Very loosely, we were instructed to delete everything pre dot com bubble bursting (2000), keep everything post and now we are fast running out of data centre disk allocation space, err?
In fact it’s wonder we manage to do anything given the amount of information we need to process. As a consequence we are now facing a greater threat – too much information. There are somewhere between 60 to 160 Billion mails sent around the world every single day. These emails include attachments such as reports, presentations, letters and pictures. In spite of the limitations such as privacy and too much unwanted mail, email is the best way to communicate efficiently, quickly and cheaply. The danger with email, as with any other way of sharing information, is that too much information simply clogs the system up and become a bottleneck to productivity.
Here are some useful top tips that may help:
- Understand the new business user – organisations must better understand the challenges employees are facing when navigating the world of information management. Look at when and how employees are accessing their information, make sure that data is indexed and categorised, and that intelligent archiving and search tools are available
- Prepare the infrastructure – with the relentless flow of information only set to continue, IT infrastructure must be able to cost effectively manage the increasing requirements for storage by implementing solutions able to dedupe and archive appropriately, automate processes and monitor and report on system status across all different devices and environments
- Prepare people – create IT policies that educate employees on how to manage their information – from email practices like limiting the ‘CC’ and ‘reply to all culture’, to saving only the latest document version and overcoming the fear of the delete button. Help employees understand the company’s information retention strategy so they know what information is recoverable. This will empower them to take charge of information control and maintain productivity and efficiency
- Keep security front of mind – it seems like an obvious statement, but reinforcing company security policies around mobile devices could protect against significant and damaging data loss. Make sure employees know the company processes and take advantage of technologies that enable the IT department to see where the most important information is, at all times
- Encourage staff to switch off – with the information era in full swing and with more and more opportunity for employees to stay connected at all times, it’s important that organisations support staff welfare and encourage them to switch off every once in a while
Seriously consider optimising your storage to reduce overall front end storage usage. Improving capacity can be done through integrated archiving and deduplication as well as tiering your storage. Archiving moves old data to a separate store so you don’t have to backup the same data day-in, day-out – forever. Deduplication only backs up data (at a block level) once, using a pointer to the unique data. So you can both reduce the amount you backup as well as dramatically reducing your backup window with archiving and data deduplication.
But, I hear you say, if I implement deduplication technology what are the benefits? Well, Backup Exec can help with that too. Read all about the Backup Exec Deduplication Assessment Tool in Part III.
Yes, it’s true – we are becoming a nation of information addicts – at least according to a survey Symantec recently carried out. Symantec wanted to find out more about how the so-called information explosion is affecting the everyday lives of British office workers. What was abundantly clear is that we are all suffering from this 21st century ailment – Information Overload – sounds like a Tom Cruise film, or AC/DC album – and it is overtaking not only our working lives, but our personal ones too.
Accessing work information out of hours, compulsively checking emails, texts and social media and hoarding endless emails and multiple versions of the same file are all symptoms of information overload experienced by those we surveyed. See the stats here.
But whereas the technology enabling us to do this (fantastic mobile devices and faster connectivity) all purport to make us more productive in the workplace, is our mismanagement of information actually counter-productive?
IDC has recently estimated that in 2011 over 1.8 Zetabytes of information was created and replicated (IDC, “The 2011 Digital Universe Study: Extracting Value from Chaos”) and if we go by Moore’s Law this will continue to grow almost immeasurably over the coming years. What does this mean for our state of mind and the systems we work with – will we reach a moment when we are essentially ‘drowning’ in information?
Not if the technologies that store and manage information also continue to improve. We are working very hard to make managing information easier, faster and more efficient for businesses of all sizes. This means making sure that what is actually useful and valuable is stored, archived and backed up correctly, while the rest is relegated to permanent deletion.
But technology can only go so far, some of the onus is still on businesses and individuals to moderate their work behaviour to take into account this new work paradigm.
Part II – What can we do about it?
– with improvements in virtualization backup, archiving, and security
Backup Exec 2010 R3 continues with our “R” series of releases – new features, new capabilities, and continued improvement to our award-winning backup and recovery application.
