World Backup Day 2019: The data management revolution

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/scyther5)

Another year and another World Backup Day has come upon us far faster than I would have liked. As always, a timely reminder for the world to ‘backup’ its data. But in 2019, ‘backup’ has become so much more than simply backing up your data in the case of disaster. Since World Backup Day was established in 2011, the world of backup has become a very different beast, and transformed into cloud data management.

After all, digital transformation would be absolutely nothing without data; data is undeniably at its centre. But just like bank currency, data needs to be managed and protected very carefully under compliance and governance laws, especially when it comes to EU citizens’ data, due to GDPR having come into force. Another shift that we’re seeing, particularly in behaviour, is companies moving from legacy monolithic infrastructures to modern distributed hybrid cloud infrastructures.

This means that how data is protected and managed has to transition and evolve. And this transition involves moving from traditional storage management to modern cloud data management. Traditional storage management is all about managing storage hardware and the data it contains in a single system or cluster, something I think we can all agree doesn’t meet the needs of most modern organisations. However, cloud data management is actually about managing that data and - importantly - it is agnostic to the underlying infrastructure. 

At the same time, how and where the data in today’s infrastructures is stored is evolving with this digital transformation. It is stored in both the public and private cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), edge and mobile devices on new forms of media using new protocols. There is a new broadening variety of data structures, containers, and interfaces that support data-driven use cases, such as analytics, self-service multi-tenancy, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. I expect there to be continued innovations in data management to meet the needs of protecting and managing data in these new hybrid cloud environments. 

As of right now, there isn’t one data management product that has all of the needed major components in one product. In order to keep up with evolving needs, data management vendors look towards the open source community to help supply new tools and capabilities to expand their products. But due to a lack of interoperability between products, this can require several products to be purchased to fully manage and protect data for modern hybrid cloud and new distributed environments. As you can probably imagine, this can be a nightmare for administrators for monitoring, reporting, managing, and protecting data.

There are several major components of the new data management for hybrid cloud environments going into the rest of this year and beyond. These include data protection, business continuity, archive/preservation, compliance, data governance, capacity optimisation, and visibility. Data management companies will expand their capabilities through alliance, acquisition, and native development to offer these major components in one product. This will simplify data management for administrators and provide the ability to manage, protect, and report intelligently under one management umbrella creating a purpose-built data management product for data and its uses. 

  • Data Protection/Business Continuity - Ransomware and other malware attacks will continue to rise and evolve to more intelligent attacks in 2019.  The number of natural disasters and other activities that destroy entire data centres will also continue in 2019.  This means more intelligent and efficient ways to prevent business interruptions will evolve with data protection and data management companies. These are all reasons why the importance of a good data protection strategy and disaster recovery plan is an essential part to business continuity.
  • Archive/preservation - Long-term cold storage will continue to grow in 2019 with the application demand to use and produce more data than ever before.  The idea of storing long-term archival information will need innovation from the use of cheap magnetic media to a media that is less inclined to lose bits over time.  As solid-state technology becomes less expensive, this may be an alternative in 2019 for storage. This can make preservation more efficient in the long run.
  • Compliance/Data Governance - Vulnerabilities and regulations around data will continue to increase over the coming year. Organisations must not only comply with the GDPR regulations set out on May 25, 2018, but in 2019 they must be able to demonstrate their compliance or face hefty fines. The ePrivacy Regulation will be implemented in the second half of 2019 and will address advances in electronic communications and its associated data, such as emails, messages, blogs, websites, and IOT devices. There will be some overlap with the ePrivacy Regulation and GDPR but the main difference is that the ePrivacy Regulation is about electronic communications only and the GDPR is about all forms of personal data. There will be a need for data management vendors to provide easy innovative ways to help organisations demonstrate and maintain this new compliance and regulation.
  • Capacity Optimisation - Optimising resources such as storage capacity is crucial to controlling cost.  The use of new applications and use cases, such as analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are on the rise.  This means the need to optimise capacity will increase to manage cost, otherwise IT budgets will spiral out of control for businesses adopting this digital transformation as part of their business initiatives.
  • Visibility - Today there are over 320 million workloads active in datacentres around the world at any given time.  By 2020 it is estimated there will be over 450 million workloads globally with at least half actively running in the public cloud. This increased use of the public cloud in hybrid cloud infrastructure adds to the complexity of data management. Data visibility will be the crucial key to improving and reducing cost both hybrid cloud environments.

As World Backup Day is once again celebrated, I predict that 2019 will be the year to expand the capabilities of data management products for data protection, preservation, optimisation, and visibility to efficiently manage data while controlling cost during this digital transformation.

Martin Brown, Western EMEA Director, Rubrik
Image source: Shutterstock/scyther5