In order to compete in the new digital economy, companies are going through something of an IT revolution. This revolution has seen the disruption of the vendor landscape and the re-organising of IT itself. So that vital innovation can be funded and agility achieved, traditional infrastructure costs need to be reduced and, so, the drive to modernise IT is in full swing, manifesting itself in quite possibly the greatest number of large-scale tech refreshes in IT history.
IT has historically experienced change as a series of incremental upgrades. But recent technology advances that offer significant benefits in scale, agility and cost are now driving companies to refresh their entire infrastructure. The most visible and disruptive of these technologies is cloud adoption but others include converged and hyper-converged infrastructure, non-relational/distributed databases, big data, scale out hardware and software defined.
However, one of the barriers many organisations face in implementing these changes is backup and recovery. This is because multiple backup/recovery products have been installed across the enterprise, causing complexity that is difficult to manage. These products were originally deployed to meet different needs, each bringing its own point of management, catalogue and discreet infrastructure. Mergers and acquisition activity, in particular, is a major cause of this product proliferation, as are tactical product selections, distributed purchasing, a lack of standards and short term C-suite appointments.
The outcome of this fragmented deployment is wasted resources, poor visibility and reporting and, worse, poor recoverability or limited recovery options. More painful still, these products rapidly become legacy systems, which can slow the adoption of new technologies needed for vital business initiatives. This leaves IT organisations stuck between more ‘band aid’ fixes or slower progress on modernisation.
But there is a solution . . . and this is to consolidate.
Consolidation simplifies the backup and recovery landscape considerably. It also provides businesses with a lean and efficient infrastructure and an enterprise-wide virtual repository, which can be a single point of management and reporting. Moreover, as the modern IT landscape is increasingly de-centralised and geographically dispersed – with data spread across cloud, datacentre, mobile and end points – creating a virtual repository is fundamental to establishing the visibility and control necessary to deliver other modern, enterprise-grade services such as cloud migration and workload portability.
With the backup and recovery environment consolidated, cloud adoption and migration can be accelerated, and many alternate use cases such as Cloud DR and Cloud Dev & Test are enabled. This joined-up approach reduces wasted infrastructure. In addition, with more efficient processes that are designed to work together from the outset, IT organisations can assemble themselves from point products. Correctly architected and deployed, backup/recovery moves from being a potential obstacle to progress to being a strategic enabler.
Another important consideration is that consolidation is only effective when a single modern platform is deployed. Some vendors with multiple acquired technologies would have the market believe that simply reducing the number of vendors is the answer, but this will not deliver the same result, as it takes a unifying technology to drive the efficiency and savings. The business case for consolidation is straightforward. It is built upon the savings that accrue from:
• Central control
• Comprehensive end-to-end reporting and visibility
• Simplified licence management
• A single maintenance renewal
• Centralised upgrades
• A reduced training burden
IT is going through a period of rapid change to meet the new challenges of the digital era. Budget allocations are shifting away from predominantly supporting operations and IT is reorganising to support the innovation and growth required. It is being asked to support fast-paced innovation and business growth, as well as supporting traditional applications and apply effective governance. In order to ease this process, consolidation has to be a key consideration, if businesses are to become truly agile.
Nigel Williams is the Senior Director, Marketing EMEA at Commvault.