Data protection — especially data backup — is one of those IT elements that’s always hanging around but often ignored, like your refrigerator’s Wi-Fi. Long tolerated as an expensive “insurance policy,” backup doesn’t get enough love. 

However, in these ransomware troubled times, backup admins are garnering new-found respect. And they should, because they might save your organization.

A Short History of Data Backups

But what about backup itself? Backup modernization seems to come in leaps, not incremental steps. I’ve been around the space long enough to remember a lot of technical leaps that changed the game. Do any of these ring a bell?

  • Multi-streaming backups to tape. Wow, that got faster! And just in time, since I have almost 10 GB to back up!
  • Tape RAID. Ok, that was a total bust.
  • Backup to disk. Boy, this is fast, but it’s way too expensive. And now I have a bunch of files on disk? 
  • Backup to VTL (Virtual Tape Library). It’s like tape, only diskier!
  • Backup to disk/VTL with deduplication. The game changer! It’s finally cost-effective.
  • Agentless VMware backups. This is so cool! But how do you pronounce “Veeam”?
  • Instant recovery from backup images. So much faster and simpler.
  • Data re-use using backup images. Backups shouldn’t be a data graveyard: make use of that data. 

And then nothing happened for a while.

Innovations like VTL, deduplication, and agentless VMware backups were true paradigm shifts in backup modernization that let us back up in genuinely new and better ways. 

There have been many incremental improvements since (like changed-block-tracking backups from VMware and much better user interfaces). But where are the game changers? 

You might make an argument for cloud, but I’d say that’s more for an archive tier. Cloud is a game changer for the home user and small businesses.—but not so much for an enterprise that still relies on local, data center backup.

Why All-Flash Storage Is A Data Backup Game Changer

What about the next backup modernization game changer? Well, it turns out the next game changer already happened. Only not everyone’s noticed yet. 

I’m talking about using all-flash as a backup target. 

A common reaction is, “I’d love to do that. I’d also like to drive a Ferrari. But they’re both too expensive and beyond my budget.”

Are they really? Yeah, the Ferrari for sure. But is all-flash viable as a backup target? Absolutely, when you look at Pure Storage® FlashBlade™. Consider the following:

  • Faster backups. And fast always matters with backups. And it works with your current backup software, too. No change needed.
  • Much, much faster restores. No kidding. We’ve seen cases of 40x improvements in recovery time. Since numbers like “40 times” can be hard to grasp in the abstract, imagine that instead of eating one hot dog you had to eat 40 hot dogs. You get the idea. 40x is a HUGE difference. How much is 40x less downtime for a critical application worth? Faster restores also greatly enable data re-use scenarios. For instance, if you can drastically shrink database copy times, you can really speed up dev-test processes.  
  • Reduced rack density, power, and cooling needs. We’ve seen racks of legacy backup appliances replaced with a single FlashBlade, which consumes about the same power as a toaster oven. And FlashBlade never needs more than eight ports and cables. Crazy, I know.
  • Linear scalability. Adding a blade in FlashBlade adds storage capacity, compute, and networking. This means no performance degradation as you scale. And unlike backup appliances, it doesn’t get slower as it fills up with data.
  • No more forklift upgrades. Remember the last time you had to upgrade all those backup appliances and migrate all that data and redo all your backup jobs? And to add insult to injury your maintenance costs went up and you had to re-buy a bunch of storage? Yeah, you remember that. Wouldn’t it be nice to never worry about that again?
  • Proactive support. With Pure1® management, you gain the benefits of an extensive customer network that monitors over a trillion data points a day. One result is that more than 60% of Pure technical services calls are outbound and proactive. Customers love it. The proof? Our customer experience NPS score is 93,  which is in the top 1% of all businesses.

To sum up, while your dollars-per-TB might be more expensive to go with all-flash, the total cost of ownership can be substantially less. (Or it might not be. Have you checked your TCO lately?) Additionally, if you’ve managed to recover data from a ransomware attack in a day instead of a week, or a week instead of a month, how much is that worth?

Yes, backup is still an “insurance policy.” But now it’s an insurance policy for a high-crime area, including your network and the continual attacks made against it. And if you thought backup had finished leaping forward, maybe it just did it while you weren’t looking.

Wondering what the next big thing in backup is? It’s already here thanks to Pure. Take a FlashBlade test drive.