Preparing for a simpler future: Greater efficiency in the data centre

By W. Curtis Preston, Chief Technical Evangelist, Druva.

At one point or another in your life, you’ll be told that ‘change is good’. Whilst as humans, we’re creatures of habit, this often necessary reminder is something that we try hard to take on in our personal lives, but struggle when it comes to our working lives. Put simply, you wouldn’t stand for an inefficiency that was wasting hours or days of your work week - instead you’d find a way to speed up the process. Over the past few years, there have been many suggestions as to how we improve our productivity and efficiencies in the workplace, but there’s never been a more apt time for this conversation than now. As we all continue to spend more time at home, with many of us reluctant to return to the office after the COVID-19 lockdown, a robust data backup plan is – quite literally – the last thing on anyone’s mind.

But, if not now, then when? As the large majority of us continue to work remotely - be it part time or full time - it is the responsibility of all businesses to ensure employees have the correct access to data and that it is stored securely. Not only this, but it is crucial to ensure there is a backup and recovery plan in place, capable of securing and supporting a more remote workforce. For businesses ready to take the next step and enhance productivity in the data centre, it’s time to say goodbye to the repetitive and time-consuming tasks. We know it’s possible, so it’s time to make a change.

It’s as easy as 1-2-3

Day-to-day backup and recovery can feel like a time-consuming task, with little reward at the end and plenty of risk. But, the reality of it is that recognition is usually not the best thing. No one remembers the backups you get right on a day to day basis – only the restores they got wrong. To avoid getting it wrong whilst working remotely, and to support your team’s productivity, it’s important to take it back to the basics. Firstly, think about the 3-2-1 rule. This means you need to make three copies of your data on two different media and make sure at least one copy is located off-site. Secondly, don’t forget automation will make everything easier and faster. Manually integrating applications can be a recipe for disaster, least of all thinking about the human error that can be involved. Instead, by automating runbook execution, you can streamline core processes for a more rapid recovery.

A secure cloud office

The cloud has in many ways, become the new office. With that in mind, businesses are rightly concerned about daily backups to the cloud hogging bandwidth. To set the record straight, this is not the case. Whilst traditional backup software tends to send full backups before deduplicating them, taking up more bandwidth, investing in a source-side deduplication system can resolve this. This will deduplicate any data before it is sent across the network, minimizing strains and demands on the network, speeding up the process from something that would once have taken hours to just a few minutes.

However, a common pitfall when setting up a data backup and recovery system is that age-old problem of security. With a more distributed workforce, businesses and mission critical systems are vulnerable to attack from scammers, hackers and ransomware thieves looking to cash in on the current situation.

This is where the cloud comes into play as one of the best ways to ensure you have the most up-to-date and continuous security strategy. Not only does it bring with it the added benefit of instant scalability but also critical separation from your core infrastructure.

However, with an automated backup service, it guarantees you won’t forget to protect your data before it’s gone. Given the core point of data backup and recovery is to have that information available when your primary data platforms are compromised, keeping that data separate and robustly protected, on a separate OS, is key.

In this ‘new normal’, we can be thankful that backup is much better than it used to be. But, that doesn’t mean we can relax just yet. Whilst backup has already addressed several tasks that administrators might have once spent a long time trying to fix, such as capacity, performance management or even device specific issues, we must not become complacent.

To sustain long-term remote working, we need to make sure that the infrastructure is in place to manage a more distributed workforce. This means taking the time to get a robust data backup and recovery process in place now. If you care about your data, then using the services available can be a great way to start thinking about ridding inefficiencies in the workplace to support your staff to be more productive. Keeping things simple can sometimes be the best way forward.

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