I spent last week at Veritas Vision, the first Vision conference since Veritas broke out of Symantec. It was exciting talking to backup administrators and storage professionals, telling them all about private cloud storage and why they should think about it as a target for their backup data. We’re able to have these conversations because the team at SwiftStack has been working closely with Veritas to add support for this type of storage into NetBackup. First step is in the current version, NetBackup 7.7, and we showcased even further integration in the upcoming NetBackup 8.0 release.
These conversations rushed me back in time to the early-to-mid 2000s when backup and recovery software was the center of my career. I quickly got a sense that the enterprise backup space was still going strong, but not nearly as much as I thought actually changed. A decade ago, there was a major shift to staged backup or disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) to speed up backup and restored while still retaining protection from a major disaster. For many companies, that’s still where they are today…while local backup challenges were somewhat solved by fast disk appliances that reduced the data that had to be stored, tape is still being used for offsite protection. I would have expected tape to be dead by now, especially in businesses that operate more than one data center or those that have too much data to replicate to public cloud storage.
To give you a better feel for this…one company (that operates multiple data centers) has different versions of LTO tapes in their archive, so as NetBackup evolves and new generations of LTO comes out, they maintain older backup servers with previous generation tape libraries attached just so they can read old tapes. And what’s really crazy is that “the mountain” that their service takes their tapes to is actually closer to the original data than another one of their data centers. This seems like a lot of unnecessary expense and wasted space in their data center for a backup strategy that has high risk when it comes to successfully restoring from archive.
Instead of using tape for the purpose of disaster recovery and long-term archive, they can leverage their multiple data centers by having a private storage cloud that spans two or more of them. So when backup data is written to storage nodes in one data center, that data will automatically be replicated offsite, because that’s how cloud storage works. With the cost savings achieved with a storage system built with standard servers and networking (aka software-defined storage), this storage cloud will be able to retain all of your data that used to be on tape. Instead of having to put in an order for a tape to be returned, you backup application just performs a restore, as if that data was local.
I look forward to the next step in backup data storage, where local data is not in disk silos, data is automatically moved offsite to protect against a major disaster, and all data is active with tape being a thing of the past. With a vast simplification of infrastructure, it means more energy can be applied higher up the stack and closer to the end user, which is generally a good thing. 🙂
For those who stopped by our booth at Veritas Vision or met with us at various side events, it was a pleasure getting to know all of you. If you were not able to attend and would like to learn the benefits of private cloud storage for backup and see how SwiftStack support is integrated into NetBackup, check out our backup solution page or please feel free to reach out to us.