Does Age Matter?

By Deanna Hoover, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

I was recently reading an article pertaining to age and athletic ability.  The not so shocking news is that athletes of any level will see a decrease in performance with age.  So yes, age does matter.

How does this apply to backup?

As I was reading this article it occurred to me that people getting older is much like our backup environment getting older and close to end of life. If you are over 35 you will probably agree that getting older has some disadvantages.  Our bodies start having pains that never existed when we were younger; we put on weight, we become forgetful, and we pick up more baggage.  And yes, there are advantages of getting older also, such as becoming wiser.

Well, our backup environments have some of the same negative traits.  Servers crash for no apparent reason, the backup media has grown beyond expectations, servers are running out of memory, and they now have to backup up applications that didn’t even exist when the environment was originally built.

Since getting older does bring the advantage of being wiser, as humans we can leverage what we’ve learned to upgrade and build an environment that meets the needs of today and the future.

I was able to put my theory to test a few days ago when I was speaking to a long time NetWorker customer.  This customer recently went through a hardware and software upgrade to their NetWorker environment.   The results were much like what we read about with athletes taking performance enhancing drugs; however, the upgrade will continue to perform at the same level for quite some time, and it was totally legal.

Are you looking for ways to improve performance, reduce baggage, and sleep better at night?  I’m talking about this in respect to your backups, of course.

Well, let’s look at how one customer was able to bring life back into his old NetWorker environment.  By doing so he was able to retire old tape libraries, reduce the backup windows, implement a tapeless replication process for Disaster Recovery, plus more.

Now let me give you a short preview of the customer’s before and after environment. You will be amazed at how little time and effort went into the upgrade.  The results will speak for themselves.

Challenges with Old Environment:

  • Manual tape processes not consistent with virtualization objectives
  • Tape libraries breaking on an almost weekly basis
  • Ongoing data growth driven by existing and new applications
  • WAN links used for replication were saturated
  • IT staff spending ~25% of their week managing backups

Benefits of New Environment:

These are benefits the customer experienced by implementing Data Domain with the most current version of NetWorker

  • Completely eliminated tape from backup operations (from 9 tape libraries 0).
    • They kept one around for legacy tape recoveries
  • Efficient replication eased WAN traffic.
    • Data Domain de-duplication was the key factor to reduction in WAN traffic
  • IT staff reduced time managing backups by 90%
    • Their backup failures were mostly due to tape and tape library failures
  • Increased flexibility to migrate and restore VMs at other sites
  • Reduced restore time up to 97%
    • The reduction is compared to their old tape environment
  • Implemented tapeless replication from primary to disaster recovery site
    • Another cost savings is they no longer have to pay offsite tape vault services
  • De-duplication ratios on Data Domain of 20:1
  • Fast and reliable backups of their VMware environments

Old Environment:

  • One NetWorker Server
  • Nine (9) NetWorker Storage Nodes
  • Eight (8) sites
  • Nine (9) tape libraries
  • Off-site tape vaulting service

New Environment:

  • One NetWorker Server
  • Nine (9) NetWorker Storage Nodes
  • Eight (8) sites
  • Seven (7) EMC Data Domain Replicator software
  • EMC NetWorker backup and recovery software

Upgrade Process:

The process to upgrade NetWorker and add new devices took no more than 4 total hours.  This included upgrading binaries on multiple servers and storage nodes, adding new Data Domain devices and testing the new environment.

The customer used a phased approach to fully remove tape from the environment.  They chose to remove 2-3 libraries each time, depending on the site for each of the tape libraries.

While science has not yet found the solution to stop aging in humans, EMC has found the Fountain of Youth for backup environments. Take a look at all the features available in NetWorker : http://www.emc.com/backup-and-recovery/networker/networker.htm

Deanna Hoover
I spent most of my career (25+ years) as a systems administrator with responsibilities for storage architecture. But after many years of supporting production environments and becoming burned out by the 7x24 on-call schedule, I made the move into presales and then technical marketing. Life is good. I am able to leverage my customer and sales experience, by helping my team understand the customer’s perspective and challenges. If you have questions, ask them here on or on EMC NetWorker Online Commnity. I'd love to chat! My life away from work consists of playing in the great outdoors - I am an adrenaline junky, triathlete, mountaineer and techno-girl.
Deanna Hoover

Latest posts by Deanna Hoover (see all)

This entry was posted in Expert Advice, Virtualization and tagged , , , , by Deanna Hoover. Bookmark the permalink.

About Deanna Hoover

I spent most of my career (25+ years) as a systems administrator with responsibilities for storage architecture. But after many years of supporting production environments and becoming burned out by the 7x24 on-call schedule, I made the move into presales and then technical marketing. Life is good. I am able to leverage my customer and sales experience, by helping my team understand the customer’s perspective and challenges. If you have questions, ask them here on or on EMC NetWorker Online Commnity. I'd love to chat! My life away from work consists of playing in the great outdoors - I am an adrenaline junky, triathlete, mountaineer and techno-girl.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>