As data explodes within businesses, Veeam Software Co-Founder Ratmir Timashev has ideas on how they can manage it intelligently.
No challenge is more vital to modern business than that presented by data management. As data grows exponentially within organizations and more businesses realize the power of analytics, they need intelligent solutions to store and protect their data.
BizTech discussed these issues with Ratmir Timashev, co-founder and executive vice president of Veeam Software, one of the leading providers of storage, backup and disaster recovery solutions.
SEE MORE: Check out how small businesses can use the cloud as a strategic business driver.
BIZTECH: You speak often about businesses’ data management journey. What does that journey entail, and how far along on it are most businesses today?
TIMASHEV: We think there are five stages in that journey. The basic stage is backup, and most businesses today — about 60 percent — say they have to update their legacy backup in the next 24 months. They will either completely replace or augment their existing backup process, tools and practices.
The next stage is what we call aggregation, and that’s when you use your data for additional business purposes. For example, you might want to use the same backup data to create a sandbox environment for testing and development, or for security to test software updates for compliance. Or for analytics.
The third stage is when you get full visibility about where your data is in a multicloud world, and you understand how your data is changing.
The fourth stage, orchestration, is where you actually want to coordinate data movement and recovery. When you have more systems and more data, the process has to be orchestrated. In case of a disaster, you want to restore your systems by following certain steps. For example, when you restore your mail server, first you have to restore your Active Directory servers, the DNS servers, and then your Exchange Server.
The final stage is automation. This is the ultimate stage, where everything is done without human intervention: The system understands what’s happening and acts automatically. Even in a well-orchestrated system that isn’t fully automated, a human still has to act — someone has to push the “restore” button. When you reach the automation stage, the system understands that, for example, I have ransomware in the network. It takes the backup and then it deletes the ransomware and restores the system automatically.
BIZTECH: If most businesses today are still at the first stage of this process, what does it take to make it all the way through?
TIMASHEV: Some of them are implementing different components from different stages at various times. It’s not necessarily a linear journey, where a business moves in a straight line from one stage to the next. They’re adding components from different stages along the way, as the needs of the business demand.
But fundamentally, while data management is a hot topic, most companies’ budgets are allocated mainly to modernizing data backup. That’s because it’s urgent: Businesses see their data is growing, they’re running out of capacity, they need more storage, more software, more processes and people. So today, the budgets are for backup. And I think it’s always going to be like that.
BIZTECH: Does that mean that ambitious data management projects will always be the purview of big companies with deep pockets?
TIMASHEV: No. The more advanced aspects of data management become more important as customer requirements, security requirements and government regulations make them more important. You’ll have to have visibility into your data, you have to use it for other business objectives, and so on, as business and regulatory requirements put more pressure on IT.
The main issues that companies are facing are all around data growth, data sprawl and data criticality. Data itself, of course, has become much more critical to the success of businesses, and that means it has to be restored much more quickly. And there’s a lot more of it: The amount of data in a typical environment doubles every two years. And the data has sprawled — it’s spread out across multiple data centers and hybrid cloud environments. So, managing all this data has become a lot more complicated.
MORE FROM BIZTECH: Data lakes can help take analytics to the next level.
BIZTECH: How are businesses responding to that challenge?
TIMASHEV: Last year and this year is the time when companies are having to think about, architect and implement hybrid and multicloud strategies. Until 2018, there was a lot of talk about cloud, but in reality, 99 percent of computing environments were handled on-prem. Then, starting last year and accelerating in 2019, there is big pressure on CIOs to reduce the cost of IT while providing more to the business.
There’s pressure to come up with a strategy for IT to move faster, leveraging the public cloud. Businesses need help in migrating to the public cloud and then they need help managing and backing up the data in the cloud and moving data between different clouds.
BIZTECH: What should CIOs be most concerned about as they start to make that transition to multicloud environments?
TIMASHEV: Mostly security and cost optimization. A business might think that if they move to a public cloud provider, their data is protected by the provider. No: The infrastructure is protected — the cloud provider is responsible for protecting the infrastructure — but the data is your responsibility.
For cost optimization, you have to be able to move the data in and out of the cloud provider. Only if the provider knows you can move data in and out easily can you optimize costs. When the customer has this flexibility, they have the power to negotiate better deals with Azure and other cloud providers.