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Strategic Info Management: Virtually Extend Your Data Center


Too often, distributed enterprises with servers in branch and remote offices skimp on protecting these outlying devices. If a server isn't tucked away in the central data center, backups are hit-or-miss, as is a disaster-recovery plan. And management? Forget it. These facts are not lost on IT--68 percent of attendees at a Gartner conference said they are unhappy with their backup strategies for remote servers. But fewer than half had a plan to improve the situation.

Far be it from us to throw stones, but treating branch-office servers--and the critical customer data they contain--as second-class citizens is foolish. These devices lead dangerous lives. In addition to the risks faced by their coddled data-center kin, like hard-drive failure or users accidentally deleting data, remote-office servers are prone to theft and mishaps like catastrophic coffee spills and collisions with vacuum cleaners.

You can extend glass-house-level protection even to devices tucked into a corner behind the potted plants, without breaking the bank. Pricing for managed backup services, for example, has declined by as much as 80 percent since 2004, according to Gartner, while security and the range of vendor choices has expanded, with innovative new offerings aimed at remote offices. Snapshot technology can make quick file restores a reality, and thin clients and WAFS (wide area file services) have roles to play in reducing costs and bandwidth usage.

The Root of Some Evil

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