Data Protection Predictions for 2016

‘Tis the time of year to re-think how you did things before and what you might want to do differently in the future — in life, in IT and in Data Protection. To help you with those considerations, I’d like to share a short video on what we expect the more interesting trends will be in Data Protection in 2016.

As mentioned in the video, to help you with your decisions, ESG has quite a bit of data protection research queued up:

  • Our reports on the evolving landscape of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) will publish in Q1, with significant coverage of DRaaS planned throughout the year.

We’ve already launched the first two research initiatives for 2016:

  • Data Protection Cloud Strategies (DPCS), which covers BaaS, DRaaS, SaaS-backup, adding cloud-storage to on-premises data protection solutions, and how to protect Infrastructure-as-a-Service to the same cloud, alternate cloud, or back home, building on our previous research, including one of my favorites, Data Protection-as-a-Service (DPaaS).
  • Long-Term Retention Strategies (LTRS), covering archival and backup methodologies, as well as disk/tape/cloud media strategies for long-term data preservation – building on what we learned and published in our Archive and Backup Convergence report.

Next quarter, we’ll kick off:

  • Protecting Highly Virtualized Environments (PHVE) research which will look at multi-hypervisor protection, recovery and availability strategies, as well as how “instant” or “rapid” are your VM recoveries, how granular and how flexible as to where those recoveries can occur – with other insights that will build on what we’ve been watching since our Trends in Protecting Virtualized and Private Cloud Environments report.

It’s going to be a very interesting year!

Video Transcript:

Announcer: The following is an ESG 360 video.

John: I’m here with Jason Buffington, Principal Analyst for ESG, covering data protection. Welcome, Jason.

Jason: Howdy.

John: So Jason, you spend your life studying all aspects of data protection and what IT pros and business pros can do to protect their information?

Jason: Yup.

John: What do you see in terms of big transfer data protection in 2016?

Jason: I think the biggest trend is around cloud. The trick is, there’s at least five different ways that data protection and cloud intersect, right? You can back up to the cloud with backup as a service, or disaster recovery as a service, or just by augmenting on-premise backups with cloud storage. You could also…what if your data’s already in the cloud, right? So if you’re running infrastructure as a service, do you backup to the same cloud, to a different cloud, maybe bring that data home, copy last resort kind of thing, or if you’re running software as a service, most people don’t know that stuff is not getting backed up, right, so there’s a lot of confusion on which clouds people are doing.

John: That last one in particular, I think, is often overlooked. People feel, I’ve gone to a new form of application delivery, whether it’s Salesforce or Office 365 or any number of cloud-based apps, and are they really thinking through that data protection consideration?

Jason: I can tell you most are not.

John: So how would you handicap IT in terms of how are they executing each of these five cloud data protection strategies today?

Jason: So, it’s gonna be somewhere between, “it depends” and “most of the above”, right? But it’s such an interesting area. ESG, just earlier this month, launched our data protection cloud strategies research project, and so we’re gonna have some good answers for that, and I’m really excited to see how that’s gonna come out.

John: Excellent. Other than cloud, what else are you going to be looking out for this coming year?

Jason: Virtualization, for the last 20 years…

John: Perennial favorite for the last few years, for sure.

Jason: Absolutely. You know, virtualization solves so many problems for IT, and it causes so many challenges for the backup admin, right? I think the thing I wanna make sure folks understand though is if your solution can’t back up a VM in 2016, you really should not be in market. I mean, the real question is, how fast is my restorer, how agile is my restorer, and we’re getting a lot of questions on, should I be using a cloud service for this? Do I need a unified backup for this, or should I really stick with a VM specific? In fact, if the trend numbers hold true, because we ask this every year, around summer of 2016 we could actually see more people using a VM-specific backup solution than a unified solution. Those lines are actually gonna cross this year.

John: Wow, that would be a significant change in the market.

Jason: It would. Now, it’s probably a little too early for the VM guys to start high-fiving, and certainly the unified guys, there’s a lot of upside for them, but what they have to do this year, they have to have a technology proof that says, “Yes, we are equitable or better on VMs than other folks,” and they have to be able to prove economically and operationally that there’s value to running a unified solution over a separate technology. They do those two things, they have a good year.

John: Great point. Any final thoughts, Jason?

Jason: You know, the other thing I think a lot of folks are really struggling with is data management. Now, at ESG, we talk about data protection as the uber term over backups and snapshots and replication and BCDR.

John: But there’s much more than that.

Jason: Yeah, but if you think about data management, that’s an uber term that covers the copies you made for data protection, the copies you made for other things like test dev, and the production copy, and that’s how we get into things like copy data management as a concept, but I would argue it’s more than copy…or it’s gonna be data management is more than just the number of copies. It’s who has access to them and why, which is where we get into information governance and regulatory compliance and real data archiving. Bottom line is, folks can’t keep doing it the way they always have. This, I think, is gonna be a really big year for data management technologies.

John: Any research that you’ll be doing to dig more into that particular area?

Jason: Yeah, we’re actually going to do research on all three. We talked about the cloud strategies research. Later this quarter I’ll kick off the trend to protecting highly virtualized environment. The goal for that is to make sure the co-sponsors of that research have it in time for VM World, so that’s a big deal, and then we’ve already launched our archiving and long-term retention strategies research, and that’ll come out sometime over the summer as well.

John: Great, well, that will be really interesting to see the results when they come back. So great stuff as always, Jason, thank you. To read more of Jason’s research and view his blog, you can visit

[Originally blogged via ESG’s Technical]

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