Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Is Backup Killing Your Free Time?

This is a guest post by Daniel Kuperman and the team at Axcient.

There are three moments in an IT person’s work life that they typically dread.
  • Setting up backup
  • Testing the backup
  • Restoring from backup
In each of those moments there is more at stake than you think.

If backup jobs are not setup correctly, the whole backup chain can break and all your efforts would have been for nothing. Testing a backup is not particularly a joyful activity because it requires a lot of time and effort to make sure that a) you had indeed setup backup jobs correctly, and that b) you can actually restore files if needed. And, of course, when disaster strikes, you always hope that you can actually restore files as your testing results implied.


Where Does Your Time Go?

When considering how much effort backup takes, we typically underestimate the task. The problem is, most backup products that come from the legacy of tape backup, have kept complex interfaces and not very user-friendly options. The result is hours spent configuring backup jobs, schedules, and alerts for each device you want protected.

Learn More About Data Backup

Schedule a 1:1 consultation with Newmind Group and learn how we can help with:

  • Reduced Downtime & Data Loss During a Disaster
  • Data protection for multiple platforms and devices
  • Application Aware backups

Schedule

In some cases, you even have to be careful not to schedule the start of a backup job too close to the next, or make sure that all options available for backing up your data are correctly set for each type of job.

When monitoring your backups, is it easy to spot which jobs completed successfully or do you have to dig through log files to decipher if there were any errors you should be worried about? Time spent looking for error messages is time that you could be using for something more productive.

When it comes time for testing your disaster recovery plan, being able to easily restore backups is essential and having to go through product documentation or spending time trying to understand how to actually do a restore without messing up other backup jobs that are running can be frustrating.

Finally, if you actually have to go through a full restore process after an event like fire, flood, or a natural disaster you can’t afford being lost on endless product menus, having to go to ‘help files’ or being on-hold with tech support.

How User Experience Influences Productivity

Now imagine that when you setup a backup job, instead of having to navigate through multiple screens containing dozens of check-boxes, you could have all the necessary info in a single screen. That instead of having to manually add different devices you want to protect, the system could auto-detect network devices and make the process of protecting them easier.

What if instead of navigating through logs, you could just login to one screen that would show you at the top all the critical messages so that you could take care of those issues more quickly? And how about the ability to test your DR plan by simply clicking a button?

These and more are part of what Axcient has themed Next-Generation Cloud Continuity and is part of our philosophy of using ‘exception-based management’ to make the job of creating, monitoring, testing, and actually recovering backups much easier.

The point is, when looking at how much time you or your staff spends on routine backup or DR tasks, it is worth considering how much of that time is because of the product and the actual product screens. Its like comparing MS Word with Google Docs, or even different TV remote controls. When something was created to make the user’s life easier, it is easy to spot.

Daniel Kuperman, Senior Manager of Product Marketing, Axcient

Daniel leads product marketing efforts at Axcient, working closely with product development, sales, marketing and the partner channel. He has over 10 years of experience in the technology industry and especially with B2B software companies. He holds an MBA and a PMP certification by the Project Management Institute.