I don’t know about you, but I wonder a lot these days whether there are any analysts left who are worth my time to read. That’s my Friday rant for this week, brought on by a article I read on Storage Newsletter abstracting a Gartner report. Entitled 2015 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances — Gartner, the piece did the normal Gartner kudos for paying customers of its services (the winners in the Magic Quadrant) and also ran status for non-paying players who must sell enough product that they simply cannot be ignored.
Personally, I could give a rat’s butt how Gartner ranks anything. However, it really annoyed me to see the comments at the end of the intro to the abstract — a sort of crystal ball look-see into the future of backup and data protection. I quote…
Gartner states that by 2016, 20% of organizations, up from 12% today, will employ only snapshot and replication techniques, abandoning traditional backup/recovery for the majority of their data; by 2018 50% of organizations will have augmented with additional products or have replaced their current backup application compared to what they employed in 2014; and by 2019, there will be a 60% increase in the number of large enterprises opting to eliminate tape for operational recovery.
Wow, this is really a race to the bottom, if true. Endless snapshots and mindless write replication to replace backup? The elimination of tape for operational recovery? Clearly, some analysts over at Gartner do not exist in the real world. Or maybe the IQs of those who they survey in the business world have dropped significantly over the past couple of years?
Snapshots done internally (inside the storage array) or even between two arrays on the same floor might have sufficient temporal proximity (despite their obvious asynchronicity) to afford some sort of continuity of operations. Push them out over a wire to traverse a separation of sufficient distance adequate to protect operations against interruption events with a broader geographical footprint and you have a recipe for a disaster within a disaster. Even if you are successful in sending snaps or replicated data over distance to another stand of silicon or disk, how will you access this data if a Big D disaster happens? Frankly, smart folk insist that their cloud-based DRaaS (DR as a service, or the new HOT SITE) have tape as an alternative way to retrieve their data in a disaster. Without it, you might just as well put your data into AWS Glacier since you can obviously wait for its return for however long it takes for Amazon to find it and thaw it out.
It is this kind of BS, when left unchecked, that becomes a meme. Gartner denies it today, but in the late 1990s, they declared tape dead — claiming that 1 in 10 tapes fails on restore. That too was crappola when they said it.
Look, Gartner. I understand that your stuff is manufactured to please your service-purchasing vendor clients. I get that you are in this game to turn a profit. But, please, just stick to your silly quadrants and leave the guidance to folks who have actually seen the inside of a data center. Just askin’.