Data and Data Center Resilience: The Siblings of Data Protection

Data is the natural resource for organizations. As businesses generate, use, and analyze a growing amount of data each day, it is becoming increasingly important for this data to be more than just available, accessible, and able to be validated. Data availability or accessibility is only one aspect of the greater idea of data resilience and data center resilience.

Data Resilience Defined

Data resilience is an organization’s ability to restore not just the bits and bytes of data but rather the information that feeds business functions , after an incident. It revolves around how quickly one can return to their known, good data.

Historically, this concept centered around backing up files, folders, drives, and other forms of data. Now, particularly in a virtual machine and containerized data center, this has evolved and become only one part of data resilience. Data resilience also includes recovery and protection of these virtual systems and their configuration to facilitate automated restoration of the complete IT landscape of an organization.

Data Center Resilience Defined

Data center resilience focuses on ideas at the infrastructure level, including high availability and disaster recovery. Traditionally, the infrastructure upon which data lived was simply a subset of the infrastructure that lived inside the data center. This infrastructure typically consisted of computers, network routing, storage, power, heating and cooling, and other pieces of hardware. As a rule, data will eventually live on some kind of storage infrastructure at some point during its lifecycle, whether that is in primary storage, replicated storage, a backup, an archive, or a combination of these. While data resilience is explicitly data-focused, data center resilience is centered on the infrastructure and workloads contained within the data center as a whole.

The Crossroads

Data center resilience and data go hand-in-hand together. Providing data resilience depends on a subset of the infrastructure inside of the data center. With some consideration, data resilience can be integrated into a data center resilience approach.

Imagine when you purchase a new car. When you are deciding what car to choose, you inevitably ask yourself questions related to how you will use the car – “How many people will I typically need to transport?” or “Will I be doing activities that require a pickup truck or will a passenger car be enough?”

In this same way, one should be asking similar questions regarding data resilience and data center resilience.

  • What does the business do?
  • What are the underlying workloads of the business?
  • What are the overall needs of the business?
  • What is the relationship of business to data?

These questions will assist in prioritizing the needs of the organization and ensuring businesses do not end up with unnecessary hardware and high heating and cooling bills to support their useless infrastructure.

So, one of the main questions that should be asked as it pertains to data center resilience is: “What are the workloads that live on and inside of the data center?”

When discussing data resilience, there are even more questions that need to be explored, including: “How do I make my infrastructure on which the data lives more available, more resilient, and more recoverable?” and “In what forms should the data get stored in order for the data to be usable?”

With the old, traditional methods, data would be backed up and stored on tapes. While these tapes contain all of a business’s data, it is unlikely that the data on the form of the tape and in the tape, itself is immediately useful. This means that the tapes may be used for recovery but cannot be used to immediately restore service. This is why it is important to take into consideration the form in which data is stored and what the process is to restore services.

This consideration is also important in current data resilience strategies that often no longer employ tape. Backing up to the cloud, object storage or other immutable repositories may be faster or more flexible, but it still requires considering how the data will be recovered. Do I have adequate network capacity to recover from a cloud repository in the timeframe I would like? If I want to recover at a cloud provider, are the systems I need available and able to recognize the format of my backups? The shift in technology reinforces the same fundamental considerations of the requirements to bring an organization back to operation.

Evolving Solutions and Data Resilience

Evolving Solutions helps clients modernize and automate their mission-critical applications and infrastructure to support business transformation. Our business is client-centric consulting and delivery of technical solutions to enable modern operations in a hybrid cloud world. Evolving Solutions’ architects prioritize data resilience first. Initial conversations about resilience and protection become conversations about business continuity and the ability to remain functional, even when incidents occur, and disaster recovery for how to return to business quickly and efficiently in the event of an issue.

Data is an organization’s most precious resource. Long gone are the days where data was merely an output of a business. Now, it is essential and core to the running of a business. Data and data center resilience help to preserve and protect an organization’s most valuable commodity against all the threats and disasters in today’s world.

Ted Letofsky

Enterprise Architect

Ted is a Senior Enterprise Architect at Evolving Solutions and joined the company in 2017. Connect with Ted on LinkedIn.

Photo of Ted Letofsky

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