If you are an IT professional at a SaaS provider, you know that data is the lifeblood of your company and by far the most critical asset in helping deliver a competitive edge. When SaaS providers have demanding applications, high availability and consistent performance enable a good customer experience and optimum profitability. It also ensures that these providers can meet stringent client service level agreements (SLAs) and avoid any potential cost penalties for missing SLA targets. All of this makes moving, storing and protecting data vitally important. In fact, 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Storage, Budgets & Outlook, 2017 found that 50% of organizations rely on their SaaS vendors for SaaS application data protection (backup and recovery).
Most SaaS providers have a business requirement to shrink their time for full data backup and restores. This requirement has two big business value implications. One is comprehensive data protection which if not done properly could put the provider’s entire business at risk. The other is meeting their SLAs. Legacy backup and restore technologies with their notoriously slow performance are simply not up to the task (The reasons for this are well articulated in my colleague Roy’s blog). This gap can expose the SaaS providers to the crippling effects of data loss or business downtime due to slow data recovery. In our conversations with SaaS customers around the world, we often hear horror stories about their struggles with these legacy backup and restore technologies. More often than not, restores take so long that IT teams miss their maintenance window to recover the data. Needless to say, this puts a major black eye on the IT department for no fault of their own.
Additionally, for any SaaS provider, the cost of IT is a large part of the cost of doing business. With legacy backup and restore solutions, the provider’s IT teams are forced to deploy additional storage silos for fast recovery snapshots. They also have to cope with demands of their test and Devops teams, provisioning clones of production databases for their environments. This adds infrastructure complexity and reduces the provider’s operational advantage and cost-efficiencies.
Lastly, there is the human element to consider. A primary focus area for database administrators (DBAs) is their database performance. Having to manage or tune infrastructure components would however put additional burdens on them administrators and take away time from their day to day responsibilities. However, if there is a database corruption or someone makes a mistake, the database administrator is tasked with quickly recovering the database. Any modern data-centric storage solution should have policy driven snapshot and replication capabilities to protect customers from such mishaps and allow DBAs to configure them to run on specific schedules or automate through a set of RESTful APIs.
Enter FlashBlade™ from Pure Storage, the industry’s most advanced file and object storage platform that consolidates data silos. With its elastic always-fast performance, FlashBlade can backup and restore data very rapidly and help SaaS providers easily meet SLAs. With the rapid speed of backup, SaaS providers can get the backup job completed within scheduled maintenance windows. One of our customers reported that a typical restore with their legacy technology would take approximately 3 hours 16 minutes. Now with FlashBlade, it is down to 8 minutes! How is this ultra-fast backup and recovery possible?? It is because FlashBlade has been architected from the ground up to be massively parallel, thus eliminating serial bottlenecks that hold data back. FlashBlade also enables SaaS providers to consolidate their previously siloed workloads – all in just 4U. What especially appeals to SaaS providers is the all-inclusive array software licensing. It includes many of the features they require, such as setting up replication for local resiliency and cross data-center disaster recovery. They also have automatic access to new array systems without having to update their license.
SaaS providers now have a choice to make when it comes to protecting their data and lifeblood. They can continue to persist with legacy storage systems that are just optimized to store data or choose a modern data-centric system like FlashBlade that is optimized to protect and deliver their data at record speed.
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