Time to Stop with the Legacy Backup Solutions

A couple of months ago I attended the UK Veeam ON Forum in London and once my brain had registered that I am not on my way to the Aviva Stadium with several hundred of my fellow countrymen, but am in fact at an IT event things started to make more sense. This was to be a day packed full of information Veeam wanted to share with their partner community, and I am glad to say they didn’t hold back. My key takeaway from the day is the amount of people who lack the proper ability to meet recovery objectives defined within their business and as organisations move to a hybrid cloud that inability is only increasing. When surveyed by ESG, 4 out of 5 respondents disclosed that their current infrastructure cannot keep up with the IT needs of their company and users suffer. Follow up questions in this survey also highlighted that 3 out of 4 organisations were exceeding their allowance for data lost due to an outage. This is mind blowingly huge!

These two areas are referred to as the Availability Gap and Protection Gap and it is clear to see that with the drive for businesses to do more with less and leverage the public cloud we are seeing data bears these burdens and is ultimately losing. I have long proposed to companies “How long can you let your employees sit idle? How damaging for your brand would it be if you could not transact orders or your website was down? And how much money would your business loose in that period of time?” These are just some of the questions that must be asked and answered correctly throughout a piece of data’s life to properly assess and implement a strategy to accurately and properly defend and deliver it with speed back to the business. There seems to be a drive for organisations to implement new technology and upgrade existing hardware but the protection and availability are a secondary or tertiary response. Data is a company’s most valuable asset. Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation’s single most valuable item on their books isn’t the faux Roman architecture hotel in the middle of Las Vegas strip; it’s the company’s big data loyalty program that has been running since 1998 and hold over 45 million member records; with a figure of $1B attached.

This brings together two interesting points how, many companies out there are not taking the time and care with data that concerns me as a customer and also, how insufficient the understanding of the value of the data a company holds about a person or organisation. As a personal consumer, I would be slightly put out and may consider moving my custom if I contacted my butcher for instance to ask for “the same cut I had last week”, yet he had no record of the transaction and my meal is not turning out as nice as I wanted it. But in business what if I were to contact a supplier and say, “you know that last batch of X was great, can I get another 1000 or 10,000 ASAP and put it on my account” well without the proper information at hand I can neither see what that order was to fulfil it again, check if the customer has credit to place such an order and where to ship it once produced. Care and consideration must be taken with this data and how we safeguard it should be as intrinsic as the application that creates and accesses the information.

So why Veeam you may ask? Simply put because they understand the 24 by 7 always on business environment we now live in. This is a 21st century company not constrained by 1980’s backup architectural design and a leader of innovation within their field. So let’s stop talking backup and look at what we really demand: Availability. Over the coming weeks I am going to be looking into why Veeam and their ever-increasing portfolio of products, what it can deliver, how it can quickly and effortlessly meet a company’s availability and protection needs whether on site or in the cloud.

To read the full ESG commissioned report look here

Reflecting on VMworld EMEA 2017

Back in September I found myself on a Sunday morning flight from London to Barcelona to explore one of the largest technical conferences held this side of the pond, VMworld Europe. The conference kicked off on Monday with a partner day and a general session where Pat Gelsinger @PGelsinger CEO said two things that really stood out for me. Number one, he thanked the audience for their continued support of VMware products and requested that we “go all in” with the ever-increasing portfolio. Number two he said, “Today is the slowest day of technical innovation of the rest of your life” and boy is he not wrong.

Now I have been working with VMware for well over a decade playing with ESX and GSX and picked up my fist VCP certification on version 2.5. But focusing on the storage industry and products in that space my VMware focus had waned, and whilst I had heard mention about new products and features that VMware had developed, until I got to this conference I didn’t realise how vast and how varied this portfolio had grown. To hear Pat and co band around the slogan if you will of “Any application on any device on any cloud” you get to see how much of a reality this is.

This message really drove home during day two’s keynote when Purnima Padmanabhan @PPadmanabhan VP Product Management, Cloud Management Business Unit and Chris Wolf @cswolf VP and CTO Global Field and Industry used the case of fictional pizza company, Elastic Sky Pizza, to show how this company that hadn’t adapted to the changes in the market place were now circling the drain. At the point that we enter the story a new CTO is literally just been appointed to the role and it’s their priority to turn the failing new website, app and ordering system around and make sure that it is delivered on time and on budget.

This section of the keynote carries on for nearly an hour, and while it does feel a tad long in places, it is really interesting to see how the many different businesses within VMware had developed products that interact with each other to deliver a common goal.

AppDefence is one product that stood out. This is a serious piece of kit that has the intelligence to understand the intrinsic way applications and the flow of data should work; and reports if anything deviates outside its allowed parameters. This is a huge leap in proactive application security allowing both the developers and security teams to work hand in hand to deploy robust applications. I feel that in time this will become part of a standard VMware environment, as I believe what AppDefence does in allowing you to understand what exactly is going on within your environment is the missing feedback loop you need to truly deliver an SDDC.

We also got a look at VMware cloud on AWS using elastic DRS and also HCX. Now these
solutions look cool and I can’t wait to try them out when I have some free time. Another great highlight was Pivotal Container Services (PKS) which lets you run an enterprise grade Kubernetes deployment on your site allowing for controlled project deployment for your DevOps teams. Not only was it easy to deploy it works hand in hand with NSX to build in security from day one.

With all of these technologies you get a sense of what VMware are trying to achieve with their portfolio, the ability to bridge the Hybrid cloud, and you can see the direction the company is heading in over the next twelve months. I recommend that if you have a chance, take a look at this recording on YouTube to truly appreciate the interaction and productivity you can achieve with the VMware ecosystem. But before you do buckle your seat belt as things move pretty fast.

If you would like to know a bit more about this and some more of what happened in Barcelona then please have a listen to the episode Reflecting on VMworld 2017 of Arrow bandwidth with both myself and Vince Payne.