Recently, I and my associate Dan, a Major Account Executive at Data Storage Corporation, had the pleasure of participating in the Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Forum hosted by Forum Networking Events Inc. Attended by senior executives, CIOs and members of IT and technical departments from more than 30 individual organizations, the event provided an opportunity to meet one-on-one with key technology decision makers who are actively looking for Disaster Recovery (“DR”) and Business Continuity (“BC”)/High Availability (“HA”) solutions.
During the day-long event, we met with a wide array of companies –from SMB to Fortune 500s, representing a cross section of business sectors including finance, retail, and non-profit – and delved deeply into the challenges they are facing managing the ever-increasing amounts of data required to operate and maintain their businesses. Throughout the meetings, it was clear that the need to regain control over their data and the costs of storing and recovering that data is reaching critical levels and in a number of cases, even surpassing the capabilities of their internal teams and existing infrastructures. Attending companies clearly had done their research into available technology and solutions and through this event, were now looking to get expert insights from vendors in the DR market. Among the most common themes that emerged from our meetings included:
- The explosive growth in data is resulting in new IT challenges. Beyond the sheer volume, much of the data growth is being driven by unstructured user data consisting of documents and emails, almost all of which are in different file formats. This type of data has very different properties than the traditional SQL database files most systems have been designed to handle. It’s this diversity that continues to put the most strain on IT systems and budgets. How companies can control, manage and retain this data, both old and new, without compromising user access, remains challenging and can often become a cumbersome and expensive proposition if not handled correctly.
- Companies are increasingly recognizing that backing up data to local tapes isn’t adequate for their needs – that they need off-site DR and HA services. Understanding how all the various technologies “fit together”, however, remains a challenge as products, services and even vendors themselves need to invest more in differentiating themselves and their solutions so that customers can make decisions on what is best for their unique needs.
- One size fits all solutions, case studies and white papers might look good on the surface, but companies are seeing real value in comprehensive DR planning, consultation and one-on-one dedicated support helping them answer the age-old question of “how does this apply to my unique situation.” This is where vendors have an opportunity to add value and bring fresh, outside perspectives to the table that goes well beyond slick marketing materials and fancy websites.
- Understanding the cost/benefit equation is a priority. At almost every meeting, the issue of capital expense management and “how much can I afford” were always top of mind. Looking beyond flat costs for items like storage, it’s clear that solution providers need to work more closely with customers to ensure maximum utilization of resources by establishing appropriate Recovery Time Objectives (RTO). Which services and data are priorities for short-time recovery (minutes) and which services, data and even hardware, can be configured for longer recovery windows (hours and days)? Knowing this information has dramatic impacts on availability, the costs of DR services and of course, the bottom line of the business.
At Data Storage Corporation, we have been in the data protection and DR space for more than a decade. The business was built with a dedicated focus on High Availability, Disaster Recovery and data protection and backup offerings with synergistic and market-proven business continuity solutions. With expertise spanning the large IBM iSeries/AS400 market to SPARC, to Intel-based hardware, we have helped customers maximize their IT investments while ensuring that their data and systems are protected, regardless of whatever IT or budgetary challenges they may have.
We would love to hear from you if you would like to learn how our range of services can help your business today and prepare for tomorrow. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Sales Engineering