There’s quite a bit of goodness in this release. Since Symantec as a company has focused heavily in the virtualization space, it stands to reason that many of the improvements in Backup Exec 2010 R3 revolve around virtualization. But that’s not all we improved in this release!
If you backup and restore VMware with Backup Exec and the Deduplication Option, this update is for you. We’ve made significant improvement to the Deduplication engine regarding VMware backups – you should see significant improvement in the Deduplication rates with Backup Exec 2010 R3 compared to previous versions of Backup Exec. In our environments we’ve seen 30%, 50%, or higher data reduction rates with the Backup Exec 2010 R3 compared to previous versions. If you use Backup Exec and you want better Deduplication ratios with VMware backups, then this is the update for you.
(And don’t worry, Hyper-V users – we haven’t forgotten about you – we’ll have good news for you in the next major release of Backup Exec. So be patient, and we’ll get Hyper-V Deduplication into Backup Exec as soon as we can.)
We’ve added a new plug-in – the Backup Exec Management Plugin for VMware – to the mix, too. This utility allows you to monitor backups made with the Agent for VMware from within a vSphere Client or vCenter installation. Administrators can get all sorts of insight into Backup Exec jobs, including a status view of all VM’s, last backup run, next scheduled backup, what type of backup occurred, and allows administrators to drill down into Backup Exec backup job logs. This is a completely free update that is very useful for VMware administrators who use Backup Exec.
Plus, we’ve improved a number of other areas involving deduplication in virtual environments since Backup Exec 2010 R2 was released. If you protect VMware, use Deduplication, or use Application GRT for SQL, Exchange or Active Directory, this update also a great fit for you.
Archiving has seen some love, too – especially the Exchange Mailbox Archiving Option. We now support Archiving from Exchange 2010 SP1! So those administrators who have been looking to move or have moved to latest and greatest messaging platform from Microsoft, we support backup, recovery, and storage management through Archiving with Backup Exec 2010 R3. In addition to new platform support, we’ve also introduced Virtual Vault for the Exchange Mailbox Archiving Option. This Outlook Plug-In allows end users to see Archived emails directly from within Outlook – meaning that users never need to leave the familiar Outlook interface to search, view, and reply to Archived emails.
The Agent for Enterprise Vault has seen some improved platform support. We now support backup, recovery, and migration from Enterprise Vault 10 installations. Enterprise Vault is the flagship Archiving product from Symantec, and we are committed to supporting the latest and greatest releases of the Enterprise Vault application.
We’ve also done some work with our underlying security infrastructure. Backup Exec 2010 R3 now provides TSL/SSL support from the agent to the server, providing an extra layer of security for customers that transmit backup data across the WAN or to a private cloud. Essentially, the Backup Exec Media Server becomes its own Certificate Authority (CA) with the power to sign certificates, establishing identity and trust. This now encrypts the control and data connections between the media server and remote agents. This added security features will help ensure that backed up data sent over any network or Internet connection is secure.
And last but not least, Backup Exec 2010 R3 brings support for the latest versions of Microsoft Small Business Server 2011. Both SBS 2011 Essentials and SBS 2011 Standard, along with the SBS 2011 Premium Add-On, are supported with Backup Exec 2010 R3.
To sum up, we’ve done a lot of work to make Backup Exec more effective in VMware environments, more secure, and even better suited to backup and protect your environments. We’ve produced a short “What’s New in Backup Exec 2010 R3” webcast that you can find that on www.BackupExec.com– with an introduction to Backup Exec 2010 R3. If you already own Backup Exec 2010 or Backup Exec 2010 R2, this is a no-cost upgrade for you. If you are interested in evaluating Backup Exec 2010 R3, you can download trialware from www.BackupExec.com.
Aiden Finley, Backup Exec Product Management
See Symantec Connect
I need a new service, so I need an application, and a new server, and perhaps some storage … and if we’re lucky we ask ourselves “oh, yes, what about the backup?” Have you noticed how really never turn IT off, we just add to it. So we end up with a backup strategy that encompassed everything 3 or 4 years ago, but one that falls pretty short today; that’s how it really works.
