Tiered Recovery – After all, it’s all about the recovery!

Jun 2010

Tiered Recovery – After all, it’s all about the recovery!


As consumers of backup, we haven’t been diligent enough in the past, when deciding which software platform or backup service to adopt to meet our data protection needs. Too much attention has been paid to the act of backup and software vendors have constantly focused their attention on metrics such as backup windows. However, at the end of the day, what really matters is how quickly you can recover data while causing minimal disruption to your business.

Tiered Recovery

When you start focusing on recovery, you’ll realize that you don’t need to have the same Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) or Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) for all your data. That is, older data can have more relaxed recovery objectives or Service Level Agreements (SLAs) compared to younger, more critical data. Most companies need to have access to (and recover in case of data loss) older data for compliance purposes. Due to different RPOs and RTOs based on the age of the data, customers should demand tiered recovery solutions from their Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

In fact, Gartner, in its research document entitled, New Storage Solutions Can Modernize Data Life Cycle Management (published: 24 February 2010), recommends organizations to “Focus data availability requirements on recovery capabilities, versus meeting the backup window, and build solutions that have the fastest and most cost-effective recovery capabilities.”

In what way can tiered recovery help an organization?

Apart from the obvious, i.e. allowing you to meet quicker RPOs for more critical data, tiered recovery helps align the value of data with the cost of protecting it. It helps stretch your backup budget and makes data protection and recovery a lot more efficient.

Consider a simple example. Your corporate mandate might require you to recover data, up to 7 days old, much quicker than data that’s between 7 and 90 days. Further, you might have more flexible and lax objectives with data that’s more than 3 months old. In such a case, you could utilize a local storage option for your youngest data, allowing you to recover at LAN speeds. You could then send data, that’s between 7 and 90 days old, to an offsite location over the WAN and data that’s older than 90 days, to a different location where it resides on cheaper media and meets longer RPOs. The net result of such a strategy – you not only have access to recover mission critical data quickly, but you’re also able to improve the efficiency of your backups, cut costs, while still meeting your disaster recovery objectives. 


Image Source: Flickr User: iliveisl

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