By Tom Giuliano, Senior Product Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems Division
Accidents will happen if you ride long enough. The question is, are you prepared for one?
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an avid cyclist. I started road racing at a fairly young age with a local team, and in the course of our training and races we routinely found ourselves screaming down hills in tightly packed groups at over 50 MPH. We endured plenty of close calls with potholes, fences, curbs and the occasional dog crossing the road. The interesting part is that we often rode without helmets.
Looking back it was pretty scary. I luckily only got hurt once during a race (well, after the race on the way back to the team bus….). A drunk driver cut me off. Big dent in his car (compliments of my knee), big scar on my chin, some road rash…you get the picture. That wasn’t supposed to happen. He wasn’t supposed to be there. I have no idea how my head didn’t contact something hard enough to break it!
So why am I telling you this story? Well, we rode without helmets (read: protection) because, in some cases, we simply ignored the risk and hoped for the best. Besides, helmets in the mid-1980’s were ugly and heavy. But, that one time where fate (or just bad luck) caught up with me, I sure wished I had had that extra bit of protection (and had worn that helmet!)
OK, enough bicycling background….why the painful trip down memory lane and, more importantly, why did I take on such an unacceptable level of risk? The answer is simple: I was young and arrogant and thought nothing could happen to me. Until that unfortunate incident I didn’t fully comprehend the dangers and the resultant impacts.
With age (and experience) comes wisdom. Today I see backup and recovery and storage administrators regularly skirting a similar risk. They are riding their rapidly growing, changing, virtualized data protection environments full of business-critical data without a helmet (yep, I’m talking about extra protection here). Sure, they can try to get by using the limited, built-in reporting functions in their one or two backup applications to check that nothing bad happened. But, at the same time, environments continue to increase in complexity, and IT professionals are charged with managing all the disparate components and delivering IT as a service while ensuring everything is working and performing as expected for their customers.
The questions IT professionals need to ask themselves include, “Do I have the comprehensive, environment-wide visibility I need?” Can I meet my SLA’s?” “What is my critical data exposure and is my data safe and recoverable?” And possibly the most important overall question is, “Do I understand the risk associated with my data protection environment, and what am I doing about it?”
With today’s complex environments it’s virtually impossible to manually see into every facet of every component to ensure it’s performing as it should all the time. And without that comprehensive visibility there’s inherent risk. That’s why we have data protection management solutions such as EMC Data Protection Advisor.
Data Protection Advisor (DPA) enables IT professionals to prove protection through real-time views of the entire backup and recovery environment. This helps IT professionals to understand potential risks and exposures in data protection strategies across multiple backup products and domains. Advanced fault diagnosis and complete control over report intervals makes users aware of possible recovery exposure before disaster occurs.
Extensive reporting in DPA helps ensure that established backup SLA’s are being met. IT professionals and their customers can quickly identify areas of success, providing peace of mind that a system is working, applications are recoverable, and data is safe. And, DPA reduces all the complexity with a single console to provide an integrated, automated view to allow companies to lower costs through the improved use of their infrastructure, avoiding unnecessary purchases and reducing manual effort.
And unlike the ugly and heavy biking helmets 20+ years ago, data protection management solutions like Data Protection Advisor are sleek and user-friendly for IT professionals and their customers.
Of course, I didn’t give up on cycling after that early evening crash. Heck, I was at the bike shop building up a new ride the day after (stitches, bruises and all). Again, I was lucky to have avoided a complete catastrophe that time. Other than the cost of my bike, some medical bills and some scars, the only long-term impact was that I’d learned a painful lesson. In my case the accident didn’t result in a missed SLA or loss of business critical data, or my job.
Looking back I wish I’d had that extra bit of protection in case I needed it. I ALWAYS wear a helmet today – in my eyes there’s no such thing as being too prepared or having too much protection.