Backup is Useless; DR is Priceless

The two ugly truths about backups:

  1. It’s Schrödinger’s backup: the state of a backup isn’t known until you have to restore from it – you need to know if it’s going to save you if something happens.
  2. Backup systems are built for backing up data – not for recovery. It will take you days to recover your data center from backup systems. Mass recovery is not their design goal.

Disclaimer: I used to be the CTO of DataDomain, the pioneer of disruptive deduplication technology. DataDomain started selling disk backup systems during an era when tape was king. DataDomain was a huge leap for its time, just like BlackBerry was a huge leap for its time – until the iPhone showed up.

Times have changed – a lot. In today’s on-demand economy, we expect our IT systems to be always up and running. Any downtime now impacts customers, employees, and revenue. Disaster Recovery (DR) has become more important than ever before.


Ransomware is #1 Cause of DR Events

There are many causes of downtime: fires, hurricanes, etc. However, more and more, ransomware is now the leading cause of downtime. It’s a new and rapidly growing phenomenon. When ransomware hits, you can either pay up or try to fight it.



To fight back, you need to go back in time and recover data from your backup systems – at scale. If it takes days to recover, then you may be better off just paying the ransom. That’s exactly the ROI analysis the ransomware criminals are banking on – it will take you a lot of time to recover from backups. If you’re losing $1M per hour, and it takes you 24 hours to recover from backup systems, then maybe you’re just better off paying the $1M that the criminals are demanding. Ransomware is a business with a strategic ROI analysis.

Ransomware is similar to other disaster events. You need a plan to recover fast and smoothly. Unfortunately, most backup systems aren’t capable of rapid recovery. There are newer backup systems in the market today, with some improvements, but they still have the same issues. Backup systems fail in the precise moment you need them the most.


Why Is DR so Hard?

We’ve already established that backup systems aren’t built for rapid mass recovery. But backup is just one part of the issue. DR has always been a complex process across disparate systems, and DR has never been a single product. Every IT shop manages the DR process differently, and it’s mostly manual. As you can imagine, a manual and complex process is going to be a nightmare to manage, especially under duress. A senior IT admin once told me, “I pray there isn’t a disaster, but if there is one, I hope to die in it because I don’t want to deal with it.”



Everyone Is Ready for a New Transformation

Just like DataDomain was transformational in its time, we need a new technology that takes us to a better place in terms of how we all deal with disasters. We should be able to leverage technology to solve this problem, and just push a button to fail over an entire data center – without having to cobble together all the backup and DR software pieces manually. We live in a SaaS world, and we should expect better products to solve our complex problems.



Datrium: Simple to Use SaaS DR

At Datrium, we’ve converted a complex backup and DR process into an easy-to-use SaaS product. We’ve done many things to simplify your backup and DR problems, and we worked closely with VMware Cloud on AWS to make it possible. Backups are deduped and stored on S3 in a steady-state. Runbook automation instantly turns these backups into live VMs during a DR event. You get instant RTO for 1000s of VMs.

Plus, you only pay for resources when you use them in a disaster or testing. That’s how cloud is supposed to be used – elastic and pay as you go. It’s like paying for insurance after you have a car accident.



Modern Problems Need Modern Solutions

Purpose-built backup systems are useless for the modern world because backup products aren’t designed for rapid mass recovery. When you’re under stress during a disaster, you really need a one-click DR strategy to fail over your entire data center – instantly, with total confidence. We have deep modern tech which makes that possible. Contact us to see a demo on how we make your DR easy, fast, and cost-effective.