Infrascale continues to focus on SMBs with its portfolio of data protection products, and I continue to be impressed by what they have to offer.
It has Infrascale Cloud application Backup for SaaS applications like Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Salesforce, Box, and Dropbox; for endpoints like desktops, laptops, and mobiles it has Infrascale Cloud Backup (which is a bit of a weird name); and for DR for servers there is Infrascale Backup and Disaster Recovery. These three product lines cover the three major data locations that SMBs have: it’s either going to be on a server, on your laptop or phone, or in a cloud app.
At Cloud Field Day 8 a couple of years ago, Infrascale focussed on their ransomware protection, while this time around the focus was on recovery. I am very keen on this being the focus.
Recovery Is The Key
This change in focus from backup to recovery has come up in conversations with PivotNine clients in the past couple of weeks, so I’d like to spend some time here.
Not too long ago, the focus was on ensuring that everything was backed up so that some of it could be recovered if it needed to be. Most of the time everything worked fine, and recoveries were relatively rare and relatively small: someone would accidentally delete a file or drop a table in a database. Sometimes a disk or a server would die. It was rare to lose all of a large system, or several systems, and have to restore a lot of data very quickly.
That still happens, but the overall risk calculations have changed, thanks to a combination of factors: dataset growth, ransomware and cybersecurity risk, changes in business expectations, and changes in technology.
Uptime expectations are much higher, so faster recovery is required. And because ransomware and security breaches are now so common, the likelihood of a substantial amount of data getting damaged all at once is much higher. And that’s aside from datasets generally being bigger, so losing a single server or dropping the wrong table will be a much bigger deal. The business risk has changed, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there is now greater willingness to spend on systems that ensure recovery will succeed.
A DR is likely to happen on your watch; you can’t just leave the landmine for the next poor sap the board hires as CIO. You are now much more likely to have a failure that affects a large amount of data, meaning that you will need to recover a lot of data fairly quickly. Instead of mostly needing high backup throughput, now we need high recovery throughput as well. This requires a rethink of your recovery approach.
Happily, advances in technology make this a lot easier and cheaper to deal with than vertically scaling HA clusters, SRDF replication, and large tape arrays with Fibre Channel attached media movers. Snapshots are a common feature, providing a rapid recovery point for fat-finger whoopsies. Sending a VM image into the cloud for a quick-turn-it-on-and-keep-processing recovery point is quite accessible, even at the relatively small budgets of SMBs.
While skilled data protection professionals have always been focused on the recoverability of data, it’s a much easier job now than it used to be, and it’s good to see SMB-focussed vendors like Infrascale provide options for this often overlooked segment of the market.
Better Options For SMBs
Infrascale has brought a lot of nice features that are available in high-end enterprise products into something aimed at SMBs. Global dedupe and compression help keep datasets small, changed-block tracking keeps network traffic down while keeping full recovery to any point in time achievable, and backup verification provides peace of mind that when something has been backed up it’ll be recoverable later on. Data is source-side encrypted so it’s kept secure when the data moves from onsite to the Infrascale cloud, and there’s a nicely modern, easy-to-use dashboard to help manage everything.
You can recover VMs at the vmdk level, but also the files within the VM itself. Infrascale can also detect the files associated with a specific application if you just want to pull that back, but don’t want to have to remember all the file paths used by Word or Photoshop or SQLServer.
There are lots of little details that I noticed, like the ability to failover and run in the Infrascale cloud while you get your hurricane affected primary site back online, and have no change to your bill. It’s just part of the service you already pay for. The last thing an SMB needs while dealing with a crisis is to get a nasty surprise a month or two in. Easy failover—and more importantly easy failback—makes the feature genuinely useful, and something you can feel comfortable relying on.
There’s just a lot to like about what Infrascale offers, and if you’re an SMB rethinking your approach to data protection, they’re definitely worth checking out.