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Cloud fast-tracks resilience when data loss is not an option

The digitalisation of business means data has become a company's most important asset. To remain competitive, businesses must always have access to their data and applications, says Sasha Malic, Head: Availability Services at ContinuitySA.

"Digitalisation is allowing much of business to become virtual, in turn driving a move into the cloud," he says. "Cloud is enabling the always-on, always-available business environment, and it is also revolutionising the measures companies can take to build resilience into their DNA, and to ensure business continuity. Backing up data in such a way that it is never lost is critical, and a new generation of innovative technology solutions is emerging that is facilitating this. As a business continuity and resilience specialist, we are partnering with Veeam and Exagrid to build resilience into the way data is moved, processed and stored in the cloud."

One of the most important things about the emerging cloud environment is that it is not homogenous, says Trent Odgers, Enterprise Account Manager at Veeam South Africa. Companies need to be able to operate across public and private clouds, as well as their on-premises legacy infrastructure and, of course, endpoint devices. All of this raises a host of technical and management challenges.

"To protect data in this environment, we follow the 3-2-1-0 rule: make sure that there are always a minimum of three copies of data on two media, with at least one backup offsite - with zero backup errors ensured through verifying recoverability," Odgers says. "To make that happen automatically and seamlessly, we developed the Veeam Availability Platform, which is available as a series of bundled suites that can, if desired, be purchased separately. In the hands of a partner like ContinuitySA, Veeam Availability Platform can be used effectively to provide backup and replication across multiple clouds for multiple clients, with centralised backup management - all in the quest for 24/7 data availability, whatever happens."

If backup and replication in the cloud is one vital ingredient of data resilience, the other is data storage, says Malic. Data volumes are growing exponentially, and thus how to backup data, while minimising storage costs and ensuring rapid access in the event of a disaster, has become a specialised field.

"Our partner in this area is Exagrid, which has developed an innovative disk architecture designed especially for backup - that means efficient, fast backups that can be recovered equally quickly," he explains. "Deduplication is part of the solution, but so is an architecture that is fast to ingest and recover data, and can scale intelligently to cope with huge volumes of data. Exagrid is designed in such a way that its performance grows as data volumes grow. In addition, it works in heterogeneous environments, and it integrates with Veeam to move data faster and better."



ContinuitySA is Africa's leading provider of business continuity management and related services. The company boasts some of the continent's most highly skilled and qualified business continuity and disaster management experts who help companies, organisations and government departments of all sizes prepare for and deal with all eventualities. These include potential threats, events, incidences and unforeseen or sudden disruptions due to human error or natural events.

ContinuitySA also provides a variety of hosting solutions, ranging from co-located to fully managed virtualised environments, with their primary focus being to ensure its clients are able to address the resilience and recoverability of their IT services. These hosting services are complemented by managed backup and recovery services, virtual server replication and high availability solutions to satisfy any level of continuity requirement.

ContinuitySA operates the largest recovery facilities in southern Africa. It has a number of recovery centres in southern Africa with over 20 000 square metres of recovery facilities in Midrand, Gauteng. Smaller sites have been located in Cape Town, Gaborone, Botswana and Mozambique, and a joint venture has been established in Mauritius.

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