As a follow up to my blog last week, EMC Data Protection has taken Oracle OpenWorld by storm. If you run Oracle databases to support your most mission-critical apps, how difficult is it to backup up your databases in limited backup windows? Check this out to help you understand how EMC data protection solutions provide complete Oracle backup and DR enabling you to ensure Oracle backup doesn’t become a bottleneck to your IT transformation.
Let’s face it, file servers are messy. Even the most well intentioned efforts to organize file shares suffer from the same problem: users.
Since I joined EMC 9.5 years ago, I’ve never deleted any files that I stored on any shared drive or my own hard drive. Every once in a while I think I should clean up some old files, but I rarely have any spare time. In reality, if I spend any time cleaning up anything, it is my email inbox. I find I get more anxious by thousands of emails in my inbox than I do by GBs worth of file data.
But what doesn’t have to be messy is how you license your archive technology. For this, the EMC Data Protection Suite is a simple, neat package that allows you to license data protection capabilities – both EMC archive and backup software – in a capacity model.
This makes it easy for customers and partners to take advantage of all of the EMC data protection software capabilities without the complexity of different licensing models and part numbers.
I think the greatest impact from an archive perspective is the simplicity to license EMC SourceOne for Files in a capacity model. With all of the different options available with EMC SourceOne for file archiving, file tiering, indexing in place, linking, stubbing etc., it used to be a daunting task for customers and partners to configure all the relevant pieces.
Now with the Data Protection Suite, licensing EMC SourceOne is simply by the capacity of what you want to archive. And you can grow your capacity as your volumes increase.
We can’t help with messy users, but we can make it simple to purchase EMC archiving software to manage your data growth. Find out more about the EMC Data Protection Suite here. LB
Do you remember pinhole projectors? When a solar eclipse approached, a teacher would warn you, “Don’t look directly at the sun or you’ll burn your retinas.” Instead, you’d build a pinhole projector by poking a small hole in a long box. During the eclipse, you’d see a projection of the eclipse inside.
As with a solar eclipse, sometimes the best way to view massive industry shifts is to look at the projection onto adjacent industries. As we move from VMworld to Oracle OpenWorld, it’s an ideal time to look at how hypervisor and application vendors learned to start worrying and love data protection.
Why Care About Data Protection Now?
From the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, backup architectures didn’t change. In response to a service request, the backup team would install an agent on the application server. That agent would then read the data, package it into a proprietary data format, and sends it to the backup target. Recoveries would run in the exact reverse. For the past 20 years, backup software vendors have tweaked that architecture (e.g., incremental/differential backups, elimination of media servers, source dedupe), but the fundamentals haven’t changed. Backup agents still sift through huge pools of data, pack the information into vendor-proprietary formats, and send the resultant blob of data into the dedicated backup infrastructure.
Meanwhile, for nearly 15 years, the data sources (e.g. ,applications, hypervisors) didn’t care about backup. In 2002, I met a backup administrator struggling with backup and recovery windows for his biggest databases. He asked the sales representative from that database vendor how to improve backup performance. The answer, “Upgrade your hardware. Faster server. Faster network. Faster tape drive. Not my problem.”
Then, everything changed. As with any big shift, it’s hard to pin down one cause (more data) because everybody has different drivers (lots more data), and there are so many factors (dear God, there is so much data). As backup and recovery times increased, customers worried about scaling databases and virtualizing business critical application. When backup threatened their revenue streams, the vendors who had ignored backup, suddenly cared very deeply.
Data Protection – Not Just for Backup Vendors
As the data sources (e.g., applications and hypervisors) began to care about backup they noticed:
- They could make backup and recovery fast. By sitting in the data path, they can track what needs to be protected and recovered. They see every new piece of data as it is written, modified, or deleted. The backup client has no such option; at backup time, it must search through all the data looking for what’s new. While the backup agent wastes hours searching for needles in haystacks, the data source can enable protection to be completed in minutes.
- They could simplify backup and recovery for their users. When I have a problem, I like to solve it quickly, myself. If I need to learn a new tool, I get cranky. If I need to call or email somebody, I get ornery. When DBAs call the backup team to recover their data, they get downright cantankerous! The application and hypervisor vendors understood that they could add a simple interface to allow their customers to run 99% of their own recoveries.
Of course, any company can dramatically improve a variety of functions. The bigger question is: What innovation delivers the best return on investment (ROI) for the significant investment in innovation? And this is when you can see that transformation of the backup industry extends well beyond the backup vendors:
- VMware: With their investment in vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP), Changed Block Tracking, vSphere Data Protection, and Site Recovery Manager – VMware has invested heavily in both the data and control paths for data protection.
