More than Microsoft Support – EMC NetWorker 8.1 SP1

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!

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.

What’s Next for Cloud Protection?

187957288Male Answer Syndrome is a worldwide affliction that prevents people from saying “I don’t know.” Do you answer questions that a couple is whispering … 10 feet behind you? If somebody asks a question filled with acronyms that you don’t understand, do you make up new acronyms… daring somebody to call your bluff? Do you shout out your responses to Jeopardy… inside Target? If so, welcome to my world. You suffer from Male Answer Syndrome.

Sometimes, however, I see something so important that I admit, “I don’t know what that means. I need to learn about it.” Ever since Mozy became part of EMC Backup Recovery Systems Division earlier this year, people have asked, “What is the future of Mozy? What’s the future of cloud? What does it mean for our broader portfolio?”

While I’m tempted to pontificate with great specificity about the next decade of data protection, I don’t know how everything will turn out. There, I admitted it. However, what I do know is that Mozy is at the nexus of a number of trends:

  • Consumerization of IT. An increasing number of end users tell us their consumer IT experience far exceeds their enterprise experience. With its roots in the consumer backup space, Mozy brings a fresh perspective on simplicity to EMC Backup.
  • IT as a Service. It is a cliché, but users want to solve business problems, and somehow they end up hearing about IT’s technology challenges. Mozy sells protection services, not software and hardware, so they think about “product” differently.
  • IT convergence. While most people think in terms of physical systems, IT convergence is more about consolidating different workflows to streamline operations. The Mozy team views backup as just one of many services to offer customers.

As for questions like, what exactly will Mozy look like in five years and how long will the industry take to transform? I don’t know. But I do have a good idea on how cloud protection will evolve:

  • Cloud in a traditional protection architecture. Customers are writing and replicating traditional backups to the cloud. Like VTL for disk, it’s not the ideal solution, but it’s the simplest to deploy.
  • Cloud-centric data protection. Customers will use cloud protection solutions to address existing pain points. We saw the same approach with disk-centric protection: compliant archive (Centera), remote office (Avamar), and application-direct backups (Data Domain). Cloud will likely address: endpoint protection (mobile devices), compliant archive (constantly-evolving regulations), and disaster recovery (companies without a second site).
  • Cloud-centric data management. This will be the change that disrupts the industry. Currently, we see disk driving the evolution from backup to data protection (convergence of disaster recovery, backup, and archive), which disrupts traditional backup architectures. The next disruption will occur when organizations realize the only difference among their protection, test & dev, analytics, and collaboration copies is how these copies are managed and accessed. The cloud model will break down the boundaries between the copies, and the convergence will transform protection from an insurance policy into a daily business asset.

These shifts can be daunting, especially if you’re still running traditional tape backups. Fortunately, there is a well-established path to walk from tape backup to disk backup to infrastructure-centric data protection. Meanwhile, a solid architecture can help you manage the transition to cloud—however it actually plays out. That is why we advocate a Protection Storage Architecture; it will help you bridge the gap between backup, data protection, and data management—at your own pace.

Over the next decade, cloud will transform data protection and management. Over the next few years, there will be chaos in this space, as multiple companies search for the right balance of technology, process, and business model. I’m thrilled that we have the Mozy team who focus on this transformation and who approach the challenge differently than I. Even as a longstanding victim of Male Answer Syndrome, I know when to say, “I don’t know. Help me learn.”

Stephen Manley

Stephen Manley

CTO, Data Protection and Availability Division
Over the past 15 years at both EMC and NetApp, I have traveled the world, helping solve backup and recovery challenges - one customer at a time (clearly, I need to optimize my travel arrangements!). My professional mission is to transform data protection so that it accelerates customers’ businesses. I have a passion for helping engineers pursue technical career path(without becoming managers), telling stories about life on the road and NDMP (yes, that’s NDMP).

What Hurts Us Does Make Us Stronger…IT Too

181907694It’s funny how chance meetings can impact our lives… change our perspectives.

Three specific occasions immediately come to my mind.

The first occurred, of all places, on a cruise ship to Alaska. My wife and I were playing cards in one of the lounges when in comes a large group of service men and women—all ages and nationalities. As it turns out, there was a veterans meeting taking place. We hung around to listen. People literally from both sides of the conflicts in Afghanistan to Hiroshima to Hamburger Hill.

Continue reading on our sister site Reflections>> 

Guy Churchward

Guy Churchward

President, Data Protection and Availability Division
I'm an enterprise infrastructure hack. Really, if you think of my career as a building, I’ve spent it underneath in the sewer lines and the electric plumbing, making sure things work. Invariably, my businesses end up being called boring. But that’s okay. It means they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do, which means their customers can do what they need to do. I come to EMC by way of BEA Systems, NetApp and most recently LogLogic, and my mission is to lead EMC Data Protection and Availability Division's efforts to deliver a protection storage architecture that leaves us all in better shape for the next guy, or gig, that comes along. Oh, and make no mistake about it, I want everyone to know who’s number one in backup, and why.

