11/22/2013: When Data Center Tech Entered The Living Room

Alex Almeida

Alex Almeida

Technology Evangelist, Data Protection and Availability Division
My passion for technology started at an early age and has never stopped. Today, I find myself immersed in data protection. Yep, I live, breathe and tweet backup, availability and archive. In fact, nothing short of fully understanding how things work will keep me from digging deeper. But when I’m not evangelizing on the benefits of backup or technology in general, I can be spotted at a New England Revolution game, behind the lens of a camera or listening to my favorite albums on vinyl. In addition to blogging for The Protection Continuum, you can find me on the EMC Community Network. Also, I'm a member of EMC Elect 2014, and I'm active in the New England VMware User Group (NEVMUG) and the Virtualization Technology User Group (VTUG). Let's get technical!

Xbox One-AlmeidaThis will come as no surprise for those of you who have been following my twitter feed these past few weeks, I am obsessed with the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One! The Video Game entertainment industry is exploding! Recent gaming releases have raked in revenue that rivals the biggest Hollywood blockbuster ticket sales. So, it’s no surprise that the level of investment entertainment companies continue to make in games is increasing.

While which gaming system to get is a religious war to a lot of folks, I think whether you go with Sony’s Playstation 4 or Microsoft’s Xbox One, you are walking into a world that quite frankly will raise the bar when it comes to the immersion level in these games. Case in point, the ability for game developers to leverage APIs that can talk to an app on your smartphone to actually call you. That’s right, your virtual smartphone rings in the game, and the smartphone sitting next to you rings!

So aside from resolution up-scaling controversies, and number of “pixel shader” unit debates, there are a lot more subtle aspects which I feel are crucial to making this new generation of video game entertainment great.

What excites me more about Xbox One, is what is under the covers, and where the underlying technology Microsoft is using originated. It came from Microsoft’s Windows Hyper-V and Windows Azure components. One can think of it this way, essentially there are pieces of enterprise data center technology sitting next to your television. I’ll even stretch the definition and say that it could be considered a mini Hybrid Cloud!

So what on earth am I talking about? Well, as demonstrated, the Xbox One can quickly and seamlessly switch between various entertainment modes. You can go from driving the Lotus E21 Formula One Car in Forza Motorsport 5, to watching ESPN live through your cable provider in seconds. Then, if you decide, you can switch to Netflix in seconds all while the video game and ESPN keep running in the background. So what is the enabling technology enabling this feature? It’s Hyper-V, arguably making the Xbox One a mini private cloud.

Now, you aren’t running a full blown implementation of Windows Server 2012 R2 with Windows Azure Pack inside of the box, but rather through intelligent code re-use, the ability to run 3 different OSes simultaneously on the Xbox One hardware is clearly where using Hyper-V technology makes sense.


So where is the “public cloud” component of my hybrid cloud statement? Well it’s essentially Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming platform.  It isn’t a secret that Xbox Live is leveraging Microsoft’s Azure public cloud infrastructure. According to Microsoft Xbox Live utilizes 300,000 servers globally deployed in Azure. Leveraging Xbox Live services in the cloud, compute power of the Xbox One doesn’t stop at the console hardware.

Windows Azure LogoJust like in an enterprise data center, you can augment the processing power available to you by leveraging public cloud resources. In the case of Xbox game developers coding to the Azure Development Platform, they now have the power of programming in-game capabilities that can off-load certain compute functions to the public cloud. This is where the possibilities can be limitless.

Launches like this only come around every 7=10 years. But this particular console refresh cycle to me is different and more exciting since I am seeing enterprise technology that I directly work with in my day job not simply making people productive, but bring fun and joy to life as well.

Happy Gaming!

Read More at ExposingTech.com

Users, Enterprise IT & CIOs: You Can Have Cloud & Control

Russ Stockdale

Russ Stockdale

I’m kind of a ‘change junkie.’ I love this industry because it’s always changing, providing something new to learn and cool new problems to solve. But I’m also very much a people-person, so I’m drawn to that point in the technology adoption curve where something is about to get broadly adopted by lots and lots of people: Windows in the early ‘90s, email in the late ‘90s, a series of internet startups over the next 10 years, and now cloud-based data protection. As Mozy GM, I get excited by taking technology that is pretty raw and messy, and making it very accessible.

162049206They say you always remember your first car, but in this industry I find that also holds true for your first computer. Do you remember yours?  Mine was a clone of an IBM XT, the first PC to come factory-equipped with a hard drive.  While IBM’s XT came with a paltry 10MB drive, my mighty clone came with a massive 20MB!  I also remember my first IT-provided computer: a Compaq Portable, known at the time as a “luggable” because it tipped the scales at a hefty 28 lbs.

