Backup Is Evil – Part 4 – Backup Contributes to Downtime
Planned vs. Unplanned Downtime
Traditional data protection strategies focus on reactive response to unplanned events and the associated unplanned downtime. Yet storage and consequent server and application unavailability result from both unplanned and planned downtime. According to some estimates over 80% of all downtime results is planned. Typically, somewhat more than half of this planned downtime is attributable to database backup while the maintenance, upgrading and replacement of application and system software, hardware and networks typically accounts for most of the rest of the time in this category (Enterprise Management Associates, Inc., 2002).
Although much of this planned downtime occurs during “non business” hours, changes to the business environment brought about by globalisation, online ordering, back office consolidation, more flexible work practices and many other factors means that the number of “non business” hours is gradually, but inexorably being reduced, while the amount of data that needs to be protected is growing exponentially.
There are also problems other than downtime itself that stem from data protection systems dependent on manual configuration and management. Highly skilled personnel with multiple skill sets are required to manage, configure, and optimize the performance of large, distributed data protection infrastructures. Unfortunately, at the same time as these individuals are becoming more difficult to hire and retain, traditional data protection regimes are forcing them to perform most of their implementation and troubleshooting at a time when most people would prefer to be in their beds or with their families. While the professionalism of data protection specialists is typically high, the pressures of late nights, increasing workloads and decreasing resources often lead to increases staff turnover with the consequent rise in data loss caused by human error.