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Long-Term Data Retention with BlueXP Backup and Recovery

Data is a critical business asset, and maintaining it over extended periods of time is a key consideration for most modern enterprises. Long-term data retention is not only a frequent regulatory and security requirement but a resource that underpins data-driven business decisions.

NetApp BlueXP’s backup and recovery offers a powerful solution for efficient long-term data retention, striking a balance between operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

In this article, we’ll look at the case study of a global energy conglomerate that manages a petabyte-scale backup dataset with long-term data retention requirements using BlueXP backup and recovery.

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Long-Term Data Retention: A Challenge for Businesses

Data-driven decision making is the intelligent way forward. This means businesses are more keen than ever to maintain data sanity, security, and retention. However, with the volume of data on hand escalating all the time, the underlying complexities of long-term data management require strategic attention.

Are there opportunities to develop a sustainable and cost-effective approach to long-term data retention?

Absolutely. However, it is important to note that achieving a sustainable and cost-effective approach for long-term data retention means doing more than just consolidating backup and recovery strategies. Effective data lifecycle management requires consideration of several factors:

  • Large storage capacity: As the volume of data multiplies over time, accommodating petabytes of data for swift processing becomes increasingly difficult. Older solutions, such as tape-based backups, aren’t fast enough to effectively meet the backup requirements of such large data sets.

    NDMP-based solutions are also a bad solution. NDMP solutions back up data on the file level and require media gateways: both of these things slow down the back up process, causing backup windows to be missed and opening the door for data loss.
  • Long-term archiving: Securely archiving data in an unalterable form helps reduce the risk of data corruption and unauthorized changes. Archived data needs to be preserved, accessible, and recoverable in the long run, even as the technology and regulatory landscape evolves.
  • Backup & restore availability: Quick recovery from data corruption or loss is critical, but can your businesses confidently rely on its chosen solution? Safeguarding stored data and ensuring faster restoration not only supports business continuity but also enables data versioning and prompt operation resumption following a data disaster.
  • Compliance: Being compliant with evolving regulations is a moving target. Opt for a storage solution that is agile and dynamically adapts to regulatory changes to avoid legal repercussions, penalties, and reputational damage.
  • Security: Given the sensitive nature of your data, your chosen storage solution should inherently follow a security-first philosophy instead of treating security as an afterthought.
  • Cost: With massive data sets come massive costs, even for the lowest-cost storage formats. Identify a storage platform that balances operational efficiency and cost-efficiency. Choose a platform where higher scalability and capacity does not lead to direct and significant increases in expenses.
  • Integration: Data stores should integrate seamlessly with cross-functional systems to simplify data management, while enabling centralized control and monitoring. Consider a platform that is adaptable to accommodate future changes, vendor handshakes, and organizational scale-ups.

Case Study: How an International Petroleum Major Leveraged BlueXP Backup for Long-Term Data Retention

This case study highlights the success story of a European branch of one of the world's top ten energy conglomerates. With extensive cross-continent operations, this company generates impressive annual sales revenue of $6.7 billion.

When faced with the challenge of handling its long-term archive data, BlueXP backup and restore was the solution.

The Long-Term Archiving Challenge

As a longstanding client of NetApp, the company relies on ONTAP to handle predominantly unstructured NAS data that is generated by their in-house workloads. Despite leveraging modern computing to support their core operations, they realized the importance of efficiently managing and securing its growing volume of data.

Adding to this concern, regulations required the company to maintain a third copy of its data, and to retain all data for seven years. Balancing all these requirements without triggering excessive costs was an additional challenge they needed to solve.

Long-Term Data Retention with BlueXP Backup and Recovery

Looking to address the data retention challenge, the company conducted a comprehensive evaluation of different options, including NetApp's competitors, native hyperscaler services, and on-premises deployments.

After looking at all the options, the company chose NetApp BlueXP backup and recovery, identifying it as the ideal solution to protect the company’s on-prem ONTAP data, reduce the storage footprint, and solve their data retention requirements.

Here’s what influenced the company to choose NetApp over other prospective solutions:

Quick setup and use:
The company’s familiarity with ONTAP-native services and its ease of operation played a significant role in considering BlueXP as a potential solution during the initial evaluation stages.

  • Once the BlueXP connector was set up, backup activation required only a few more clicks.
  • BlueXP backup and recovery is just one part of the fully centralized data storage solution that works across on-prem, edge, and cloud environments.

Cost efficient archive storage tiering:
It was BlueXP backup and recovery's cost-effective archiving solution for storing a third copy of the data that truly sealed the deal. With BlueXP’s intelligent data tiering automation, the company was able to archive data on the most suitable storage tier for maximum cost benefits. To meet the company’s strict seven-year retention requirements at a manageable cost, BlueXP tiered the data to the Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive tier.

  • Glacier Deep Archive is an extremely cost-effective solution for long-term data retention in the cloud, with costs that compare to off-premises tape archiving.
  • Block-level, incremental-forever backups preserve storage efficiency and SnapMirror-Cloud replicates point-in-time data copies.
  • Since Blue XP backup and recovery leverages SnapMirror® data replication, it doesn’t require a media gateway. The copy is backed up directly, and that means all of ONTAP’s storage efficiencies in the primary data set are retained. This can reduce backup costs by some 70%.

Integration with cloud hyperscalers:
The seamless integration between ONTAP and various cloud providers was another factor that significantly influenced the company’s decision. A tighter integration ensured smooth data transfer and management between the cloud and on-premises infrastructure, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

  • DataLock relies on the native AWS data locking features to keep data indelible and the BlueXP backup and recovery ransomware protection feature continually scans the backup data for any unauthorized access attempts.
  • Enhanced scalability with cloud-native architecture and seamless multicloud integration

Meeting Long-Term Retention Requirements Is a Click Away

In the face of intricate challenges, enterprises must first acknowledge the core considerations inherent with long-term data management. If recognizing the underlying complexities is the first step, the next is to choose the right solution.

For potential or existing ONTAP customers, NetApp BlueXP’s backup and recovery provides a solution for backing up and safeguarding critical business application data in the long term.

BlueXP backup and recovery offers an easy onboarding and configuration experience that seamlessly integrates with the ONTAP ecosystem. With automated, incremental backup methodology at its core, it's a set-and-forget solution that can provide you with everything your long-term backup retention requirements demand.

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  • What is long-term retention data?
    Long-term data retention refers to the practice of storing operational or backup data for extended periods, often for several years. The approach is typically employed for compliance, historical reference, and disaster recovery purposes.
  • What is designed for long-term data retention?
    Systems designed for long-term data retention, such as BlueXP backup and recovery, are typically secure, scalable, and efficient storage solutions, leveraging either the cloud, on-prem setup, or both. These systems provide facilities for data archiving, backup, and recovery, ensuring data longevity while maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements. 
  • How long can you hold data under GDPR?
    Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data can only be kept as long as necessary for its original purpose of collection. Once no longer needed, deletion should occur according to context and legal requirements. The exact duration may differ depending on circumstances or legal mandates.
Semion Mazor, Product Evangelist

Product Evangelist