Fast forward to today, and things couldn’t be more different. My phone has roughly 1,000 times the capacity of my first computer.  We shift from device to device—many of which are no longer owned and managed by the IT department—working whenever and wherever we want or need to. And while this way of working has a whole lot of good to it, it also brings new challenges.

Socially, we navigate the perils of texting drivers, and “always on” lifestyles.  Professionally, this paradigm raises new challenges (and opportunities) for managing and protecting our information.

As IT attempts to manage and protect the data moving among all these devices, “accidental architectures” can inadvertently spring up comprising a mix of consumer cloud services, as well as business-grade on-premise solutions. Even then, important corporate data lives beyond the reach of the IT department, unmonitored and lacking any form of corporate control or protection.

However, just as the environment has evolved, so has Mozy. Over the years, we have launched an enterprise version, a mobile access solution, better upload technology, better interfaces and improved our restore function. And, today, we’re launching the next generation, which not only adds great new user features but will also help organizations deploy a flexible protection storage architecture for powerful, scalable integrated data protection.

What’s New…

Since Mozy joined the EMC backup portfolio at the beginning of this year, we’ve been steadily improving its enterprise capabilities.  This summer, we announced the “Foundation Release,” a fundamental update in the technology that underpins the Mozy service. As a result, Mozy is now designed from the ground up to provide enterprise manageability for corporate customers and their users’ ever-changing array of devices.

Today’s release builds on that foundation to deliver the next generation of people-centric features, including:

  • Greater cloud administrative tools for Enterprise IT: Enhanced storage management saves time and money involved in provisioning and managing backup across thousands of users and devices.
  • Enhanced end-user experience: An integrated Mozy Sync folder keeps files updated and available across multiple computers and mobile devices. Mozy also introduces new functionality, which ensures faster initial backup times and greater bandwidth efficiency when backing up large files.
  • New Partner resources: New API support enables partners and resellers to manage Mozy with their preferred Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) or Professional Services Automation (PSA) systems.

All wrapped up in the unprecedented cloud security and controls that businesses have come to expect from Mozy—and that’s enough to make any CIO sleep easier.

In addition, MozyEnterprise now becomes the public cloud component within the EMC Data Protection Suite. This means EMC customers and partners can extend their individual Protection Storage Architectures to include cloud data protection for desktops, laptops, mobile devices and remote offices.

What This Means…

As with the rest of IT, the ways of doing backup are evolving. Customers are looking for more visibility and control into the protection of their data, wherever it lives, and they are requiring new levels of flexibility in how they deliver protection services within their organizations.

Increasingly, customers are turning to hybrid approaches to backup, where some data is protected locally, while other data is better suited for the cloud. Others will want to build and manage their own private cloud, and still others will want to leverage the efficiencies of the public cloud.

Whatever the scenario, the challenge for IT is to avoid the “accidental architectures” that can result from traditional backup when disparate unconnected protection tools are deployed with no central oversight or cost control to meet SLOs.

Smart businesses know that the best way to do this is to take control of the cloud services used in their organizations. And when that’s achievable with one comprehensive approach to data storage and protection, it’s even better.

Global IT Trust Survey Underscores Critical Tipping Point

Heidi Biggar

Heidi Biggar

Marketing and IT Consultant, Data Protection and Availability Division
I’m often asked how a political science major at Tufts wound up in the IT world, covering backup, storage, virtualization and cloud of all things. Truth is, it’s really a love for learning, a need to understand the “bigger picture” and a desire to share that view with others that’s steered my path over the past 20 years, from campaign manager to editor, analyst and marketer. After hours, you’ll find me hanging with family, running 10ks through Peachtree City’s 90 miles of cart paths, watching football or reading. I’m a New England transplant enjoying life in the South. In my previous life, I also blogged for ComputerWorld, Enterprise Strategy Group and Hitachi Data Systems, but The Backup Window is my baby. It's been great watching it evolve.


The results of a massive Global IT Trust survey are in, and the data is startling, especially for the less mature IT organizations among us.

Of the 1,600 IT and 1,600 business leaders surveyed:

  • Nearly half of the respondents (45%) reported that senior executives weren’t confident that their organizations had adequate availability, security and backup and recovery.
  • 61% reported said they had experienced unplanned downtime, a security breach or data loss in the last 12 months.

Even more troubling is data associating these types of IT incidents with real-life business consequences—and what these numbers could look like in 12-24 months, if organizations keep marching to the same data protection tune.

