Data consolidation as a service boosting cloud comfort levels: Actifio

Growing use of cloud applications and cloud-storage services will drive many cloud service providers to expand their data-security offerings with automated backup an data-recovery services that enable file versioning and restoration at any given point in time.

That’s the expectation of ‘copy data’ vendor Actifio, which has seen strong demand from Australian cloud service providers who have bought into the company’s business-continuity platform with the intention of onselling it to customers as a value-added service.

The company has seen growing demand from Australia and New Zealand cloud providers to introduce the capabilities as an adjunct to their own service offerings, Actifio CEO Ash Ashutosh told CSO Australia, with seven public-cloud service providers and 22 private-cloud providers inside large enterprises already using the technology.

“If you’re offering cloud storage for 18 cents per gigabyte per month, you could add one more cent for disaster recovery and business continuity and you’re completely changing the model,” he explained.

That could be a Godsend for companies that are pushing the boundaries of their data-continuity plans – and compromising security by allowing employees to make numerous copies of data with no checks and balances in place. Recent IDC research suggested the average organisation can have 13 to 120 copies of data across the various storage systems and applications in their environments.

By using a purpose-built file system that uses virtualization techniques to track and abstract changes to files over time, copy-data capabilities help organisations improve the reusability of data assets between applications. However, rather than keeping multiple copies of key files, the copy-data approach boosts access and recovery capabilities with “consumer-grade simplicity”.

An ongoing history of each file allows rollback to the version at any point in time, with multiple applications able to access a single version of a particular file at the same time. Because of the way the Actifio file system is structured, each application is presented with what it thinks is a complete copy of a database or other file.

“Bringing the context of applications and SLAs into storage is literally the key set of work that we’re doing,” Ashutosh explained. “We are really changing the decoupling that happens between how data is managed and how it’s stored. We talk to the history of the applications and introduce ways of optimising how the data is ingested.”

With cloud services both centralising and dramatically increasing the volume of data being managed in typical environments, Ashutosh expects demand for such solutions will continue to pick up, particularly as other infrastructure providers cotton on to the importance of economising on their usage of disk capacity.

“Customers typically say ‘this is logical and how it should have been done’,” he continued. “But a few things needed to happen in the world – virtualization, and commodity of disk, and keeping copies on disk – before it was common. Now we can provide the most efficient way to get the data out of the storage system, and optimise how it is ingested.”

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