ROBOCop — 80’s Sci-fi Flick or IT Reality

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RoboCop – a sci-fi movie – is set in 2028 Detroit, a good cop is critically injured in the line of duty, and a multinational conglomerate, OmniCorp, sees an opportunity for a part-man, part-robot police officer. 

Ok I’ll admit it…the movie RoboCop has absolutely nothing to do with remote office/branch office (ROBO) locations, that being said, I found the acronym connection amusing as a title. However, I have heard about backup admins “policing” ROBO locations to make sure backups are complete, so maybe my connection to the movie isn’t too far of a stretch?

Many businesses with ROBO locations may find themselves in a near-dystopia situation and on the verge of data loss due to tape backup or rampant crimes of inconsistent backups. To combat these concerns in “data city”, law enforcement (aka IT) is eradicating tape backups and finding independence with disk-based storage. The freedom of being tape-free puts centralized control around the backup process, along with other benefits (summarized below and in the most recent customer podcast).

McGladrey is the nation’s leading provider of assurance, tax and consulting services focused on the the middlemarket. And the above scenario was once more than a sci-fi concern for McGladrey.

Distributed Model For Backup

Years ago, McGladrey’s centralized data center provided an environment for the majority of the company’s data, and remote offices managed their own backups. The IT team had some concerns that complete and consistent backups might not be taking place at all of these “ROBO” locations. Remote offices were backing up to tape and protecting up to 80TB of local file data, which made it difficult to manage from a central location.

While McGladrey was setting centralized control around its backup process, the firm’s IT team uncovered a few other considerations that they wanted to ensure were addressed. For example, the importance of storing data securily for ongoing access and how to expire data that is no longer needed.

Now with Avamar, client-side deduplication backups can be completed without additional WAN capacity. Full backups at a remote office dramatically changed — from a four-hour incremental backup to a 15-minute change block data backup. McGladrey is now able to up support its 75 office backups with 1 FTE vs 1 person (who might be an office manager) at each of the 75 offices.

Data Domain has replaced McGladrey’s tape library and reduced the amount of floor space needed for backups.

H.L. Mencken said, “for every complex problem there is a simple solution…

and it is always wrong.”

Information systems are certainly central to today’s business operations. However, an IT-only backup plan is hardly a plan at all. Understanding the full array of assets, people, systems, and processes that make your business run is the key to a successful data protection plan.

Watch the McGladrey podcast here:

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