Archive for Backup and Restore

Finding and Solving Problems

Maze

By Tom Fedro

Ultimately, all business is about solving problems.  From the earliest trade to the most recent, a problem is identified (or even created) and someone comes along with a solution to that problem in order to create value.  Sometimes, the problem isn’t easy to envision as such.  Video games were created for entertainment, right?  Where’s the problem they solved?  Well, in that case the problem was boredom.  In fact, entertainment options and their availability made boredom more of a problem than it was before.  A mind not entertained now is almost unbearable to most Americans.

From the perspective of a start-up, there are three crucial elements of this business reality.  First, a start-up needs to solve a problem.  If you’re not looking at your product as the means by which a problem is solved, you’re not in the world of technology.  The most beautiful code in the world, if it doesn’t solve a problem, is effort that won’t help you.  Sure, you might create some elegant code but the esteem of your fellow tech heads isn’t going to get you far with your banker. Ultimately, a technology start-up is a solutions start-up, and it’s hard to create a solution when you’ve no idea what it is you’re trying to solve in the first place.

That’s not enough, though.  A successful startup has to recognize why the problems exist.  I love to think of automated backup as the perfect example of this.  Really, how hard is it to press a button at the end of the day and backup data, right?  Still, the automation was created to fix the element of error created by the human factor.  Someone had to understand the problem before a solution could be presented.

A good technology startup solves a problem and understands the human aspect of it.  Then, and also critical, a successful startup determines how to sell the solution to the people with the problem. Without this last part, the other two are irrelevant.  A successful company needs to identify the problem, solve it, and then convince someone to both see the problem and the solution.  Otherwise, we’re spinning our wheels.  We’re creating beautiful code and earning pats on the back instead of profits.

What problem is your startup addressing?

Competition, Cooperation, and Dell’s Cloud Strategy

DellCloud

By Tom Fedro

It’s not too much of an out-of-the-box strategy to position a company in such a way that partners handle non-core activity.  Really, the point of a partnership in the first place is to enable a company’s strengths to benefit another’s weaknesses and vice versa.  Still, in technology there’s been a trend toward handling everything in house in the last decade (or just buying up companies that handle what you want.)  So, it was interesting for me to read that

Dell’s cloud strategy is to be a supplier and allow the channel to build private and public clouds. 

The decision to supply the technology but to allow channel partners to set up the cloud networks is an obvious one, but it still resonates oddly because of the resistance most large technology companies have shown in similar situations.  The channel has reacted positively, and there’s no surprise there.  Dell can certainly provide the servers and the software, but creating their own public cloud network or servicing the creation of private or hybrid networks falls well out of the scope of Dell’s core business, and as Michael Dell has completed his quest to bring the company private, he’s wise not to be distracted.

To me, the critical issue at hand, really, is the nature of competition and cooperation.  Had Dell chosen to provide the public cloud service, the company would have instantly gained competitors it didn’t have yesterday, many of which are current partners.  It would have done so while not positioned to have a definitive competitive advantage.  Instead, the company now has new partners in the cloud sphere it didn’t have a week ago.

Believe it or not, this post has nothing to do with cloud computing.  Really, it’s just an example, an illustration.  Dell is a large technology company with a large enterprise development division.  Almost inexorably, pseudo-market forces demand they enter into cloud development.  Those forces are wrong.  They’re the same forces that drive technology companies into non-core ventures on a regular basis.  They make for neat little press releases and short term upticks in share price, but they do nothing for the value of the company.  One of the basic business concepts at play in a new market is “barriers to entry.”  In simplest terms, that can be phrased as “What does a company need to overcome to get established in this segment?”

For a large tech company with resources and infrastructure available, it’s easy to see barriers as non-existent.  I wonder how many poor decisions are made in the technology segment simply because it’s possible to make them.  Dell was wise.  The company’s positioning as a supplier, as an enabler if you will, of cloud technology might not be as sexy and exciting as sitting at the helm, but it’s good business, and that’s ultimately the key for any enterprise.

Weighing the Costs of Backup and Recovery

Weighing the costs of backup and recoveryWith technology critical to all organizations no matter their size, both profit and non-profit leaders are betting their company’s life on having the right systems in place at the right time. Some leaders look at technology as a mere accounting expense. Although one does not need to be a CPA to manage an organization’s finances, a basic understanding of the concepts is required to make sound financial decisions for the business. When it comes to technology the same applies in order to make informed decisions on the IT budget. For example, a basic understanding of data storage is important when projecting costs related to backup and recovery in case of a disaster.

As would be expected, storage requirements and protection of the data can range widely in price depending on the vertical market of the company (see Gartner IT spending forecast for 2013 below*). For instance, data storage needs differ greatly between a bank and a non-profit. In the former, high-availability storage is needed for fast access to critical data so speed and performance with absolutely no down time is imperative (requiring a higher investment); in the latter, stored data may be less critical and thus can be backed up on less expensive media with longer intervals between full backups.

Knowing the risk of data loss and weighing that against the investment in appropriate computer hardware and software is also critical. One just needs to look at the damage inflicted upon the telecommunications industry following Hurricane Sandy in 2012**. A lack of investment in infrastructure was to blame for widespread outages. The damage hammered the credibilty and was a financial blow to telecom providers; even spuring an FCC inquiry***.  Despite this, and other natural as well as man-made disasters, many businesses are still not implementing disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity.

One way to get on track is to do disaster recovery and business continuity prepartion audit.  Many of my company’s partners can provide this service and I am happy to refer you – please email me here at tom@tomfedro.com if I can be of assistance.

Sources:

* IT Spending To See Modest Growth In 2013, Informationweek, January 04, 2013.

**Looking beyond Hurricane Sandy, CounterPunch.org, November 15, 2012.

*** FCC holds Hurricane Sandy hearings into telecom failures, fixes, NJ.com, February 05, 2013.

 

Disk Imaging Offers the Best Bang for the Buck When it Comes to Backup Software

By Tom Fedro

Hard Disk Manager employs the best backup software technology, disk imagingDepending on your requirements, I believe that the best backup software for the money is disk imaging. At www.paragon-downloads.com , you can test drive our disk imaging software to see if it meets your needs.

In addition to publishing the best backup software solution for the money, at Paragon we go above and beyond with our technical services support — located here in the U.S.A. We run a tight ship with only the highest quality staff. Whether you are a value-added reseller (VAR), a systems integrator or an OEM looking to bundle disk imaging into your hardware, you will be hard pressed to find a more responsive team.

For example, recently we worked with one of NASA’s prime contractors to develop a custom-coded disk imaging software solution for the International Space Station. After evaluating our competitors in the market, they found that Paragon came closest to meeting their requirements. To finalize the deal, we went the extra mile by developing a restore script that automated the system restore process to the click of a button, utilizing a USB-bootable flash drive.

One of our most popular disk imaging software products is Paragon Drive Backup Server. This easy-to-use software protects your data, minimizes downtime, and lowers data storage and management costs while ensuring business continuity through instant system recovery. Live server migration technology (P2V, V2P, V2V and P2P) makes conversions easy and allows you to get the most from your virtual environments.  It is a powerful and flexible solution to add to your disaster recovery strategy.

We offer multiple ways to backup a server with a complete line of disaster recovery, disk imaging products that help you secure and manage your data and optimize storage management for PCs, servers and networks. Streamlining disk image backup, virtualization, migration and deployment processes through central management and automation frees up IT personnel and boosts productivity and ROI on your IT investments.