Business Resiliency

The Future of Backup and Recovery

David Edborg By David Edborg Portfolio Manager, Business Resiliency December 18, 2014

Does everyone understand that Backup and Recovery, nay, the ENTIRE IT service delivery model is about to change?  Most businesses are in the process of moving from owning the power plant to renting the very specific piece of the power plant that they need.  This isn’t a small change folks.  And, just to make this all very interesting, it’s a change that will turn the tech vertical upside down… multiple times.  As a result, Backup and Recovery will become a ubiquitous feature in the service delivery model of the future that requires little more than a push of a button by those providing the service – the user will have to do little more than answer yes or no.  Well, there’s also an extra set of fees.

ATB InfographicThe scary part of this change is that it’s going to wipe out the IT industry as we know it.  Distribution will be controlled by a handful of service brokers, the most powerful of which are already starting to provide the first versions of a real, tangible X-as-a-service IT delivery model for corporate America.  As crazy as it sounds, they’re not tech companies… it’s the telephone nerds.  See?  Old will be new and new will NOT be tech gear.  The manufacturers of commodity gear (and let’s face it, ALL GEAR becomes a commodity at some point) will consolidate into a few massive conglomerates that all look and feel like some version of IBM in the late 1980’s –fighting for share and spending ZERO time on anything even close to innovation.  Aaaahhhh… A dystopic future brought to you by your friends at Penetrode.  “Welcome my son, welcome to the machine

Real innovation will occur at the application level and will be heavily controlled by the brokers.  In other words, innovation as we know it is going to appear to stall out until the next massive shift in delivery.  Most importantly, the way we think about every activity associated with IT risk management will change dramatically.  Every conceivable form of risk will change custody, ownership, and ongoing management.  For the BC/DR crowd, there’s an incontrovertible end – your days of dealing with BIA’s, RTO’s, table-top exercises, tapes, consultants, and any other form of “unproductive” capital deployment are over.

If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like the closing scenes of Star Wars III, you’re right, the changes are going to be THAT dramatic.  The good news is that we have a few years before Darth Vader starts doing the whole “power of the dark side” thing.  The bad news, however, is that the changes are starting now and as much as any other part of IT, backup, recovery, security and the rest of the most wanted list of IT risk management is front and center in this discussion.

No one wants anything to do with backup and recovery, everyone hates having to be responsible for security and data protection, all resiliency oriented topics are at the bottom of the annual IT budget every single year, and the tasks and activities associated with managing IT risk are THAT unpleasant.

Obviously, this presents me, the BC/DR consultant, with a conundrum.  On the one hand, we are about to see a massive industry change that is net good for the consumer.  On the other hand, a consulting service that has consumed a bunch of time and resources is changing in ways that are hard to even explain right now.  Why is this happening?  Because no one wants anything to do with backup and recovery, everyone hates having to be responsible for security and data protection, all resiliency oriented topics are at the bottom of the annual IT budget every single year, and the tasks and activities associated with managing IT risk are THAT unpleasant.

6a00d8341bf7f753ef00e54f1f63a78834-800wiThe even better news is the change and my predictions are likely to take years.  Resiliency oriented activities, in particular, simply can’t be transferred from one state to another like the flip of switch, especially backup and recovery activities.  There’s a whole bunch of automation, orchestration and software that needs to be developed, integrated, and optimized.  There’s also a ton of migration planning and road-mapping that’s going to need to be done.  And, finally, this all has to be done while dealing with all the same issues from the past – crazy data growth, constantly changing workloads, rapidly evolving applications, and a phalanx of bad guys just waiting to lift your digital giblets.

So what to do, what to do?  Would you believe it if I told you that we, EMC, have a service that will not only help you prepare for the X-as-a-service model, but will also help you address your near-term resiliency needs?  As crazy as it may seem, we have EXACTLY the service you need to transform the means by which you achieve your risk, threat, compliance and management needs.

As we’ve watched the rush to the service broker model, we’ve developed several different services that are designed to help our clients both develop a roadmap that outlines the path to the backup-as-a-service model and, at the same time, a plan to manage the issues associated with maintaining an optimized / effective current state backup and recovery environment.  The Blueprint for Backup Architecture (BBA) delivers an end product that helps the client fully understand all the details associated with the data protection services that they currently provide, the gaps between these services and the requirements associated with protecting and managing data, and whether their backup capabilities are aligned with business and technical objectives of the future.

4407075We have helped and continue to help organizations assess their backup operations and identify gaps in terms of their immediate goals for efficiency and cost control, improved recoverability, regulatory compliance, and alignment with business and applications.  As a result, we are able to outline a business case and roadmap for the enablement of backup-as-a-service, the first step in moving toward a full data-protection-as-a-service capability for the bank.  In the end, firms that master their backup get three main things:

  • Centralized Control – Management and orchestration of backup & recovery occurs in a single site via a single team
  • Active Policy Management – Is relevant, understood and actively incorporated into both risk management activities and business strategy
  • Aligned with Business Priorities – Business objectives and risks are clearly aligned and contingency planning is executable

So, the moral of the story is that a complete review of your existing data protection environment is needed in order to move forward with optimizing your data protection environment. Key to this is identifying the challenges, opportunities, and longer-term changes needed to enhance or improve the backup environment.  Only from this kind of review can a multi-phased roadmap be developed for improving your data protection infrastructure and operations that will free you to drive innovation and increase revenue for your enterprise.

David Edborg

About David Edborg


Portfolio Manager, Business Resiliency

David originally joined EMC (now Dell EMC) in 2005 and is currently the Portfolio Manager for Dell EMC Business Resiliency Services. Over his career at Dell EMC, David has served as a Global Practice Manager for Availability Technologies, as an Availability Services Solutions Principal, and as the Chief Architect for EMC’s Continuous Availability Services Line.

David has over thirty years in the computer security and disaster recovery industries. Out of college David worked as an IBM Assembler coder and wrote operating system mods for ACF2/VM; the first ever security product for IBM’s Virtual Machine OS. He has worked with other vendors and partners in the DR industry, including supporting recoveries from the 9/11 event. David has also worked in the packaged software industry as Director of Development and Support for a computer security product.

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