What’s Better? Fast VNX or Fast and Protected VNX?


When I think about the new VNX systems with statistics that tingle the senses and lead the market, I can’t help but draw parallels to Formula One performance racing. It really gets my gear-head juices flowing.

It makes me think about the documentary “Madness on Wheels,” which tells the story of the Class B rally craze in the 1980s. I literally fell in love with the Audi Quattro the instant I saw it bouncing and sliding around the dirt track; the thrill and adrenaline was intoxicating. My love for cars was born.

In the documentary, former Finnish rally driver Juha Kankkunen describes the thirst for more power and massive leaps speed that made the rally courses a hell ride for both drivers and spectators. In 1986, a serious spectator crash at the Rally Portugal and the death of Henri Toivonen at the Tour de Corse led to the end of the racing series. So while performance is unquestionably key, it’s not everything.

Take the Bugatti Veyron. The focus is on its eye-popping top speed of 253 mph and its 0 to 60 time of 2.45 sec. Or the Porsche 991. What’s got us all talking is the impressive .02 seconds it takes to change gears with its PDK gearbox.What doesn’t get as much play is the massive advancement put into safety. Think about this: The Veyron at top speed travels one and a quarter football fields every second and would take you a quarter of a kilometer to arrest from the top speed.

The fact is stuff happens and in motors sports there will always be accidents. The same goes for any sport. Take bikes. There two types of bikers: ones who have fallen off and ones who will fall off.

Formula One is no exception where a fantastic car without a fantastic driver won’t get the job done. Similarly, a fantastic car without fantastic safety precautions won’t protect the car—and importantly—the driver when the inevitable happens. Just look at some of the safety enhancements the Formula One governing body has phased in over the years:

1950s Brakes

1960s Rollover bars, double fire extinguishers

1970s Cockpit redesign for 5-second rescue, headrests and rear headlights, driver medical tests, fireproof clothing

1980s Repositioned fuel tank behind engine and driver, crash tests

1990s Detachable steering wheels, head protection material density increased 4 times, lateral crash tests introduced

2000  Higher impact speeds for crash tests

2002  Larger rear light size

2005  Stricter driver helmet standards

2006  Higher (still) impacts speeds for crash tests

2010  Double diffusers prohibited (to reduce speed of cars)

2010  Rearview mirror placement (for maximum visibility)

2010  Zylon strip on helmet (to reinforce weakest points)

This list isn’t exhaustive but it does illustrate a couple of things:

  • Driver safety is a major concern.
  • The faster the cars go, the more attention the sport gets and the greater the focus on safety.

Now, let’s assume VNX is the car and the driver is the data. You’re going to need a robust data protection strategy to ensure business continuity, data integrity and the ability to restore “when” the unmentionable happens:

  • Hardened helmet: try a PBBA; better still use THE PBBA: Data Domain
  • Flexible cockpit: “in place” shelf upgrades
  • Advanced rearview mirrors and tail lights: the Data Protection Suite
  • Fire-retardant suits and pit crew: seamless data replication
  • Multi-function steering: integration with NDMP, Boost, snapshot management
  • Impact testing: Data Invulnerability architecture

And, yes, I could keep going… but you get the idea.

So, this is why the VNX got my blogger juices flowing, why I am super excited about the new VNX and why I’m even more excited about VNX + EMC Backup. We’re the Yin to the EMC and VNX Yang.

Be safe out there!

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 Path to the Cloud Includes Backup

As VMworld 2013 nears to a close, your head is probably spinning with new knowledge about the cloud and cloud infrastructures. How could it not, right?

And, hopefully, you’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the EMC cloud story, the three paths we offer—build your own, VSPEX and VCE Vblock Systems— and why backup is vital to all three.

3 paths to the cloud

If you deploy cloud infrastructure without thinking about backup, you’ll face some unwanted challenges. Not only is traditional backup struggling under the pressures of data growth but virtualization is stressing it too.

Left unchanged, backup can have a domino effect with your organization: Data owners (e.g., the storage, VM and app owners), seeing the old backup ways are breaking down even faster than before, will find solutions on their own. Soon, you’ll have protection silos and an “accidental” backup architecture for your new cloud environment. That means cost, complexity and risk—and that’s just what you’re working to eliminate! Forget about business acceleration.

A better approach is to address protection at the start. Because backup is built into both Vblock Systems and  VSPEX, your organization gets the performance and visibility it needs IT-wide. This eliminates silos and accidental architectures, and it will allow you to scale efficiently and simply as you grow.

So as you consider your next cloud moves, don’t forget backup. If you go with one of EMC’s three paths, you won’t.  Best of all, with EMC you’ll be able to defy one of the most common conventions in IT today– broken backup.

