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Too Big to Fail?


Too Big to Fail.jpgValuing Big Data can be a tricky proposition. After all -- what is the (real) value of information that will be used to make future decisions?  I submit however, that Big Data or more specifically the knowledge created from the mining of Big Data represents intellectual property (IP).  As such, this IP requires protection throughout its useful life and that includes recovery in the event of a disastrous event that either causes the IP to be unavailable for decision making, is lost, altered or stolen.


Now back to our question of too big to fail.  Having ginormous stores of information to backup and recover can tax even the most sophisticated disaster recovery (DR) programs.  Many organizations take the position of “backup everything and restore everything, after all storage is cheap.”  There was a time where this may have been prudent, but in the face of tremendous amounts of data this may no longer be the most prudent approach.  This is where you may wish to consider backing up just the metadata and not the minutia in order to reduce DR effort and cost.


Conducting a business impact assessment (BIA) will answer the question of what data is most important thereby allowing you to analyze the true business impacts of the loss or unavailability of Big Data.  In some cases you will realize that the data is disposable and not worthy of investing significant sums to protect.  However, in other cases you will find the data that represents your organization’s IP is revealed. This is where investments are needed to backup and recover Big Data. I submit that what you will invariably find is that the Pareto principle is alive and well within your Big Data.  Simply put, 80% of the value of your IP will be found in 20% of the datasets.


Where to backup and restore your Big Data requires an understanding of recovery time objectives as well as recovery point objectives. Or in other words how soon will I need access to the data following a disruption or loss and what is my acceptable level of loss in terms of data currency.  This basically comes down to file restore speeds and the cost of the medium you wish to use.  The options are numerous and include tape, disk, cloud or a hybrid on-site/off-site solution. You may wish to review HP’s StoreOnce Backup and Data Protector Software solutions to learn about some of these options.


To learn HP’s thoughts on backing up and restoring Big Data checkout HP's Business White Paper on Backing Up Big Data.  If you need assistance in making BIA decisions you can also consider engaging HP’s Storage Infrastructure Consulting practice.


I would like to hear from you to learn how you have addressed backing up and recovering your Big

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About the Author


Tari is a Distinguished Technologist with 30 years of IT and cyber security experience. He is dual board certified in information security/business continuity and is responsible for a wide range of management and technology consulting services encompassing information security, disaster recovery, privacy, and risk management. His problem-solving skills, knowledge of various technology platforms, compliance statutes, industries, as well as his experience in deploying defense-in-depth and InfoSec Program solution architectures is commonly applied when advising CIOs/CISOs as well as leveraged in numerous HP client engagements throughout the world. Tari has designed, built, and managed some of the world’s largest InfoSec programs allowing them to defend against even the most aggressive attackers.