Even though we know that we really should backup all our data – just in case – are we absolutely convinced we actually are? Backup is our critical data protection solution and yet we rarely review our backup strategy.
With server virtualisation, the need for fast reliable application recovery, the exponential growth of unstructured data and poor data lifecycle management are some of the root causes of operational inefficiencies in IT and why we are change the way we approach our backup strategies.
With more and more companies adopting virtualisation technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce CAPEX costs, organisations are looking for ways of protecting both virtual and physical environments with a single backup tool. It makes sense to use a solution that gives you granular recovery from a single pass backup, saving time, money and any amount of effort – don’t use separate tools and end up backing up the backup it turns the recovery process into a nightmare!
The backup and recovery of Microsoft Applications is an inherently challenging process that becomes more difficult as the databases grow and the demands on its online availability increases, further limiting the time available for backup and recovery operations. Granular Recovery of Exchange, SQL and Active Directory from a single pass backup makes it easy and efficient to identify and recover only those objects needed.
Optimising storage to reduce overall storage capacity can be done through integrated archiving and deduplication. Archiving moves old data to a separate store so you don’t have to backup the same data day-in, day-out – forever. Deduplication only backs up data (at a block level) once, using a pointer to the unique data. You can reduce the backup window dramatically with both archiving and data deduplication.
Backup Exec 2010
Backup Exec Agents and Options enhance and extend platform and feature support for your backup environments for Microsoft applications, virtual environments (VMware and Microsoft Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V) as well as storage reduction or optimisation technologies.
… or so Computerworld UK said on Monday. Something that I’ve been saying for 3 years – but, hey, what do I know? According to Computerworld UK the consumerisation of IT is an unavoidable phenomenon that will force businesses to rethink their security policies. What about all that stuff some poor soul will have to back up? CIOs need to deal with consumerisation. For many years we were able to say to our end users – “no you can’t have that”, or “no we don’t support this”. But those days are over. The security of this phenomenon is certainly a concern, but IDC reckon that 80% of data created by individual consumers will end up on corporate networks. This will inevitably cause a overload on our already overloaded systems. Until we have the management capabilities for streaming applications to the desktop (oh, sorry Symantec already does that). OK, so when we get around to migrating to this model where all our data is help inside the network consumerisation won’t be nearly as scary – until then data growth will continue on its upward curve.
That’s why deduplication and archiving are key to our backup strategies. We are challenged with managing and protecting the ever-increasing amounts of data. Backup Exec offer deduplication across physical and virtual machines to reduce the length and size of backups. Deduplication has the power to transform information management; it is great for backup, it is great for archiving, and can even make virtualised server backup manageable. Symantec believes that deduplication should live in every part of the information architecture.
Much of the content produced now consists of email, documents, presentations, and other types of unstructured information. This explosion of information has a significant impact on storage spending and IT’s ability to meet the needs of its internal customers and business units. Backup Exec’s integrated archiving option is focused on reducing the amount of information backed up. Together with Enterprise Vault (EV), Backup Exec’s Agent for EV helps organisations to unify content sources, apply retention policies, reduce backup windows, shorten recovery times, and optimise storage resources making it easier for companies of all sizes to store, manage, and protect all unstructured data.
The European Union parliament’s Data Retention Directive of 1995 is under review (again). The directive means that ISPs, fixed and mobile telephone companies must retain traffic, location and subscriber information of all their customers. The directive has been taken up by 20 odd member states but because of the scale of the data collected is absolutely massive, it’s pretty unpopular.
Although data retention makes absolute sense in most cases we really are reaching the point where more intelligent retention of information is a must. (I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping my pension company keep my records for at least my lifetime … which, by the way, wasn’t the case some years ago for some poor soul whose records were deleted when he was only in his third year of retirement!) You can pretty much see our retention policies by pre dotcom collapse, post dotcom collapse and post 14th September 2008 crash: “delete everything”, “keep everything” and “it depends”.
The EU Commission show that on average there around 3 million requests for information across the EU. However 90% of the requests are for data that’s less than 6 months old. It makes you wonder why organisations that are subject to the directive don’t implement an archiving solution of 6 months … perhaps they do?