Mark Doncov
I’ve spent most of the seven years I’ve been at EMC on backup. Currently, I work on category and solution marketing initiatives in EMC’s Backup Recovery Systems division. In short, this means I focus on the “why” for EMC Backup, not the “what”; I leave the bits and bytes to the product teams. Over the years, I’ve seen big changes in the backup world. I will be looking at these – and the even bigger ones that lie ahead - here on The Backup Window and other social channels.

Culling Your eDiscovery Costs

According to an informal recent survey, 79% of legal departments are performing their own eDiscovery collections.  Although that number is probably lower in the real world (the poll measured only those attending a special Law Department Roundtable at ILTA), it is an encouraging development.  Taking charge of eDiscovery collections can cut cost and risk, in addition to delivering better overall insight into the underlying litigation matter.

What about the rest of the eDiscovery steps in the EDRM — are those being performed in-house or outside?  The same poll revealed that only 31% did any culling before the data left the organization.  This seems like a missed opportunity since so much of the expense in the eDiscovery process – over 70% according to one survey — comes during the Review phase, and culled data won’t need to be reviewed.

So if you’re looking to cut some additional costs from your eDiscovery process, consider a few simple culling techniques:

  • Remove clearly extraneous email, such as content from espn.com, cnn.com, etc.  In the right case, you might even be able to limit email further to just one external domain (i.e. the other party in the litigation matter);
  • Determine whether you can bound the information by date range.  In other words, is information before or after a certain date not likely to be relevant based upon the facts of the case;
  • If you are collecting “everything” from laptops, desktops and file systems, are there file types that can safely be culled — such as log files, videos, photos, music collections and executable files?  Some of these could be relevant in the right case so check to be sure;
  • De-duplicate!  This is both easier and more difficult than you might think!  Be sure that you understand the basis on which you are culling duplicative content.

Most cases will present you with opportunities to cull collected data before sending it outside for further work.  Having the right tools in place and adding a few steps to your eDiscovery workflow can help to uncover significant savings.

Jim Shook

Jim Shook

Director, eDiscovery and Compliance Field Practice, Data Protection and Availability Division
I am a long-time “lawyer/technlogist”, having learned assembly language on a TRS-80 at age 12 and later a degree in Computer Science. But the law always fascinated me, and after being a litigator and general counsel for over 10 years, the challenges that technology brought to the law and compliance let me combine my favorite pursuits. I spend my days helping EMC’s customers understand their legal and compliance obligations, and then how to apply technology and best practices to meet them.

Live from VMworld 2013! Superior VMware Backup and Recovery, Powered by Intel and EMC

Phil George at Intel - VMworld

The most pervasive trends in the market related to the data center and backup include:

  1. Data growth … especially redundant data.
  2. Security – stronger network protection and better data protection
  3. Tougher SLAs being required – much shorter RTO since the pace of business requires much faster recovery
  4. The need for more system performance … thank you Intel.
  5. Better value => same budget for more capacity and performance.


EMC Backup Recovery Systems is addressing these challenges in 4 areas:

  1. SDDC –At the foundation of the SDDC is the automation that is needed within each of the technology areas (server, storage, network, data protection and security). By leveraging tools that not only provide granular management, but also can integrate with the virtualization platform, IT groups can begin to deliver more agile operations and automate repetitive tasks. We leverage the Cloud Operations functionality that is available with the virtualization platform. This will treat the infrastructure as pools of resources, allowing IT to manage demand and performance in a more cost-effective, flexible way.
  2. MCA – Mission Critical Applications are moving to virtualized platforms thanks to the performance delivered by Intel-based computing, and EMC-based storage. Pervasive applications such as Microsoft SQL and Oracle are growing in capabilities, and in-turn the size and number of databases are growing exponentially. Now that they are working in a cloud infrastructure you have backup and recovery challenges that can only be met with optimized solutions.  EMC has become the largest data protection company in the industry because we address the challenges, deliver the highest performance, and provide better visibility and control for application owners, VMware administrators and the backup manager.
  3. EUC – End User Computing, Virtual Desktop Initiatives, Business Process Desktops … there seems to be many names for the infrastructure that supports a virtual desktop.  Just as companies have seen numerous benefits after moving from physical servers to virtual servers, they are now moving to virtual desktops to gain similar benefits.  Of course traditional backup and recovery will not scale with this environment.  EMC first introduced NDMP Acceleration in 2006 and continues to be the leader for NAS Server backup – since NAS storage is often the basis for virtual desktop environment.  Now, what is one of the most important requirements asked for by end-users?  Really fast recoveries – or better yet- self-service recovery so they don’t have to wait for the IT staff. EMC provides an optimized business process desktop backup and recovery solution with end-user self-service recovery.
  4. Trusted IT - Trust is a key pillar of the EMC Cloud Infrastructure strategy that enables customers to take full advantage of the new opportunities for application and infrastructure. Trusted IT requires Continuous Availability, Integrated Backup and Recovery, and Advanced Security to take full advantage of new operational models. We see data protection as a continuum, where the foundation is backup and recovery optimized for VMware, and applies to 100% of your data. Now select your most critical applications and data and add the next layer of protection with continuous data protection. Finally, you can add in the technology for continuous data availability to avoid any disruption in the event of a disaster.
Phil George

