Organisations lack time and resources to deal with bulging data

The majority of Australian organisations are struggling to contain the cost of data protection solutions, according to a new data storage survey of 103 medium and large firms.

On a positive note though, many local organisations had learnt the benefits of data protection with most using one or more data protection methodologies, Sun Microsystems storage strategist, Rob Nieboer, said.

Eighty-five per cent of organisations are using tape as the preferred method of data backup, according to the Sun survey. It was recently completed by 189 storage management personnel last month.

The survey found local organisations use one or more disk-based data protection technologies such as disk mirroring (67 per cent), disk to disk to take backup (49 per cent) or disk to disk backup (48 per cent).

Other data protection methodologies employed were disk snapshot, virtual tape, and continuous data protection.

"Clearly there is a trend towards disk - not at the expense of tape, but in addition to," Nieboer told ARN.

And while local organisations are starting to understand the benefits of data protection, with most using one or more data protection technologies, there is still a lot of work to be done, particularly on the information lifecycle management (ILM) front.

ILM helps an organisation classify information - from the cradle to the grave - according to its business value.

"The survey has revealed a major disconnect in many organisations' approach to data protection," Nieboer said. "For exmaple, 67 per cent are charging ahead with disk mirroring - one of the most expensive disk-based data protection methodologies, yet only 28 per cent classify information so they can protect it according to its business value."

Lack of time and resources are seen as the top culprits for not classifying the data, according to the survey. "But adopting ILM technology is the best way to deal with the underlying storage problems," Nieboer said.

Given the cash and time crunch, Nieboer said resellers could help organisations deal with the data protection issues of performance and reliability. "Organisations have a small window of time and backup is getting tougher and tougher to get done," he said. The survey found other data protection issues included: recovery time (considered the most common issue); backup window constraints; complexity; poor disaster recovery and backup strategies; data integrity; and inadequate backup systems.

"Resellers can sit down with the organisations and do a data classification analysis to determine how to store it, manage it and protect it," Nieboer said. "They can determine how critical the data is to the business, what are the costs of maintaining it, and is the information subject to regulatory compliance."

Organisations could not afford to not travel down the ILM path, he said. "At a time when information has never been more critical, unfortunately businesses are choosing to tightly manage their storage resources and time," Nieboer said.

According to the survey, 65 per cent of organisations expect to change their current data protection methodology in the next 12 to 18 months. Disk to disk to tape backup is the top choice.

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