According to the survey results, electronic remote replication seems to be making good progress and is a growing trend. In response to the question "What is your current recovery (DR) strategy?" 21% of the respondents responded with active-active, meaning two or more fully configured data centers with full data sets maintained in all. While this was only a fifth of the total number of respondents, it was greater than the 18% who use physical tapes stored off-site as their primary DR strategy.
Active/active is a relatively more-expensive strategy than other approaches, and many companies cannot afford this degree of protection. Forty-one percent of the respondents use an active-passive disk solution, where there is one fully configured data center with only critical data backed up to a remote site. Together, active-active and active-passive mean that more than three-fifths of all respondents use electronic remote replication at least to some extent, which indicates a substantial adoption.
The next question that arises is how much of the data is currently replicated to a DR site over a network? Almost half--47%--of the respondents say that they back up more than half (51% or more) of their data, with 12% going so far as to say that they back up 91% to 100% of their data. That confirms a strong trend toward electronic remote replication.
Note that remote offices also need DR protection for their data. The 2012 survey showed that 15% of the data in those sites is not backed up or protected. That seems shocking, but it is a significant improvement over the greater than one third of the data that the 2011 survey revealed.
A key question in Sepaton's survey was: "What are your main IT priorities for data protection 2012/2013?" It should come as no shock that 46% have rated "increasing backup performance" as critical. One of the ways to improve performance is to add remote replication for DR, and about 60% viewed it as a moderate to critical priority, which is consistent with the adoption rate of electronic remote replication.
Note that although the first line of backup is becoming disk-based, tape is not dead. Sepaton reports that keeping tape on site for a tertiary copy of data is still a viable option. In this case, a VTL becomes a disk-based cache. The use of tape can help companies balance costs and provide physically distinct backup media.
Sepaton is a client of David Hill and Mesabi Group.