Phil George

Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division at EMC
Working with customers and partners (like VMware) to develop leading backup solutions makes every day very interesting; helping them optimize their backup architectures for virtualized environments is what really energizes me. Over the past 25 years, I’ve held senior engineering, marketing and sales roles within the technical software industry. This gives me a good vantage point to recognize technical challenges, see emerging trends and propose new solutions. I hold a BSEE from Cornell University and a Masters in Computer Engineering from Boston University. I currently reside with my wife and two children in Massachusetts.

Simplify Now with VCE, EMC, and VMware

VCE BoothVMworld 2013 is in full swing. This year the VCE team is showing off multiple VCE Vblock™ Systems with experts on hand to engage and discuss how VCE is delivering simplicity in the data center with technology from VCE investors VMware, Cisco, and EMC.

Clearly, the virtualized world that VMware makes possible is why VMworld is so exciting as VMware Partners and VMware customers come together and share their stories. These stories are inspiring because many go back almost 10 years (sometimes more!) and are a testament to how instrumental VMware has become in the life cycle of today’s modern datacenter.

Of particular note is the number of occurrences of the word “replication” and “protection” and “backup” and “recovery” and “DR” and “RTO” and “RPO” if you look through the amazing agenda for VMworld 2013. Regardless of the size of a vSphere environment, attendees have sessions, panels, and peers providing deep insights into what works, what could work better, and the current state of the art in true application mobility and data protection — and where it will be in the future.

VCE Booth - VblockJust a few months ago VCE detailed updates and enhancements to Vblock Systems, VCE Vision™ Intelligent Operations software, including how VCE is enabling workload mobility and data projection using the latest generation of EMC Backup Recovery Systems enhancements for EMC Avamar and EMC Data Domain. EMC’s backup and archive software are pre-tested, pre-integrated, and pre-configured on the Vblock System, which provides customers with a very speedy deployment and implementation. The integrated solution provides direct connectivity, high performance, and a single line of support for the product.

In addition to VCE experts in the VCE booth, the EMC team will be dropping by to detail the combined efforts between VCE, VMware, EMC, and Cisco to enable EMC Backup and Recovery for VCE Vblock Systems. Yesterday, Chandra Jacobs discussed Backup and Recovery Optimized for VCE Vblock Systems. She highlighted key facts about EMC’s backup and recovery – including Avamar’s Changed Block Tracking backup and restore, which only sends unique “changed” blocks across the network, allowing customers to recover 30x faster than traditional VMDK restore. Chandra will be speaking again today at 3:15 pm PDT, be sure to visit the booth to catch her presentation!

If you can’t make it to the booth, this YouTube video will give you a quick overview of how you can bring simplicity to your workloads and the protection of those workloads. In the video, Chandra explains the benefits of EMC Avamar and EMC Data Domain solutions on a Vblock System, including the elimination of setting up a dedicated backup network and the reduction of network configuration.

Please come see VCE at Booth 1015 at VMworld and speak to one of our VCE team members about how VCE is working with the EMC backup and recovery team and VMware to deliver simplicity!

Jay Cuthrell
Jay Cuthrell is a thought leader within the Office of the CTO at VCE (A company formed by Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware, and Intel) working with service providers, systems integrators, ISVs, and media & entertainment companies to deliver converged infrastructure. He is a frequent industry speaker currently based on the West Coast of the United States. Previously, as a strategic technology consultant with cuthrell.com he worked with service providers, startup companies, and investment groups in addition to writing for ReadWrite and Telecompetitor. He has held CTO, VP, and GM roles at Digitel and NeoNova (an Azure Capital and Bridgescale Partners portfolio company) and infrastructure consulting roles working domestically and internationally for Fortune 500 clients. He also served at Scient (formerly iXL now Publicis), Nortel, Analysts International, IBM, and NCSU College of Engineering. He holds a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from North Carolina State University and grew up in Beaufort, NC. His blog can be found at fudge.org