Recently, I met with a customer whose business model incorporated an aggressive M&A strategy. This company had the integration process down to a science. As a result, they showed consistently strong growth from this part of their business; however, they frequently faced a challenge accessing and maintaining backup data from newly acquired companies. While the company used a standard model for integrating and migrating production applications, the process of managing legacy tape backup was often overlooked.
Backup is a critical component of every company’s IT operations, but every organisation makes different choices about its backup applications, hardware, strategies and policies. An acquiring company must understand how and if these systems can be consolidated into their own infrastructure. Once this is complete, the challenge becomes how to access data held in legacy backups from the acquired company. This leaves the acquiring parent few choices (all costly)to maintain a platform to meet legal or regulatory compliance.
The typical strategy is to consolidate backups to a single system with the losing platform being retired. Our customer used this strategy successfully, but the team was frustrated with the challenge of maintaining multiple legacy backup environments and the associated burden of cost and maintenance of internal knowledge on outdated systems. The customer indicated that, in practice, its employees rarely had to access the legacy data, but had to maintain it for business reasons.
Fortunately, Iron Mountain had a solution. The Iron Mountain Restoration Assurance Programme provides end users with the ability to consolidate multiple silos of tape catalogues down to one which can be viewed online via the Web. If a customer wants to access legacy data, he/she can go to the Archive Tape Management web interface and find the tape that contains the needed information. Once the tape is identified, the user can either request that Iron Mountain deliver the tape or that Iron Mountain recover the data for the customer.
By using the technology, organisations can retire legacy systems and save money. Our customer was enthusiastic about our ability to manage its tape archives and the ability to retire their unneeded backup infrastructure. They were also excited about the possibility of accessing legacy data using Iron Mountain’s Data Restoration services and thus freeing their IT teams to focus in other areas. Finally, it also made financial sense because they could stop paying for maintenance on their retired backup hardware and software.