After more than a decade of stagnation, the data recovery market is going through a pervasive transformation, according to one industry expert.
The most visible aspect of this was a clear shift in focus from backup to recovery, vice-president and research director at Gartner, Ray Paquet, said. Paquet was speaking at an international media conference hosted by Symantec. In his view, the change was both welcome and long overdue.
"In the end, backup doesn't matter, recovery does," Paquet said, noting that it had taken an inordinately long time for businesses -- big and small -- to realise this fact.
He said the new license spend in this market has been impressive -- $US2.5 billion in 2005 alone -- but the market itself had been remarkably stagnant, and the bulk of that expenditure had been on backup -- mainly backing data on to tape.
"The truth is you can backup all the data you want but if you can't recover it, it doesn't do any good, because it is recovery that end users actually seek." But all that is going to change quite dramatically, and quite soon.
By 2008, the analyst said, enterprises would be able to recover data to any point in time, as opposed to today, when recovery time for most logical errors was 24 hours.
Going by current recovery market trends, Paquet said, self-service recovery would be a reality by 2008-09.
"Instead of IT having to deliver recovery, end-users will be able to do their own recovery using self-service mechanisms."
He said businesses would eventually opt for Single Instance Store (SIS) as a means to store and recover data more efficiently.
SIS and self-service recovery, in turn, would be the fallout of the move towards continuous data protection (CDP). The industry would witness this in 2007-08. With CDP, the focus is not just on disk, but also on ensuring more granular recovery, he said.
According to Paquet, there was a clear move right now towards using disk to disk (rather than tape) as the primary recovery mechanism, so as to be able to recover even more significant points of time. This trend, he said, would continue through 2007.
The growing popularity of disks, he continued, had to do with price as well as performance. Serial ATA disks were driving disk prices down, he said, making the disk a more affordable recovery mechanism. In addition, it's a known fact that backups often fail and "disks decrease the frequency of backup failure," he said. "That's because with disks you can backup data without actually moving it. With no operators involved, failure rates decrease."
He said the current spotlight was on recovery time, and the goal to be able to recover quickly, but by 2007-08 the focus would be on recovery points -- losing less data, and in 2008, on end-user self-service for recovery.
The recovery of static data would remain the number one problem in storage up until 2015, the analyst said.
"Our IT infrastructure is as old as it's ever been. We are finding more uses for older equipment -- rather than retiring it. This means that older equipment must also have a level of recoverability."
Paquet related the results of the Gartner CIO Survey for 2005 that's based on responses from more than 1300 CIOs.