According to recent research, the average company’s data is growing by more than 50 percent per year, much of it due to newer and fast-growing sources like sensors and smartphones. Storing and managing all of that data is an expensive and challenging proposition, but it’s not the only type of data causing problems for many organizations. The other type of data—one that’s not talked about that much—is copy data.
Put simply, copy data is any copy of primary data from any source. It could be transaction data, customer data or any other type. Once anybody makes a copy of the data for any purpose—for analysis, presentations, test/dev, backup, and so on—it increases the number of copies of that data. IDC finds that, on average, organizations have 13 copies of every database and file.
The problem is that most of those copies aren’t deleted once they aren’t needed anymore. Instead, they are orphaned, which means they continue to consume resources. Those copies must be backed up and stored. Worse yet, it opens up more opportunities for data to get into the wrong hands, either inadvertently or via hackers.
To put the scope of the copy data problem in context, IDC has found that 60 percent of storage is dedicated to managing copies of data--at a cost of $55 billion per year collectively.
Traditionally, companies have dealt with the copy data problem by not dealing with it at all. They simply choose to ignore it.
“To delete databases and other types of data you have to know who the owner is, you have to coordinate with the owner, and there has to be policies and procedures in place for doing it,” explains IDC research director Phil Goodwin. Simply allowing the data to consume space on the disk is the easiest way out. In other words, it’s problem avoidance.”
Data-as-a-service company Actifio has introduced a solution it says will go a long way toward addressing the copy data management challenge. Actifio GO, built on the company’s Sky software, is a direct-to-cloud backup solution that deals with the copy data issue by creating a “golden copy” of the data. When a user requests a second copy, Actifio makes a virtual copy of the data and provides access based on the role of the user.
While this doesn’t completely solve the copy data problem, it does mean that only one version of a dataset is used. This minimizes the number of copies, and allows the virtual copy to immediately be deleted based on policy. However, it’s still a good idea for organizations to keep additional copies for data protection.
Actifio also is positioning its copy data management software as a one-stop backup, replication and snapshot shop. The company hopes to replace vendor solutions for backup, recovery and replication with Actifio GO, which works in multi-cloud environments and has a single set of policies for backup, snapshots and replication. It also provides near-instant recovery of VMs directly from cloud object storage using a streaming network protocol and object storage data store format of Actifio's OnVault technology.