MSPmentor Blog

Protecting Your Investment in Data

Data, Data, Data. Most of us can probably remember our first computer. There’s something nostalgic about it. For me, it was an Apple IIGS, and boy was it cool. The “GS” stood for “graphics and sound” and it had those in spades. It made my friends’ computers look like dinosaurs. And it was fast. It had one megabyte of RAM. A full megabyte! It was the fastest computer on the block, and with forty megabytes of hard disk space, we were set when it came to storage. It was a sweet machine and I’ll admit, I miss it occasionally.

We laughingly look back at those days and remember our incredulity at the ever-expanding hard disk sizes. Though it seems like a cliché now, I honestly remember looking at my first 1GB hard drive and saying, “when will I ever need more?” It seems that slowly, over time, we stopped asking that question and just accepted that we’re always going to need more.

According to one report, “the amount of data growth SMBs are experiencing is growing at a pace that doubles every 18 months.” That report was published in 2010, so it’s likely data growth has sped up even more since then, not to mention the fact that data kept by an SMB is probably just a drop in the bucket of what big companies need to save.

One of the results of this proliferation has been a change in our relationship with data itself. It has become the lifeblood of our everyday lives, our businesses, and every transaction we make. Entire industries have been born that do nothing but facilitate this data/user relationship. Here in Utah, where StorageCraft has its headquarters, entrepreneur Josh James made millions of dollars with Omniture (which he sold to Adobe) and is hoping to have similar luck with Domo, both companies that help businesses interact with their data and make better use of it.

Increasingly these days, there’s more to data than quantity. There’s the quality. We all know that not all data is created equal. Some of it is on the periphery and some of it can cripple your business if lost, but as our relationship with our data becomes more robust, that line between critical and non-critical begins to blur. One IDC report puts it like this,
"email messaging, desktop applications, and Web sites—usually not considered ‘mission-critical’ aspects of IT infrastructure—often act as critical junctions for other, remote business-critical applications and servers. As a result, these seemingly less crucial IT assets could potentially become ‘single points of failure’ for crucial applications."
In the same vein, Gartner reported in August 2011 that nearly twenty percent of business they surveyed considered at least fifty percent of their data mission critical. Fifty percent! And maybe more! (I know, that’s a lot of exclamation points.) Clearly, our data is more and more an integral part of our lives.

I think this is an opportunity when it comes to backup and disaster recovery. If you’re using image-based backup technology, then your disaster recovery software has unprecedented intimacy with your data. It literally knows what your data is doing at any given time. Right now, it uses that awesome power to provide insurance in case of a disaster, but I see plenty of ways users can tap the power to further develop their relationship with their data, especially when used in tandem with technologies like virtualization.

I explore a few of those ways in these two white papers here and here, but I’m more curious about your relationship with data. How has it evolved over the years? What would you like to see in the future? Do you see ways in which disaster recovery technology can improve that relationship?

Matt Rayback is a Marketing Writer at StorageCraft, which works closely with MSPs. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of StorageCraft’s guest blogs here.

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