- Oracle: With their investment in Oracle Recovery Management (RMAN), Block Change Tracking, and Incremental Merge, Oracle has invested heavily in both the data and control paths for data protection.
I selected these vendors because we’re book-ending their conferences, but Teradata, SAP, Microsoft’s back-office applications, and many more, have invested heavily in data protection. To repeat – data protection has been a top priority for applications with little/no stake in data center infrastructure, limited monetization of protection, and huge opportunity cost vs. enhancing core functionality. Data protection is changing.
What Does This Mean for the Backup Industry?
When you stare at one fairly stagnant item long enough (e.g., grass), even small changes (e.g. grass growing) can seem revolutionary. Sometimes it’s best to look around and re-calibrate your internal measurement of what is transformative. That is certainly true for the backup market.
As the data sources take a more active role in protecting their data, traditional backup architectures won’t survive. Slow agents, proprietary data formats, and dedicated backup infrastructure are relics of the past. Products with those legacy architectures will struggle to adapt to the new world.
However, while the architecture will change, companies still need the value provided by backup teams: managing the protection storage infrastructure, driving policy compliance, cataloging the data, and reporting across the environment. The protection team will continue to deliver this value, just with a more flexible, open architecture.
The backup market is truly transforming, but if you just look at the backup software vendors, you’ll miss the chance to lead. You can best measure the change by looking at the application and hypervisor vendors. Then, you can transform your sense of urgency into selecting a solution. But, I warn you, don’t look directly at the legacy backup software vendors. Watching old stars go supernova and explode can burn your eyes out.
EMC Backup Recovery Systems SVP of Engineering, Deepak Mohan, and CTO, Stephen Manley, chat with Dave Vellante, Founder of Wikibon, about virtualization and data protection in theCUBE, VMworld 2013.
“You’ve decided to move, and you are given three options:
- Hunt for the perfect house in the perfect location.
- Find an empty lot and build your dream home.
- Find the dream plot and work with the tired house that’s already there.
Which do you choose?”
There is no right answer, and in fairness, I’m not really looking for one. Rather, I’m looking to see how the person tackles the question, how he/she breaks it down and ultimately how he/she responds. The speed of response alone is telling and so is the thought process that’s involved in getting there.
This type of questioning helps flush out if the person is a:
- Tank or Plumber
- Linear or Abstract Thinker
In my previous post, I jumped on my hobbyhorse and galloped around espousing the differences between Tanks, Plumbers and Chameleons; and now in part two of this “Know Yourself” series, I’m going to explore the differences between Linear versus Abstract Thinkers. Both are critical to know when you’re assembling a team.
If asked, the knee jerk reaction for most is to say they’re Abstract Thinkers. Why? Well, let’s face it, Abstract sounds cool, sassy and forward-looking; Linear seems one-dimensional and a little, um, boring. But there’s a lot more to it than that.
Let’s look at some definitions:
- Abstract Thinkers: Have the innate ability to “connect the dots” or see how “stars align”; they’re normally fast on their feet when it comes to discussions and the answers. However, the last mile isn’t really that interesting to them so the final execution feels kind of unnatural… sort of like catching a ball with the wrong hand. It’s possible but not something they welcome trying to do.
- Linear Thinkers: See what’s in front of then and form tasks into a single work stream, knowing which part needs to be knocked off the list first before they move to the next one, and so on; they’re very process-orientated. They are generally not the first to answer a question; they’re more cerebral and like to formulate a response first. They’re not known to shoot from the hip.
Why is this important to me?
Knowing what I am good at is one thing, but equally important is knowing what I’m not so good at. It’s critical that I have a healthy balance of both attributes in my immediate circle of decision-making and influence so my team crosses the finish line strong and on target. (Yep, I’m a Tank and an Abstract Thinker.)
Additionally, it’s important for me to understand how each member of my team thinks as some will rush to an answer while some will need the space to formulate. All opinions are important after all (ever watchful of implicit bias).
If you go to the trouble of creating a diverse management team or, in the more specific case of IT, an effective protection team, you really need to understand how each person ticks or your initial efforts will render a suboptimal result.
You need to understand how your CIO thinks, your DBA thinks, your storage admin thinks, and so on. Else risk internal chaos.
So, you can be a Plumber or a Tank and within these personas be an Abstract or Linear Thinker. The challenge for organizations and managers, as the book “Good to Great” explains, is making sure you get the right people on the bus and in the right seats. Companies succeed or fail on this simple principle, and I contend their mojo depends on it.
How’s your company doing?