Of the 61% who experienced downtime, a security breach or data loss within the last 12 months:

  • 45% reported loss of employee productivity
  • 39% reported a loss of revenue
  • 32% reported a loss of confidence/loyalty
  • 27% reported a loss in incremental business opportunity.

Folks, as we’ve been talking about on The Backup Window for the past many months, we’re at a tipping point.

The way your organization does IT and data protection is more important than at any other point, and that’s why Stephen and I have blogged about the importance of your infrastructure and the lasting dangers of accidental architectures, why Guy has been challenging our thinking in his “Know Yourself” posts and why Irina Simmons, EMC senior vice president and chief risk officer, is encouraging all of us “to pursue greater maturity in IT to protect intellectual property and reputations with customers, shareholders, and other public stakeholders.”

Accidental architectures are pervasive:  73% of Respondents lack centralized backup & recovery

Accidental architectures are pervasive: 73% of respondents lack centralized backup.

Traditional backup approaches aren’t meeting the challenges of enormous data growth and application performance, and they aren’t driving services-oriented business models. And this is a big deal.

It’s fueling concern within organizations not just about the readiness of the IT team to reduce unplanned downtime and data loss but also among business teams about IT’s very ability to move forward aggressively. And this has the potential to stall strategic IT initiatives around Big Data, cloud computing, mobile, etc., and can cost your business big dollars in lost revenue, lost business opportunity and lost productivity.

The higher your organization is on the maturity curve, the more likely they are to implement more strategic and leading-edge technology projects such as Big Data Analytics.

The higher your organization is on the maturity curve, the more likely they are to implement more strategic and leading-edge technology projects such as Big Data Analytics.

These have been consistent themes across our blog throughout the year, and now the IT Trust survey confirms our thinking on a global scale. How you do data protection does matter to your business.

 A ‘Biggar’ Perspective…

For years, my girls were competitive gymnasts, and whether they were level 2’s or level 9’s, their practices started with somersaults—and not just any old ones. Their coaches were very particular: tuck, roll, grab; tuck, roll, grab; tuck, roll, grab…and so on. I can still hear the sound of their hands slapping their knees.

Early on I didn’t understand the significance of the somersault, but as my girls advanced to more complicated skills on the floor, beam, vault and bars—free of injury—it became very clear. The foundation is critical.

Data protection is your IT foundation. Done right, it can and will help advance your business. However, done wrong, it can be a gating factor of success. It’s that simple.

So, tuck, roll, grab!

The Payback from Backup Transformation – Part 3

Lady Backup

Lady Backup

Lady Backup’s career in IT dates back before the time of the Spice Girls. Initially I started in high tech journalism in the US and eventually transitioned to become an industry analyst. My analyst years also coincided with my education – during this period of my life I was working on my MBA. After 7 years of going to school at night, I graduated with distinction with an Information Age MBA degree from Bentley University (at the time it was still Bentley College) located just outside of Boston. With degree in hand, what’s a restless girl to do next? This is where networking with fellow classmates led to a job at EMC. Starting our Hopkinton headquarters, I moved outside of the US with EMC International when I felt it was time for my next change. Today, Lady Backup is an American on the loose in the world. Living outside the United States has been a fascinating experience. For the moment I call England home. But I’m feeling my next wave of restlessness coming. Here are two hints: I love sunshine and I’m improving my Spanish.

Lady Backup will conclude this series looking at a recent IDC analysis that quantifies the business benefits from backup transformation.

In Part 2 , we looked at the categories of savings from companies who modernized their backup infrastructure with EMC, totaling $3 million in savings per year.  In Part 1, we looked at the financial benefits, showing n average a 5-month payback on the investment into EMC backup solutions.

So what did these companies change to make this kind of impact?  They modernized their existing backup infrastructure in 3 key ways: ROI Graphic

  1. They replaced tape with purpose-built backup appliances.  Companies in the analysis reduced $1.8 million over three years by eliminating or significantly reducing the use of tape in their backup and DR processes.  IDC documented several headaches associated with tape, including failed backups and tape management.   With EMC, operational recovery speed on average improved by 64%.  DR readiness was also significantly improved with EMC.   Not only did speed for disaster recovery improve by 88%, companies are now able to test their DR plan.
  2. They added deduplication into the backup process. A common challenge for all of the companies in this study was data growth rate, which IDC estimates was 35% per year on average.  With that in mind, it is reasonable to assume that costs would continue to escalate for backup storage capacity if these companies had not included deduplication in their backup process.   IDC documented an 86% reduction in storage capacity from deduplication, which had a major impact on the storage cost savings.
  3. They consolidated backup silos across multiple environments, including their physical and virtual servers.   These companies got a handle on in their “accidental architecture” with an integrated, centrally managed data protection strategy.

