About Gene Maxwell

I am known by many as the creator of documentation that helps others easily understand technology. This is because I discovered that I myself was a visual learner as I worked in many different IT roles over the years. Prior to my technical marketing role, I was an EMC technical consultant for six years. I also have many years of experience as a customer in IT responsible for data center management & disaster recovery, including backups. My hobbies include building PCs, collecting movies (Casablanca is my favorite), singing and playing my guitar. I have a twin brother who is three minutes older than I am.

Chicago Was Cold but EMC Forum Was Hot!

Gene Maxwell

Gene Maxwell

Technical Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I am known by many as the creator of documentation that helps others easily understand technology. This is because I discovered that I myself was a visual learner as I worked in many different IT roles over the years. Prior to my technical marketing role, I was an EMC technical consultant for six years. I also have many years of experience as a customer in IT responsible for data center management & disaster recovery, including backups. My hobbies include building PCs, collecting movies (Casablanca is my favorite), singing and playing my guitar. I have a twin brother who is three minutes older than I am.

Show is Cold Too, just like ChicagoOctober 23rd was very cold in Chicago, almost 20 degrees below normal.  But at the Westin Hotel near O’Hare Airport things were hot with nearly 600 customers attending the EMC Forum Chicago event.  In 2013 there have been 55 different EMC Forum events happening across the country providing information about EMC’s exciting solutions portfolio helping thousands of existing and potential EMC customers better understand how to lead their own transformation.

The event was kicked off by Steve Crowe, the Central Division Senior VP, with the keynote address given by Jon Peirce, SVP, IT Private Cloud Infrastructure Services sharing the different ways that EMC is leveraging its own solutions to transform EMC into a more efficient organization. Following the keynote, there were 5 different tracks including 20 different sessions to choose from on topics that ranged from cloud transformation, backup recovery and archive, converged infrastructure with Vblock, VIPR, to Big Data.  There were also 14 sponsor booths where folks could stop and talk about specific products and solutions. When I was a customer, I loved to attend these events to get the latest information on all things EMC.

I was lucky enough to be the presenter of “Changing the Game with EMC Backup and Recovery” for BRS.   My session was full with even some attendees standing in the back which tells me there are still lots of folks out there struggling with backup and archive. I talked about how IT organizations that don’t focus enough on servicing the needs of their business units can create an accidental architecture which can be very inefficient, expensive, hard to manage, and not be as scalable as it needs to be. I provided an overview on how EMC’s data protection solutions for backup and archive can provide real value for their transformation journey.  I also provided an update on our most recent launch for Data Domain, Avamar, and NetWorker.

I believe there is only 1 EMC Forum event left in 2013 (30 Oct is Dallas, where you can also say “hi
to EMCBackup) – but if you get the chance to attend EMC Forum next year, I highly recommend it.  It was fun and very informative.  In Chicago, EMC Forum was hot, and there was a real buzz in the air!

I’ll Take “EMC for SharePoint” for $100 Alex

Gene Maxwell

Gene Maxwell

Technical Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I am known by many as the creator of documentation that helps others easily understand technology. This is because I discovered that I myself was a visual learner as I worked in many different IT roles over the years. Prior to my technical marketing role, I was an EMC technical consultant for six years. I also have many years of experience as a customer in IT responsible for data center management & disaster recovery, including backups. My hobbies include building PCs, collecting movies (Casablanca is my favorite), singing and playing my guitar. I have a twin brother who is three minutes older than I am.

I’ll take “EMC for SharePoint” for $100 Alex.

As I participated in the Chicago SharePointFest event last week I talked with lots of SharePoint customers about the many ways that SourceOne for SharePoint could help them.  Several of these customers asked me an interesting open-ended question that made me stop and think.   “So what does EMC do for SharePoint?”   With so many good answers to this question, I thought this would make a great new Jeopardy category.

If “Why EMC for Microsoft SharePoint?” ever appears as a category on Jeopardy, here are what some of the answers would be:

  1. What is Primary Storage:  EMC offers multiple primary storage options that offer a wide variety of storage features many of them with our Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) technology.
  2. What is Virtualization/Cloud Platform:  EMC as part of VCE offers VBlock for first class virtualization of any application environment including SharePoint and the other Microsoft applications.
  3. What is Externalize Active Content:  SourceOne for SharePoint gives customers the ability to externalize their active SharePoint content out of the SQL database enhancing SharePoint performance & scalability and decreasing licensing costs while maintaining full transparency to SharePoint users.
  4. What is Archive Inactive Content:  SourceOne also provides the ability for customers to archive inactive SharePoint content out of their SQL databases by moving it to a more cost appropriate tier of storage that can leverage features like deduplication, compression, and single instancing. SourceOne offers SharePoint users full access to their content via a web plug in, maintaining ease of search and full transparency to SharePoint users.
  5. What is E-Discovery:  SourceOne Discovery Manager provides easy-to-use yet very powerful e-discovery capabilities across all SourceOne Archive data.  SourceOne Discovery Manager can discover, manage, and apply secure hold to any content in the EMC SourceOne archives.
  6. What is Archive Storage:  EMC offers multiple archive storage options for SharePoint including Data Domain, Atmos, and Centera that provide many storage efficiency and data protection advantages.
  7. What is Backup & Recovery: Avamar and NetWorker with Data Domain provide the best backup and recovery for SharePoint with intelligent agents that allow recovery of individual SharePoint items (when combined with Kroll) or the entire SharePoint farm.
  8. What is Enterprise Content Management:  Some customers try to get SharePoint to do things it really wasn’t designed to do.   EMC Documentum integrates with SharePoint to provide many of these common document management requirements such as business process management and compliance while maintaining the familiar SharePoint user experience.

I’m probably forgetting something, but that’s one heck of a list!  I think EMC has SharePoint well covered.

My Top 5 Reasons Why Data Domain for Oracle Database Backups!

Gene Maxwell

Gene Maxwell

Technical Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I am known by many as the creator of documentation that helps others easily understand technology. This is because I discovered that I myself was a visual learner as I worked in many different IT roles over the years. Prior to my technical marketing role, I was an EMC technical consultant for six years. I also have many years of experience as a customer in IT responsible for data center management & disaster recovery, including backups. My hobbies include building PCs, collecting movies (Casablanca is my favorite), singing and playing my guitar. I have a twin brother who is three minutes older than I am.

Thinking Man

For the sake of argument, let’s say that I am an Oracle DBA and some of my databases have gotten so big, it’s getting difficult to finish daily full backups within our available backup window.  There is talk that the backup admins want to change our database backups to weekend fulls and daily incrementals but I don’t want that because it will make database recovery more difficult, more time consuming, and less certain.

Unfortunately for me, our database backups are managed by the backup administrators so I really don’t have much control over what they do and when.   The other thing that scares me is the number of media and tape hardware problems I hear they are having on a regular basis.  I’m worried that when we really do need to recover an important database, we won’t be able to recover from physical tape and because I have no visibility into their backup results, I never really know if my databases are protected or not.  I’m also concerned about actually recovering our databases in a real disaster recovery situation.

This is an all to common scenario for many DBAs.  Fortunately, Data Domain systems can help to alleviate these pains.

Here are my Top 5 Reasons Why Data Domain for Oracle database backups:

  1. Backups with Data Domain and DD Boost are 50% faster giving me the speed I need to complete full backups within backup windows and providing some breathing room for databases to grow.
  2. Backups with Data Domain are more reliable because it eliminates unreliable physical tape media and physical tape hardware and the Data Domain Data Invulnerability Architecture provides the best data protection available giving me confidence we will be able to recover when needed.
  3. Database recovery will be simple because we will always be recovering from full backups.
  4. I have control of all my Oracle database backups, replication to our DR site, and recovery from RMAN with full catalog visibility so I always know what’s going on without having to ask the backup admins.
  5. I am confident that I can recover my Oracle databases in a true disaster recovery situation because I know that my database backups have completed successfully, that Data Domain is protecting the integrity of the data, that the replication to our DR site Data Domain system has completed, and that I’ll be recovering from a full database backup.

Those are the top 5 reasons why I’d want Data Domain to protect my Oracle databases if I was an Oracle DBA!

Did Dinosaurs Like the Taste of Tape Cartridges?

Gene Maxwell

Gene Maxwell

Technical Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I am known by many as the creator of documentation that helps others easily understand technology. This is because I discovered that I myself was a visual learner as I worked in many different IT roles over the years. Prior to my technical marketing role, I was an EMC technical consultant for six years. I also have many years of experience as a customer in IT responsible for data center management & disaster recovery, including backups. My hobbies include building PCs, collecting movies (Casablanca is my favorite), singing and playing my guitar. I have a twin brother who is three minutes older than I am.

Whenever I see physical tape cartridges still being used for backups, I can’t help but think about cavemen and dinosaurs. They have so many things in common:

  • They are both old and outdated (OK, one is a little older than the other)
  • They are problematic (the problem is, what good are they to anyone anymore?)
  • They are undependable (just try and get a caveman to do something for you these days)
  • They are inflexible (what does a Dinosaur do… anything it wants to do!)
  • They are expensive (do you know how much it costs to feed a dinosaur these days?)
  • Nobody wants them anymore (am I right?)
  • They’re extinct (but may not realize it yet)
  • They represent the past, a bygone era that most people have moved beyond

So how does a progressive human fix the age-old problem of doing backups with physical tape?  Go simple, go fast, go tapeless!   Deduplication technology is the enabler to get your backups out of the stone-age.  Deduplicated disk storage backups provide many advantages over physical tape:

