About Jim O'Connor

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been involved with Information Technology for nearly 40 years, 21 of them with EMC. Today, I’m the product marketing lead for the Disk Library for mainframe product portfolio, and in this position have the opportunity to help pioneer virtual tape solutions in the mainframe marketplace.

Disk vs. Tape for Optimizing RPO & RTO: It’s Not Even Close

Jim O'Connor

Jim O'Connor

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been involved with Information Technology for nearly 40 years, 21 of them with EMC. Today, I’m the product marketing lead for the Disk Library for mainframe product portfolio, and in this position have the opportunity to help pioneer virtual tape solutions in the mainframe marketplace.

By Jim O’Connor, Senior Product Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

When a storage disaster occurs there are two questions that immediately come to mind: Where’s my data?!, and How long will it take to restore it?! These critical questions can be answered by understanding and evaluating two specific metrics:  Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

  • RPO looks backward to the last backup; it’s a measure of how much updating will be required between that point and the current state.
  • RTO looks forward (eagerly) to the moment of resumed operations. When a disaster occurs, this is the one that the business line managers will be obsessing about.

So, Where’s my data? It depends.

  • How long ago was the system backed up?
  • How often are incremental backups conducted?
  • Are backups prioritized for mission-criticality?

How long will it be before we’re up and running again?

  • How long before all the data arrives at the DR site?
  • How long will it take to load the backed-up data?
  • When was my last backup (or Recovery Point)?

The answers to these questions depend upon your backup technology. Everything is related to how much transactional activity occurs after your last backup and how long it takes to get that data after your next system failure.

Hours vs. Days – The Benefit of Virtual Tape Backup

A move to virtual tape backup can reduce RTO and RPO by many hours, and often days. The first thing that is eliminated is the need to physically transport information anywhere. So the 24, 48, 72 or 96 hour delays in transporting tape backups– after backups or disasters — are simply gone. When systems are backed up to virtual tape, the backup is securely encrypted and transmitted via TCP/IP to the interim or DR site. TCP/IP verifies that the backup arrived, and your data is exactly where it needs to be if an adverse event occurs.

In the event of a system failure, the data is already at the DR or interim site. Finding data sets is simple; each data set has its own unique VOL-SER on disk, and there is no need to mount reels on spindles. The system finds virtual tape volume #1, mounts the data set, and moves on to the next step automatically, with sub-second response time. The recovery begins immediately. The tape management system loads the files rapidly and automatically, and the system is restored in a few hours. In the world of real tape, it would normally take roughly 24 hours to get a full, restored, functioning system, which is on top of the considerable time already saved waiting for tapes to arrive from the offsite storage facility.

Should you consider a virtual tape solution?

The virtual tape backup solution was devised to allow mainframe-based companies to make use of the technological advantages of disk-based storage in a plug-and-play manner. The ancillary advantages are considerable, as well: the prioritization of data allows users to tune their RPO and RTO, on top of the highly dramatic reductions of both when transportation and tape-based restoration is eliminated. This only serves the business mission and compliance in ways that make life much easier for IT.

If you are attending Share in Anaheim (Aug. 6-10) please stop by our booth (#302) to discuss EMC’s mainframe virtual tape libraries.

A Match Made in Heaven

Jim O'Connor

Jim O'Connor

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been involved with Information Technology for nearly 40 years, 21 of them with EMC. Today, I’m the product marketing lead for the Disk Library for mainframe product portfolio, and in this position have the opportunity to help pioneer virtual tape solutions in the mainframe marketplace.

By Jim O’Connor, Senior Product Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery System

In the not too distant past backup was very straightforward; the mainframe backed up data to proprietary tape formats, UNIX and Windows had their own processes and IBM i (formerly iSeries or AS400 way back in the day) had its unique process for backup data. In effect separate islands but everyone was aware of where the lines of demarcation were drawn.

Well the lines have blurred considerably since those simpler times. Head counts were reduced, people were asked to do more with less, and new technologies emerged. Consolidation was the operative word as people began to understand that all of these islands of data had very similar characteristics and processing requirements.

Today, organizations are looking to reduce storage footprint, consolidate backup workloads and manage them all through a single interface. For mixed operating environments, EMC’s recently announced Disk Library for mainframe DLm1000 delivers on these requirements.  The DLm1000 is a standalone mainframe tape emulator that delivers gateway functionality between a mainframe and Data Domain deduplication storage systems. As a gateway solution, the Data Domain storage system being used by the mainframe can simultaneously be utilized as a backup target for open system servers, including IBM i.

