Nothing quite changes like IT. We have gone from incredibly manual, thought-requiring human processes to handling petabytes of data to make a single decision. In essence, our requirements have changed to meet our real-world needs, whether such change has been to improve performance, capacity, or other needs. Requirements rule the world of IT. Recently, we have seen an additional shift in requirements. TVP Strategy is currently looking at a small set of IT: data protection. Our approach has been to produce a coverage graph. The graph gives us a nice visual on how vendors’ products match up. But that is not all. We recently did some analysis comparing products over time as our coverage graph requirements have evolved. The results of these comparisons over time are very interesting.
We know vendors’ products change over time, but did you know that the ideal requirements are changing as well? Requirements are changing not at glacial speed but rather quite rapidly. Tracking that change used to be quite difficult. In the following multi-axis radar graph, we have two desired states. “Desired State” represents the current ideal requirements in multiple categories, and “Previous State” represents previous ideal requirements in those categories.
In this graph, we can see a shift in our data protection requirements. Requirements now include more recovery methods, data management methods, and security functions. We can also see growth in the platforms supported. This is the world of the secure and protected hybrid cloud. Just telling someone you do Disaster Recovery as a Service is no longer enough. They want to know into which clouds, who controls the cloud or hosted environment, and even where those environments are running. We are looking for ways to manage the data transport between clouds, between a data center and a cloud, and between data centers.
Vendors are trying to differentiate themselves by stating that they have feature x, while consumers are looking for either the same feature or a modification of that feature to meet their goals and needs. We have entered a world of constant change.
We still have not figured out all the ins and outs of the hybrid cloud, but we do know we need to protect it better. We know we need to manage how we transfer data between services. We also need to use analytics to better understand our data and to have the software make intelligent decisions on how to manage our data. However, we cannot rule out all the other changes. We need more security as well.
The multi-axis radar graph shows that at this point in time, Security and Recovery mechanisms are the most important, but a close second is Data Management. We could sum this up as the intelligent yet secure recovery of data to and from various locations. A growing number of companies find data protection too complex, so they are handing off their data protection needs to MSPs. We may not see this in the Fortune 2000, but we do see it increasingly in the medium to large enterprise space. These companies know they need data protection, but they may not know how to go about it. It is a growing market. This is also why we added a new axis to our radar graph: Hardware.
Hardware is not just about having a local physical or virtual appliance: it is also about the relationship between recovery and the tools to achieve that recovery. In many cases, this category is about the place to which recovery can take place: not the how of the recovery, but the where. We start to see jurisdictional issues come to light when we look at this aspect of data protection. We also see how DRaaS plays within the various clouds. Is this your cloud account, such as with Amazon AWS, or is this a part of a hosted environment run by the vendor? Which you use depends on how much control you require.
Security goes hand in hand with the levels of control you require. So does the need for further integration with ransomware detection tools.
All we know in the IT world is that change will happen. We are seeing a shift now in the data protection realm. We are seeing vendors shift to meet that need. The only truth about the future is that it will require change.