Say goodbye to mundane tasks in the data centre

You’ve heard it before in one setting or another and I’m going to say it again: “There’s always room for improvement”. And, whilst we’ve experienced years of theories, suggestions and ideas being pushed out across a variety of organisations to help improve our productivity in the workplace, there’s never been a more prevalent time for this conversation to take place. As every one of us spends more time working from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown, a robust data backup plan is – quite literally – the last thing on most people’s minds.

However, it’s now or never. With our new working arrangements, businesses need to be focused on ensuring that employees have consistent access to data, and that the current backup and recovery plan in place is capable of securing and supporting a more distributed workforce, at speed. Therefore, to enhance productivity in the data centre, we need to rid ourselves of the mundane tasks adding little value to our days. Think about it. There are entire industries that have been built around doing this, such as robot vacuums and robot lawn mowers – so we know it’s possible.

The data centre is known for its laborious, manual, repetitive tasks, and it’s time to put a stop to this and implement the necessary steps to say goodbye to the mundane.

Start with the basics

Day-to-day backup and recovery is a mundane task, with little reward and plenty of risk. In fact, it’s usually a pretty bad thing if you are gaining recognition in the backup space, because no one remembers the millions of backups that you got right – only the one restore you got wrong. To avoid getting it wrong whilst working remotely, and to support your team’s productivity, it’s important to take it back to the basics.

Firstly, think about the 3-2-1 rule. This means you need to make three copies of your data on two different media and make sure at least one copy is located off-site. Secondly, don’t forget that automation will make everything easier and faster. Manually integrating applications can be a recipe for disaster, least of all thinking about the human error that can be involved. Instead, by automating runbook execution, you can streamline core processes for a more rapid recovery.

W. Curtis Preston, Chief Technical Evangelist, Druva

Embrace the cloud

Many of us are relying on the cloud as our new office right now, so it’s a valid concern for businesses to be thinking that a daily backup to the cloud might steal the majority of the bandwidth. This simply isn’t the case. Whilst more typical backup software does send full backups before deduplicating them, taking up more bandwidth, investing in a well-written deduplication system can resolve this. A well written system will deduplicate any data before it is sent across the network. This means the demands on the network are relieved and speeds the process up from what would have taken hours, to just a few minutes. It’s a win-win.

Don’t forget about security

A common pitfall when setting up a data backup and recovery system is security. Unfortunately, security can sometimes fall to the bottom of the agenda. The problem however, is that businesses and mission critical systems are much more vulnerable to attack right now, from scammers, hackers and ransomware thieves looking to take advantage of the current distributed data.

The cloud is the only thing that can guarantee you the most up-to-date and continuous security strategy. Not only does it bring with it the added benefit of instant scalability and critical separation from your core infrastructure, but with an automated backup service, it guarantees you won’t forget to protect your data, before it’s too late. Given the core point of data backup and recovery is to have that information available when your primary data platforms are compromised, keeping that data separate and robustly protected – on a separate OS – is key.

In this new working reality, we are lucky that backup is much better than it used to be already. Backup service offerings have already addressed a handful of things that a typical backup administrator would spend time trying to fix, including capacity and performance management, or even device specific issues. The main concern today is whether or not the internet connection is up and running, and that’s a good place to be.

However, if we’re to prepare for a future of work that might see more of us working remotely than ever before, then we need to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to support a productive remote workforce. This means getting your housekeeping in order and automating your backup and recovery processes. Failure to do backups is simply not an option for any company that cares about its data.


W. Curtis Preston

Chief Technical Evangelist, Druva


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