I was recently speaking with a potential customer about their data protection needs. As most of my conversations start, it was all about his main datacenters of which he had 3:  protecting Windows, Linux, UNIX, SQL, Oracle and SAP…  your rather standard fare of enterprise applications.

They were currently under contract for the datacenter protection of which most of the day to day was outsourced to IBM. He went on to explain to me that his bigger pain was not in the datacenter, but the logistical and operational nightmare that was protecting information and systems at his 60+ remote locations.

He then explained that each location was “on their own” to make sure that tapes were changed, and to compound the issue, many of the sites did not have qualified IT staff to manage the backups and tape management.

One scenario he highlighted was where one of the office staff at one of the remote sites in Texas had to do a restore from tape, when it was discovered that the tape they needed was actually placed on “top” of the drive instead of “in” it.  He also said that their datacenter backup solution was ok for their core enterprise needs, but when it came to using that same solution at the remote sites, it quickly became cost prohibitive.

From there we had a very productive conversation about how we could help him not only protect those remote sites by utilizing their existing IT infrastructure, but also mitigate the tape cost and operational inefficiencies. He was interested to learn how he could manage all of his remote locations centrally, and cut down in the amount of data needed to commit to disk via de-duplication and compression.

As we concluded the conversation and agreed on next steps of a proof of concept to protect his remote sites, it occurred to me that this remote office issue is likely a problem for many mid-size/enterprise companies. The problems they have in the data centers are typically a point of focus and get the most attention from the HQ, and get most out of the budget. But, the remote locations that these larger organizations have to manage are a real problem and pain for many IT departments!