Data backup strategies in 2020 vs. 2025: What's going to change?

Let's look to the future -- all the way to the year 2025. How will data backup evolve? How will sharp increases in data volume affect backup strategies?

Current shifts in technology and business drive changes that will impact how we think about backups. So, what might data backup strategies look like in five years.

We can study the changes occurring today to help set some expectations of what backup life will be in 2025. Let's start with a few predictions by industry analyst firm IDC to set the 2025 stage:

  • The total amount of data created worldwide will be approximately 175 zettabytes.
  • About 30% of all data created will be done in real time.
  • About 60% of the 175 zettabytes will be created by enterprise organizations.
  • About half of the world's stored data will reside in the public cloud.

It may seem as though your backup team might become really busy. But these stats don't reflect the whole story about data backup strategies. Much of this data will be used for analytics by data scientists and those organizations seeking to increase the data literacy of the everyday user. That means such data will likely be static and, thus, backed up a handful of times over a longer period of time. It could also reside in a cloud service that ensures data integrity and availability so that your backup team never actually needs to back it up.

There are still a lot of data backup strategies that organizations must address. Here are three possibilities for 2025:

1. Anything on premises will still be an issue. From my time spent with customers at this year's Microsoft Ignite show, it feels like many organizations sit squarely in a hybrid environment, which means it will likely take more than five years to move endpoints, systems, directory services and applications completely off premises. Backup teams will still be responsible for backing up all these components. However, you should expect that any new data backup strategies will be cloud-based, so you probably will back up less on-premises data in five years than you do today.

2. You're going to be backing up a lot more data residing in the cloud. The well-established "shared responsibility" cloud services model clearly has cloud application vendors moving in the direction of exposing data via APIs and allowing third-party vendors to create backup offerings. Cloud application vendors themselves might not ever want to be in the business of backup and recovery, so the small number of cloud applications today that you can back up -- such as Office 365 and Salesforce -- will likely increase.

3. You may not need to back up at all. In many cases, cloud service providers (CSPs) handle backup and recovery work and make it cheaper for organizations. Much like outsourcing IT to a managed service provider, organizations might be inclined to use a CSP as their partner for data backup strategies. CSPs have the expertise and experience to properly protect IT investments via cloud-based backup and recovery.

A lot can change in the next five years, but some things never change. The responsibility to protect data will always fall to the organization -- even in the not-too-distant future of 2025.

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