Will Your Decisions Stand the Test of Time?


Being crammed into a metal tube more than 30,000 feet in the air seems to release the mind to wander aimlessly through the archives of fragmented memories, half facts and interesting tidbits you’ve picked up along your journey.

Perhaps it’s a sleep deprivation thing. Perhaps it’s the first sign of madness. Whatever the cause, I’ve come to understand that these thoughts are subconscious beacons, rather like an inner voice laying breadcrumbs to an “aha” moment.

My latest pondering has been centered on the fragility of time: How many of the things we witness or decisions we make have life well beyond the window in time in which they occur. A comet, the twinkle of a fading star, a serendipitous encounter, the “luck” in being in the right place at the time.

Even our careers are seldom planned; we think hard, work hard and aim well, but how much of our journey has really been about the action of “carpe diem”? At a specific historical moment, we remember making a decision and living with the consequences. For me, things like signing up to move to the U.S., making a bet on Mr. Manley as a classy CTO and less successful decisions like that black run I decided to attempt on my ATV, come to mind.

So, where do these breadcrumbs lead?

To the question of how to recognize the difference between fad and trend. Fads tempt your impulse gene but likely have no sustain. A trend may feel the same, but the journey takes a very different path and has very different consequences.

A decision in “data protection” should never be taken lightly; whatever we sign up to has ramifications far beyond our sphere of accountability or involvement. I’m guessing for backup architecture, decisions come around maybe once every 5-10 years.

Careers and life are more transient than we’d like to admit. Likely speaking, in a couple years’ time you’ll have moved onto some new project and so, too, will the sales teams that assisted you in the decision-making process; the only constant will be the solution you invested in for your company.

So, what do you want your legacy to be? How do you mitigate risk and yet deliver results that will be celebrated as your legacy?

Choose wisely, correlate the facts, seek sage advise and, importantly, bet on technologies you’re confident will stand the test of time. And, above all, make sure you surround yourself with vendors that do the same. Fads won’t be there with you at the finish line!

May the force be with you!

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.

Cut the Tape, Defrost Your Mainframe


You might be wondering: Brain freeze and mainframe – what’s the connection?

The brain part should be obvious. Mainframes process the most critical transactions and store the most important data to many organizations. Therefore, the mainframe is the “brains” of key operations.

The not so obvious part is why your mainframe is not delivering to its fullest potential – suffering from “brain freeze.” The reason is simple: tape.

To read more of the post on our sister site Thought Feast, click here.


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.

VMworld Preview – Chat about Backup and Recovery for VCE Vblock Systems

Chandra Jacobs
I love creative and challenging projects in the emerging technology product space. I have a background in tech, innovation, and product development, especially as applied to web and mobile apps in the entrepreneurship arena, but have recently moved into marketing. In my role as a product marketer, I have gravitated toward digital marketing as well as analytics/data mining. It fits well with my techie geek bent as well as my cloud angle on The Backup Window. (Be sure to catch my posts on Innovation Station too!) Outside of work at EMC, I enjoy exploring Boston’s culinary and jazz scene (often in combination), and travel as much as I can (35 countries and counting).

Master of your Destiny

“You are the master of your destiny.  You can influence, direct, and control your own environment.”

–Quote from Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill is considered to be one of the greatest writers on success in history.  And, while this quote is specifically related to one’s ability to achieve high levels of personal success, the sentiment behind it is also a basic premise for the new VMware support announced as part of the enhancements to the EMC Data Protection Suite.

VMwareTo remain agile and flexible, data owners—in this case, VMware Administrators—have moved to their own processes and tools for protecting their environments.  This has contributed to the ‘accidental architecture’ discussed in Stephen Manley’s blogs.  This movement disenfranchises the backup team, making it impossible for them to ensure SLAs at a corporate level.

EMC recognizes this need and is addressing it through the Protection Storage Architecture. The Protection Storage Architecture enables an open and modular approach to data protection that, among other benefits, provides visibility and control for data owners, while also enabling IT to move closer to an ITaaS model.  There is almost no better example of what we are delivering than the tight integration with VMware vCenter™ engineered into both Avamar 7 and NetWorker 8.1.

Effectively, through the enhancements to VMware protection in both solutions,  VMware administrators have the ability to choose the policies, as set by IT, that best fits the vm’s or vm containers in their environment and apply them.  Further, they are using their own native tool, the vSphere Web Client, for the administration.  From the vSphere Web Client, via the EMC Backup and Recovery plug-in, they are also able to process image backup and recovery and run reports, among other activities.  Alternatively, backup administrators set corporate policy from their native UI and have the visibility to monitor and report on the corporate infrastructure.  Finally, the EMC Data Protection Restore Client web user interface enables any system administrator with privileges to run file level recoveries from the image backups.

vSphere Web Client

You can see how the tight integration with VMware vCenter in NetWorker 8.1 and Avamar 7 offers a best-of-both-worlds scenario and enables each administrator to literally be the master of their environment.  We invite you to watch the demo of how this works in NetWorker 8.1.  Or, if you prefer to read about the capabilities, please take a look at the complete Solution Overview.

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.

Data Privacy: Coming To A Country Near You?

In the US, we do not tend to think much about data privacy in the workplace.  We generally default to a belief that our employer owns the network and devices, so it has  the legal right to store, process (and view) the content that we create – even email messages.  But those rules are not the same in many other areas of the world, particularly in the European Union.  And many organizations with operations outside of the US may soon find themselves in the middle of a clash of cultures.

In the EU, personal data – which is broadly defined — is subject to the EU’s data privacy directive.  Personal data cannot be processed or transferred outside the EU area, such as to the US, without an “adequate safeguard”.  In practice, this means that everyday IT operations such as archiving, backup and even transfers between data storage devices (such as tiering) must have an “adequate safeguard” if data is moving from the EU to the US.

Most organizations in this situation have relied on a relatively straightforward Safe Harbor self-certification to meet the “adequate safeguard” requirement.  But recent developments, including news of the NSA’s surveillance operations, have put the Safe Harbor at risk, with some calling for its repeal.  In addition, German data protection authorities are already limiting the Safe Harbor exception.  These developments may require many organizations to find a new safeguard from limited options:  either Model Contracts or Binding Corporate Rules, both of which are more complex and difficult to implement in practice.

Of course, many organizations have long relied upon a third option — the unofficial “head in the sand” exception where transfers are made without any recognized safeguard in place.  Generally speaking, enforcement of the data privacy directive has been sporadic. But even that may be changing, with proposed changes to the privacy directive enabling fines of up to 2% of global revenue for violators.  That threat could force many “head in the sand” users into strict compliance.

For now, the Safe Harbor remains in place.  With the recent activity, it’s probably a good idea to run an internal audit to confirm your organization’s compliance.  As the EU becomes even more aggressive in this area, many organizations will need to strike a better balance between the lax privacy requirements of the US and an increasingly strong privacy regime in the EU.