Combining the DLm1000 with Data Domain storage systems, organizations can leverage common backup storage for mainframe and open system environments while taking advantage of all of the unique capabilities of Data Domain systems, including:

  • Scalable Deduplication Storage – provides 10 to 30x average reduction in backup storage required
  • Support for leading backup and archive applications
  • Multisite Disaster Recovery – 99 percent bandwidth efficiency for network-based replication
  • Flexible replication topologies for tape-free DR or tape consolidation
  • Data Domain Invulnerability Architecture  - for ultra-safe storage for reliable recovery

So now, rather than islands of backup data users can have all of their mainframe and open system backups stored together on the industry’s leading deduplication storage platform, ensuring their data is protecting while also dramatically reducing cost and complexity.  Sounds like a match made in heaven…

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Jim O'Connor

Jim O'Connor

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been involved with Information Technology for nearly 40 years, 21 of them with EMC. Today, I’m the product marketing lead for the Disk Library for mainframe product portfolio, and in this position have the opportunity to help pioneer virtual tape solutions in the mainframe marketplace.

By Jim O’Connor, Senior Product Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

Virtual Tape Libraries have forever changed the landscape in mainframe tape operations. High-performance VTLs can shrink backup and restore times, reduce storage and replication requirements, improve RPO and RTO, eliminate drive contention, prevent lost tapes, and reduce the possibility of damaged tape media by storing data on RAID protected disk.

However one of the biggest advantages over tape is the minimized foot print in the data center, saving floor space costs, power, air conditioning and more.

The EMC DLm2000 Virtual Tape Library for mainframe environments delivers all of this functionality in a single data center floor tile. One customer reports a 95% reduction in floor space and a 75% reduction in power consumption.

Don’t let the small package mislead you, the EMC DLm2000 provides:

  • Up to 680 MB/sec throughput for faster backup and restore times
  • Up to 680 MB/sec throughput for faster backup and restore times
  • Hardware compression that reduces data size by a factor of up to 4 to 1, which minimizes storage and replication requirements
  • 512 virtual drives to eliminate drive contention
  • Data replication to a DR site, eliminating the possibility of lost or stolen tapes and providing an improved Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO).

The powerful EMC DLm2000 is an ideal alternative to mainframe tape systems for small to mid-sized mainframe data centers.  A fully configured DLm2000 can store the equivalent of over 175,000 full 3490E tape cartridges. Just imagine the reduced costs of storing that many tapes and the personnel costs to manage them.

With the DLm2000 it’s also no longer necessary to send hundreds of tape cartridges and personnel to the DR site for testing readiness; you can do it from your desktop. The Disk Library for mainframe has  allowed some companies to say that, for the first time they have complete confidence in their ability to recover from an unexpected outage.

When it comes to mainframe tape processing  – size DOES matter.

Improving IT and Business Response Times with Tape for Mainframe

Jim O'Connor

Jim O'Connor

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been involved with Information Technology for nearly 40 years, 21 of them with EMC. Today, I’m the product marketing lead for the Disk Library for mainframe product portfolio, and in this position have the opportunity to help pioneer virtual tape solutions in the mainframe marketplace.

By Jim O’Connor, Senior Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems Division

The issue isn’t how fast your tape drives are, but how fast you can get to the data when you need it.

Tape has always provided the most inexpensive, yet accessible, storage available for batch backups, disaster recovery, and long-term archives, but it has had its limitations (e.g., issues with mechanical components wearing down over time, unreadable media, time to first byte and, of course, tapes can be lost, stolen or misplaced), which have relegated its use to data that is infrequently accessed.

 Although hierarchical storage management is a relatively new concept in the open-systems world, it has been part of the mainframe landscape for decades. When access is very frequent, data is kept on tier-1 storage and available for on-line applications. But as data ages and usage patterns become less and less frequent, it is migrated off disk and onto tape, where it is relegated to batch access.

With EMC DLm6000 Virtual Tape Library for mainframe environments, however, access to information doesn’t have to be slow or unreliable; it can be fast and consistent. In fact, data that took one or two minutes to access from physical tape via batch process can typically be retrieved in one second or less from virtual tape. This fact alone blurs the distinction between on-line and batch processes and allows data center managers to recalibrate their tiered storage strategies.

Because VTLs store data on spinning disk without compromising recall performance, businesses can keep much more data available for on-line inquiry. This can provide a significant competitive advantage. As an example, most banks allow on-line access of statements and check images for 90 days, after which they have to execute batch jobs to retrieve data and then print and mail the data to you. This can be a lengthy, time-consuming and costly process! But compare this to a bank that has on-line access to years of statement data on high-performance VTLs, such as the EMC DLm6000, and has completely eliminated the off-line batch process. Not only does this bank improve the customer experience by having years of data at customers’ fingertips, but it also saves money from an IT and overall business perspective.

High-performance VTLs can shrink backup and restore times, reduce storage and replication requirements with deduplication technology, eliminate drive contention (which improves performance and ensures availability), prevent lost tapes (via encryption and data vaulting), and reduce the possibility of damaged media and tape by storing data on disk. So, not only does a VTL help you eliminate physical tape, these factors allow greater flexibility in how tape data is accessed and used in day-to-day operations. Because data is more readily available, it has the potential of increasing the value of that data for applications such as hierarchical storage management, fixed content data access, electronic discovery, etc., ─ and this a win-win for your IT and business environment.