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Wednesday, 02 June 2021 14:10

Why enterprises change their backup software

Veeam vice president for enterprise strategy Dave Russell Veeam vice president for enterprise strategy Dave Russell

Veeam vice president for enterprise strategy and former Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst Dave Russell has been involved in backup and recovery for decades.

Russell talks of the three Cs of backup – the reasons why enterprises actually change from one backup product to another. They are cost (including licences, maintenance and hardware), capacity, and complexity (ie, ease of use).

Those have been the top three reasons for the last 12 years, he said, although the order sometimes changes.

And recently a fourth C – cloud – has come into the picture, as organisations want to lift and shift workloads to the cloud and continue to protect them, as well as seeking cloud-native protection for cloud-native applications.

In January 2021, Veeam conducted what Russell said was the industry's largest survey on the topic, covering some 3000 enterprises in 28 countries.

Even though backup has been around for at least half a century, the top reason that would make respondents switch backup software was to improve the success rate of backups.

Russell sees three reasons for this concern.

Firstly, the variety of workloads is still growing because organisations are adding new systems rather than replacing old ones. So they might run VMware and Hyper-V, Linux and AIX, and cloud as well as on-premises systems, partly because there are applications that can't be replatformed.

Secondly, the percentage of "applications deemed mission critical has exploded," he explains. Not very long ago it was 20%, but not it's 60% or higher as organisations become increasingly reliant on IT systems. For example, If COVID-19 has led to a significant shift from in-store to online sales, the company's web site is now mission critical rather than being a mere source of information for customers and potential customers.

This is also due to the interdependence of systems. An individual SQL Server installation may have been considered to be of limited value, but that has changed now it has become one of many pieces that are needed to make an important business process work.

"I view that as a positive," said Russell, as it shows organisations are taking a more holistic view, and business impact assessments need to consider all of the components that go into important processes.

Finally, service level agreements are getting tighter, and businesses expect more data to be highly available and recoverable.

But data isn't always as recoverable as the business expects, he warned. This even applies to cloud-based systems, where a shared responsibility model applies.

There's a particular issue around SaaS products. Database administrators usually follow very structured processes when making changes, such as backing up before and after the changes. But Salesforce admins (for example) tend to have more casual processes, partly because the expect to work more quickly.

"We see that as an opportunity," he said.

Veeam already offers an Office 365 backup product, and is actively looking at supporting other SaaS products. But there has to be a market opportunity, Russell said. For example, Google Apps is widely used, but at present there is little interest in protecting the data stored in it.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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