In summary, IDC shows us a strong financial argument for backup transformation and why EMC.  But to close I want to come back to the impacts on the business.

On average, companies in the study had a 40% success rate of operational recoveries before they modernized their backup infrastructure.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider a 4 in 10 chance of a successful recovery to really be “success.”  After replacing existing backup infrastructure, the companies in this study now have a 100% success rate.

A 100% success completely changes the game.  Instead of hoping that the recovery will work, these companies have the confidence that when they need to recover something, it will quick and reliable.

All of the details about this study can be found on a dedicated Web page.  And we invite you to join the conversation using #IDCROI.

Read  more on ThoughtFeast. LB

More than Microsoft Support – EMC NetWorker 8.1 SP1

Sherry Davenport

Sherry Davenport

I started in the IT industry over 30 years ago — it sure doesn’t feel like that long! I worked my way through the ranks starting at the old Digital Equipment Corporation in software sales support, sales training, channel training, product management and, ultimately, marketing. My background includes digital imaging, team productivity software, Alta Vista (remember that?), storage management, storage networking and most recently backup and recovery software. While I love my job, I love cooking and wine appreciation even more.

Time flies.  How many times have you heard that??  Colloquialism aside, it’s true.  We announced NetWorker 8.1 in July.  For the 5th blog post in the ‘Meet NetWorker 8.1’ series, I would like to introduce you to the latest update, Service Pack 1, which is now available.

If you have been following The Backup Window, EMC Pulse blogs, or @EMCBackup on Twitter you saw that we publicly announced NetWorker 8.1 SP1 on November 4 along with Avamar 7 SP1, as enhancements to the Data Protection Suite for Backup.  While our emphasis was around support for the latest Enterprise releases from Microsoft, I’m here to inform you that this Service Pack for NetWorker offers much more!

What, you ask?  Well, I will try to make this a quick read for you by giving you some of the highlights and point you to further reading, if you are so inclined.

Enhanced EMC Data Domain Integration

Deeper integration with EMC Protection Storage

Let’s start with the expansion we continue to make in integrating NetWorker with Data Domain systems.  We are seeing incredible adoption rates of our NetWorker Client Direct to Data Domain capabilities. To expand this adoption, we now offer client direct support for databases on UNIX/Linux platforms.

At the same time, we have continued to enhance NetWorker’s integration with Data Domain Systems.The new DD Boost over Fibre Channel support in NetWorker 8.1 allows customers with established FC networks to eliminate VTL systems as a “backup-to-disk band-aid” and use Data Domain systems in a next generation backup to disk workflow. While this support was previously available for file systems and Microsoft applications, we have now added the cross platform applications supported with the NetWorker Module for Databases and Applications.

Snapshot Management Enhancements

Can you say ‘snapshots’?  I hope you have taken the opportunity to test out the new snapshot management capabilities directly integrated into Snapshot Management EnhancementsNetWorker 8.1.  If you are protecting a mission critical application like SAP or Oracle, you know that using snapshot technology can keep you ahead of the game when trying to meet RPO’s.  To make life easier for you, we have added SAP and Oracle workflows to the NetWorker Snapshot Management configuration wizard, eliminating all the scripting that would need to be done manually.  This makes things more reliable as there is less room for configuration error by using a wizard based workflow, and it validates the settings you selected before they are applied.

Backing up a file-system block-by-block…

Have you tried the new Block Based Backup for Windows feature in NetWorker 8.1?  If so, and you felt that the VHD format was too limiting at 2TB, we now support VHDx and, therefore, lightning fast backup of 64 TB volumes using VSS and change block tracking technology. For those that aren’t too familiar with this capability, NetWorker Block-Based Backup enables backup of high-density, Windows-based file systems at five times faster than traditional file-based backup technology, two to four times faster restore, and up to 25 times faster than the nearest competitor.

Support for VMware vSphere 5.5

The EMC Data Protection Suite and it’s integration with VMware vSphere is stronger than ever! We work to release support in our products for the latest versions of VMware releases and this release is no different. EMC NetWorker  for Backup includes virtualization support to include private-cloud environments based on VMware vSphere 5.5!

The features mentioned here outline a taste of the ‘biggest bang for the buck’ when you upgrade to the latest Service Pack. For more information regarding highlights of the new Microsoft support within the Data Protection Suite, please read last week’s blog by Phil George (@vPhilGeorge).

Look here if you’d like to read more about what’s new in NetWorker 8.1 SP1 and join the conversation, too!