Organisational databases are not created by a single individual with a single access device. These databases grow and the growth is fed by multiple users inputting data from multiple devices from diverse locations. The data is often shared across devices by users attempting to collaborate. As a result, data is downloaded and stored on local devices for instant access and use. This results in disorganised duplication of same, similar or slightly modified version of the information and storage of such data at multiple locations.
The IT Administrator entrusted with the task of consolidation backup and recovery of information for the organisation is often flummoxed by the infinite number of times a single piece of information is duplicated across the organisation. If each piece of information is to be checked for duplication manually and then dropped into the backup basket, the task will be gruelling to say the least and will assume nightmarish proportions for the individual over a period of time. De-duplication technologies are used to automate the task of identifying and eliminating duplicates of information during the process of consolidation.
Most cloud backup and recovery software come with integrated de-duplication technologies. The IT Administrator has to begin the process of consolidation by identifying a primary backup set for seeding the backup repository. Each piece of information is encoded with a hash algorithm that is unique to the file/folder or block of information seeded. Backup of data from every other device connecting to the enterprise network is also encoded with the hash algorithm and hash algorithms are compared for identifying any duplicate information that may exist in the current backup set. All duplicates are then eliminated and references to the original information is stored in place of the duplicates in case the data has to be recovered to a new device with all duplicates intact.
De-duplication is often described as a compression function. This is because the removal of data compresses the volume of information that is ultimately stored in the cloud database. Moreover, compression functions in a sense remove duplicates of information at granular levels within the file or folder. For instance compression removes all the spaces between words to reduce the amount of space that is occupied by the data in the storage repository. However, the two functions differ from each other in purpose and scope. De-duplication attempts to remove duplicates of information to rationalise the data stored in the database. Compression is purely a functionality used to save on space. The process of de-duplication and compression will have to be reversed at the time of recovery, in order to obtain the complete data set from the storage.
The bottom line is profit. No organisation can afford to have a backup and recovery system that consumes more resources than it can afford. So, calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) on backup and recovery is a business imperative. But, how does one calculate the ROI? Here is a glimpse into factors that go into the calculation of the ROI on digital assets.
Start with the available data management technologies. Remember, the cost of re-engineering using similar new or existing technologies will be enormous when compared with the cost of using the newer technologies that are available in the market. For instance, the cloud will present a more cost effective method of backup and recovery when compared to offline backup, tape backup, and recovery methods. The difference between what you will invest on offline technologies and online backup and recovery technologies is the first low hanging fruit you can harvest!
Unlike other physical assets, data is an asset that has peculiar characteristics. A data asset must be accessible to your employees anywhere, anytime and on any device to be meaningful. The asset, consequently, tends to get distributed, replicated, duplicated and stored on multiple devices across the enterprise. The vulnerability of the asset increases in proportion to the number of times it is replicated and duplicated. Security systems for protecting this asset acts as a drain on the resources. Consolidation of data into a single data repository that can be centrally protected and universally accessed makes a lot of business sense. Costs can be brought down, while security need not be compromised and access need not be denied. Productivity can be maintained or even enhanced as more and more mobile workforces are given access to the data on the go.
Regulatory compliance is a major consideration in the management of data assets. Distributed data with minimal security results in a number of compliance headaches. Centralised data and data management systems ensures controls, data consistency across the organisation, and facilitates compliance. Risks of non-compliance are significantly reduced and hard dollar costs to the company can be avoided.
Digital assets must be hedged against disaster. Disaster recovery is an expensive proposition. It is often ignored or neglected for this reason. However, disaster recovery is automatic and part of the packaging for cloud offerings. No specialised efforts are required and no separate teams need to be deployed for managing and maintaining disaster recovery protocols (if any) that may be instituted. The actual exercise of replicating information and keeping it highly available for business use is abstracted to the cloud service provider. All this reduces costs and increases profitability of the digital asset.