  1. Backups are much faster
  2. Backups are far more reliable
  3. Life is simpler eliminating the need to manage thousands of tape cartridges
  4. Restores are easier and will actually work
  5. Reduce backup costs by eliminating maintenance for tape libraries & drives
  6. Reduce valuable data center floor space by eliminating tape libraries & tape storage
  7. Eliminate the costs of tape handling, tape movement, and tape storage
  8. Reduce the risks of tape cartridges being lost or stolen (and expensive fines)
  9. Simplify Disaster Recovery and enable better DR testing (need I go on…)

The decision is yours.   Stone-age or 21st century?   Dinosaurs or Deduplication?  You decide.   If you’re ready to take your backups out of the stone-age, we are ready to help with industry leading backup and recovery solutions.

How to Stop Database Backup Fights

Gene Maxwell

Gene Maxwell

Technical Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I am known by many as the creator of documentation that helps others easily understand technology. This is because I discovered that I myself was a visual learner as I worked in many different IT roles over the years. Prior to my technical marketing role, I was an EMC technical consultant for six years. I also have many years of experience as a customer in IT responsible for data center management & disaster recovery, including backups. My hobbies include building PCs, collecting movies (Casablanca is my favorite), singing and playing my guitar. I have a twin brother who is three minutes older than I am.

IN THIS CORNER, WEIGHING IN AT 180 POUNDS, LEAD BACKUP ADMIN JOE BACKUP. AND IN THIS CORNER WEIGHING IN AT 175 POUNDS, SENIOR ORACLE DATABASE ADMIN JOHN DATABASE. TODAYS FIGHT WILL BE 10 ROUNDS. THE WINNER: CONTROL OF ORACLE DATABASE BACKUPS.

Sound familiar? 

Is this a regular fighting match in your IT organization over who has control of Oracle database backups and recovery? Are you one of the participants or are you someone on the sideline who’d like to sell tickets and make a few bucks?  The challenges seem endless and everyone’s getting tired of all this in-fighting.

Here are some of the punches we’ve seen thrown:

  • (left) DBAs want daily full backups to maximize critical database recovery, (block) backup team say full backups take too long and are hard to get done within backup windows.
  • (right) DBAs want to be able to do more than one backup on some days, (left) backup team can barely get one done within backup windows and backup resources are needed for other backups.
  • (left) DBAs want to keep weeks or months of full backup retention, (right) backup team says they take up too many resources and want to limit them to a couple of days or at most, a week.
  • (left) DBAs want some backups done now on-demand, not just when scheduled, (block) backup team is busy doing other things on their regular schedule and there are resource limitations of bandwidth and target backup devices.  (right) DBAs are tired of asking, (left) backup team is tired of interruptions.
  • (right) DBAs want reports on-demand regarding backup success and off site copies, (uppercut) backup team is busy doing all the rest of their work and tired of being bothered all the time.

How can you stop the fighting?  

Actually,  it’s not as difficult as you may think it is. In fact, it’s a very simple 2 steps:

  1. First, switch your slow unreliable Oracle database backups over to an extremely fast deduplication storage solution. 
  2. Then give your Oracle DBAs total control of their own backups and recovery using the Oracle RMAN utility that they already know and trust. 

If you’re the backup admin, don’t panic yet, we’ve got you covered too! You can also leverage data protection management software that can give backup admins a single view of all replication and backup – even if you’re not controlling it. Here’s what our RMAN direct to a deduplicated storage solution:

  • Speed up your backups typically by 50% or more so that daily full backups can be completed within backup windows with breathing room to spare for data growth.
  • Ensure data integrity for critical Oracle databases with the industry’s best data protection
  • Allow Oracle DBAs to perform their own DB backups & recovery using RMAN GUI or CLI.
  • Provide RMAN full catalog awareness for all local and DR database copies.
  • Provide longer space efficient database retention through efficient variable length inline deduplication technology.
  • Provide cost effective and bandwidth efficient replication controlled by RMAN.
  • Eliminate slow unreliable physical tape & all the associated problems and risks.
  • Dramatically improve backup & recovery reliability and performance through automatic path load balancing and failover with less failed backup jobs to restart.
  • Provide the ability to establish logical quotas to limit shared deduplication capacity to agreed upon limits with the DBAs.  One threshold issues warnings, another will stop new backups.
  • Eliminate expensive backup application licensing for Oracle databases because the DBAs will be using Oracle RMAN utility to perform database backups and recoveries.
  • Stop the fighting and let the Oracle DBAs do their own backups and let the backup administrators focus resources on the rest of their backups.

If you’re ready to stop the fighting, improve your Oracle database backups, and make your DBAs happy, we’re ready to help with the industry’s leading Oracle database backup and recovery solution.  It’s like having your cake and eating it too,