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David Hill
David Hill

Remote Backup Replication Continues to Gain Momentum

A recent survey shows increasing adoption of network-based replication of backup data, which is key to a robust data protection and disaster recovery strategy.

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.

David Hill is principal of Mesabi Group LLC, which focuses on helping organizations make complex IT infrastructure decisions simpler and easier to understand. He is the author of the book "Data Protection: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance." View Full Bio
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