and it incorporates some form of cryptology. The real question is whether anyone has actually verified that the encryption was implemented properly so it cannot be defeated. This is the comfort level that a recognised third-party certification provides.
In the cloud data centre itself, the security of the data is protected even from datacentre operations staff due to its encrypted format. Cloud operations personnel do not have unauthorised access to the decryption key, meaning that customers should feel safe in the knowledge that their data is visible only to them. Building a level of trust such as this is “key” (excuse the pun) when establishing channel relationships, as trusted resellers are the ones to whom happy customers will return, and will be recommended to others.
It is details such as this that give good relationships the advantage; in order to provide the best possible service it is necessary to understand the technology being utilised and leverage it to each customer’s advantage. Thus, fears about the security of data in the cloud should be greatly reduced. Customers who feel happy with the level of security, support and flexibility provided are the ones with whom relationships will flourish.