Backup Lifecycle Management (BLM): An Overview for MSPs and VARs
Backup Lifecycle Management doesn’t receive much hype, but BLM is an integral part of how small businesses and enterprises backup, recover and restore data. While it might seem obvious, the data critical to business operations does not need to be treated the same as that which is not critical. With BLM, data is managed for long-term archiving and automated searching/restoration.
This is where the method of storing data in the cloud becomes more important – managing information based on how important it is to a business can save money when it comes to cloud storage and backup.
Aligning the cost of backup with the value of data ensures that less important information gets relegated to lower cost, lower performance devices. BLM works by categorizing data into two different types: Active and inactive data.
- Active data is information that a business needs to stay operational. It’s understood as information that is critical to run an efficient business.
- Inactive data is defined as information no longer needed to keep the business up and going. With new low-cost technologies for archiving data, including cloud storage, enterprises no longer need to be concerned about being unable to retrieve information from tapes or microfilm.
As information moves from being ‘active’ to ‘inactive’, it’s also moved through a tiered storage system, where higher priority data is stored on higher performance, more expensive devices. Inactive data is relegated to lower-cost, lower-performance devices for storage.
This is the most important aspect to how data is efficiently and effectively managed. What’s essential is understanding how information is used, and how long it needs to be retained. Using this information, companies can develop strategies to manage data (ie. A plan for how it’s to be stored) and minimize the cost of storing it.
For highly regulated industries, such as health care or certain service professions, such as legal or accounting firms, BLM can take on a new meaning when backup up in the cloud. Often the extra layers of legislation governing businesses in these industries change the rules for how long and where companies can backup data in the cloud.
It’s important to note that Backup Lifecycle Management is not a product, but a comprehensive approach to managing an organization’s data. For any business, it’s important to be able to define the policies governing how data is stored, at what point data becomes less operationally critical and when to automatically transfer data to tiered storage. Using this approach will decrease operating expenses, increase revenues, and manage corporate risk by distinguishing between the performance requirements of mission-critical applications, the rapid growth of reference data, and volumes of long-term archive data.