The Payback from Backup Transformation – Part 2

Lady Backup continues with Part 2 in looking at a recent IDC analysis that shows the business benefits from backup transformation with EMC.

As we reviewed in Part 1, there is a clear financial benefit from modernizing your dated backup infrastructure with EMC. In fact, companies in a recent analysis from IDC saw a 5-month payback from their investment into EMC.

In total, IDC shows a reduction of nearly $3 million per year in benefit to the business, measured in in three key areas:

  • Hard costs:  More than half, or $1.7 million in annual savings, came from reducing backup infrastructure costs. This includes $627,000 from eliminating tape-related costs and $909,000 from reducing backup storage capacity requirements with deduplication.
  • IT productivity improvements. The IT team is a big winner in this transformation.  On average, 37 hours per week were spent on backup and recovery related issues, including lengthy restores, restarting failed backups, and physically managing tape.  After backup transformation, 9 hours are spent per week on backup and recovery related tasks, a 75% improvement.
  • End user productivity improvements.  In the “before” scenario, users spent an average of 54 hours per year waiting for recoveries.  Doesn’t sound like a lot?  That’s more than a work week of annual productivity wasted.   Now, they wait only a matter of minutes – 13 minutes on average in an entire year, according to IDC.

I’ve included a graphic to show you the distribution in annual cost savings.

ROI Infographic

What does this tell us? It says that a modern backup infrastructure provides better service to the business at less cost.

In the final part, we’ll look at what companies changed in their backup environment.

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.  LB

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.

What the CxO Says…

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My recent TBW post “Business Execs Are from Mars, IT Execs Are from Venus” is sparking some good conversation and social sharing on Forbes, and it’s got CxOs talking on LinkedIn.That conversation is copied below.

Take a quick read, and chime in. Do you agree?  From your vantage point, what’s causing the disconnect and, importantly, what is your business doing to try to narrow the gap. And how concerned are you and your biz/IT counterparts?

  • Comment by CIO | CTO | IT Director:Thanks Heidi. Some of the disconnects in perception are startling. 

  • Q: What’s the biggest disconnect you’re seeing?
  • Comment from CEO:

    Organizations trying to move IT beyond being a cost center find it easier to put together a cost model than they do a business value or revenue model. In many cases they are limited by the legacy ERP they are still stuck with, which lack activity based management features. They struggle with IT Billing and the allocation of costs across a revenue or performance hierarchy, which can get very political as well as technically complex. Consequently, trending costs is an easier fallback position. That may explain some of the effects pointed to in the article.

  • Comment by CIO | CTO | IT Director:

    The thing that jumps out to me is the disconnect about the progress in delivering IT as a service (“Reality Check” graphic) especially the 30% of IT folks who think it’s already operating as a service compared to 18% of their business peers. If you look at the trends in that chart, early on the business is ahead of IT in their perception of progress, but later on IT is ahead of the business.

    I interpret that to mean–in general–business is more the driver here, with IT following somewhat reluctantly. IT seems to be slower to get on board, and quicker to assume completion compared to their business peers. That matches with my experience in real life.

  • Q: Do you find that certain teams within your IT organizations are more business-minded than others? Who are the laggers? What are you doing on a people, process and technology level to move things forward? Where does data protection factor into the equation, if at all.

  • Comment by CEO:

    Heidi, I don’t know what business minded means. Most people in business, no matter what they do, believe they are making a contribution, even if they focus exclusively on their craft. They are unable to articulate their value in financial terms, which is a problem given that financial management is one of the missing links between corporate strategy and IT investments. The move beyond cost centers and running IT as a business is largely affiliated with ITSM, which along with the corruption in the early 90s has placed a focus on governance. Like the cobbler’s children, IT lacks the tools to address these issues efficiently, in addition to the shift in mindset. To move things forward organizations need to do a much better job in processes such as financial, demand, service portfolio and IT asset management. We also need to find a way to better integrate project and service portfolios to meet the unbelievable expectations of the end user community, who think everything should happen instantaneously, even if they don’t have a clue what they want.

Be sure to check out my other posts on Forbes, including “Three Signs Your Company May Be Losing It’s Mojo” and a “Two-In, Two-Out Rule for Data Protection.”

Heidi Biggar

Heidi Biggar

Marketing and IT Consultant, Data Protection and Availability Division at EMC Corporation
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.