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Why Data Protection Needs to be Unified, Simple and Flexible in the Data Sprawl Era

Since it was founded in 2003, StorageCraft has gained a strong reputation for being a data protection and recovery leader in the SMB market. With the unpredictable and exponential data growth that we’re seeing, requirements for data protection have changed tremendously. We’re seeing more vendors in this space moving towards strengthening the data management side of things on top of keeping customers’ data safe in order to deal with the data sprawl.
 
To find out how StorageCraft has evolved to meet the challenges of today’s organisations, we interviewed the company’s Head of Sales for the APAC region, Marina Brook, in line with the company’s latest release of their next-gen products, OneXafe and ShadowXafe.

According to Marina, some of the main challenges faced by companies today when it comes to managing and protecting their data are the hard costs that come from having to manage a multitude of different products.  She points out that the multi-product approach is both inefficient and significantly drives up complexity.
 
The rapid increase in the cost of downtime and data loss means businesses are looking for quicker and more flexible recovery options. Companies need to be able to restore their data effectively, efficiently and in a very quick time frame. Despite this, for many small and mid-sized companies, data recovery and business continuity still remain an afterthought. In Marina’s experience, it’s not uncommon for customers to lack a proper disaster recovery (DR) plan in order to deal with unexpected business disruptions. In addition, she highlights that even where companies do have a DR plan in place, more often than not, they do not have a policy to test it.
 
Marina stressed the importance of having a solid DR plan and testing it regularly so that they know that when it really matters, they can recover 100% and keep their business running. How often counts as “regularly”? Marina said it depends on whether the companies do the testing themselves or leave it to service providers. But most MSPs do at least a monthly testing.
 
Flexibility and Scalability to Cater to Different Needs

Touching on the issues surrounding data explosion and rapid growth in data sprawl, Marina mentioned that storage has become a major concern for many companies. While there was a big rush to cloud in the early half of the decade, today’s businesses prefer to take the hybrid approach by evaluating what data they need to protect, what is critical and what needs to go to the cloud.

“I think there’s a high cost associated with using multiple products for data protection. There are many customers that have different storage silos and when they max out, when they’re full, there’s always a very high cost of ripping it out and doing forklift upgrades. Looking for ways to consolidate and have one vendor potentially offer data protection is what we’re hearing from customers. I think that is an area where StorageCraft can definitely help by eliminating those forklift upgrades and having a very scalable storage model that grows with the business,” Marina commented.

With OneXafe, StorageCraft continues its venture into data management since the acquisition of Exablox in early 2017. It is an appliance that integrates Exablox’s scale-out storage technology with StorageCraft’s data protection and recovery services – providing a platform for both primary and secondary storage which comes with built-in data protection and integrated with DRaaS – targeted for the mid-sized enterprise segment. Meanwhile, ShadowXafe is the company’s software driven data protection offering that can be licensed with or without the storage.

Marina added, “It’s a scalable model in the sense of you don’t have to rip/replace, it can grow with the business, you can bring your own drives – whether they’re hard drives or flash drives. You’re not locked into any one single drive vendor. So from a cost perspective, you’re saving a lot. You scale out and it grows up to almost a petabyte depending on the model that you have.”

SLA-Based, Policy-Driven Approach

One key differentiator of StorageCraft’s approach to provide a seamless backup, recovery and data management platform for their new products lies in their SLA-driven mechanism that allows customers to set up their backup and recovery policies in just a few clicks. Customers can easily configure how often they want to take a snapshot of their data or how many recovery points they want to have, what storage platform the data will be saved on and where they want their data to be replicated.

“We recognise the fact that customers and partners that deliver services, whether externally or internally, have certain service levels or KPIs that they need to meet. So the way that we’ve set up the SLA-driven policies is that once they’re configured, customers can easily roll them out to any number of virtual or physical machines across their entire environment.” Marina added, “There are different dashboards and analytical reports that you can view to see if you’ve met your SLA and if you haven’t, why not and what happened. The reporting options also allow you to see how healthy your environment is.”

The new offerings and approaches help not only StorageCraft’s customers, but also MSPs and partners to better serve their customers. With features such as the one-click failover to the StorageCraft Cloud, partners can now add on a DRaaS (end-to-end business continuity) to the mix while StorageCraft manages the entire infrastructure. In addition, with object-based scale-out storage, they can avoid overselling or oversupplying by only servicing customers’ immediate needs and then adding on the fly with ease as needed.

Having just completed the launch of OneXafe and ShadowXafe in Singapore last week, Marina said they have had a very good reception and interest from the market. StorageCraft will continue to work with existing and new partners in the region as it looks to strengthen its presence especially in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

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