Have You Taken “The Repeat Test”?

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.

I’ve gotten into the (good) habit of checking LinkedIn a couple of times a day. I do a quick scan of my profile, groups and the headline news.

It doesn’t take me but a minute (as my southern friends say), and I generally glean something useful from it. Time well spent.

This week, a post by marketer and entrepreneur Bruce Kasanoff caught my eye – and, by the high number of likes (1.4k+) and comments (375+) the blog is generating, it’s clearly hit a chord with fellow LinkedIn members.

In the post, A Highly Effective Way to Avoid Wasting Your Time, Kasanoff shares a very simple method  for identifying and eliminating patterns of unproductive behavior and activities from our days. It’s called the “Repeat Test.” It ain’t rocket science, but I definitely think Kasanoff is on to something.

For more than a year, Stephen Manley and I have been writing, blogging and talking about the new relevance of backup in today’s services-oriented organization and how “time to” will become an increasingly important metric going forward – not just of IT performance but also overall business success.

The problem is, many of you are still “stuck in the muck” of traditional backup, and with no clear path for becoming un-stuck, determing, let alone taking, the next step is problematic, to the say the least.  

This is where the Repeat Test comes in.

It boils down to having your backup, applications and storage teams (remember, backup is an IT-wide concern so it should be a cross-functional activity) keep a daily log . At the top of each hour, have them write down any activities they performed in the previous hour that weren’t a good use of time. Repeat this daily until the log consists of just a couple of entries.

In doing this simple exercise, patterns of inefficient behavior are sure to emerge, which can be addressed department- or business-wide.  You’ll then be ready to think  about “time to.”

For more information about the Repeat Test or to read Kasanoff’s post in its entirety, click here Also, additional resources can be found on www.emc.com/backupleader and at EMC World 2013, May 6-9, in Vegas. Hope to see you there!


A Perfect Score for Backup and Archive

Alyson Langon

Alyson Langon

A couple years ago, fresh out of Business School at Boston College, I started at EMC and dove head first into all things backup and archive, focusing on Data Domain systems. I love the challenge of communicating complicated technologies in innovative and engaging ways and there is certainly no shortage of inspiration at EMC’s Data Protection and Availability Division. Outside of the tech world, I am an artist, animal lover and sufferer of wanderlust. You can also find me on Twitter achieving the perfect balance of data protection and cat gifs.

Flexible, fast, and a small footprint… no I’m not talking about Aly Raisman.  But, if there were an Olympics for protection storage, EMC Data Domain deduplication storage systems would be sure to take the gold.  With today’s announcement, a performance worthy of a Dancing with the Stars mirror ball trophy, Data Domain systems are poised to take protection storage to the next level.  Let’s take a closer look at some of Data Domain’s new moves.

Optimized Archive Storage: It takes two to tango. 

As we’ve discussed before, backup and archive are complementary parts of an overall data protection strategy and consolidating these workloads onto a single Data Domain system (as shown below) maximizes efficiency and lowers TCO.  We’ve further strengthened EMC’s leading protection storage platform by enhancing support for a broad range of archive use cases.

Specifically, now you can ingest archive data 3x faster for file, e-mail and other archiving workloads.  This also enables you to migrate up to 1 TB a day of archive data from legacy archive platforms to a Data Domain system, ensuring a quick transition with minimal disruption.

In addition, Data Domain systems now “dance” well with all leading archiving application partners easily integrating with over 16 different archiving applications.  This includes support for file, e-mail, SharePoint (Learn about the new EMC SourceOne Enhancements here!)  and now database and content management archiving through integration with IBM Optim and EMC Documentum  respectively.

Enhanced Application Integration: The spin, the turn, and the lift all at once!

As part of our continuing efforts to empower data owners (as discussed here), we are excited to introduce Oracle optimized deduplication, which makes Data Domain systems the first inline deduplication system to support RMAN multiplexing while maximizing deduplication rates. With Oracle optimized deduplication, database and backup administrators can optimize Oracle backup performance (through RMAN multiplexing) and still reduce Oracle backup storage requirements by up to 10 to 30x with Data Domain. This further establishes Data Domain systems as the backup platform of choice for Oracle environments. Oracle optimized deduplication is supported with Oracle 11g and Oracle RMAN, Avamar, NetWorker and other third party backup applications via CIFS, NFS or Data Domain Boost.

Just 3 years after we introduced it, Data Domain Boost has revolutionized backup and disaster recovery for thousands of customers. To date, that has been limited to those with Ethernet infrastructure, but now Fibre Channel environments can get in on the fun too! With Data Domain Boost over Fibre Channel, you can get 50% faster backups in your SAN environment and eliminate virtual tape management to greatly simplify operations.

In addition, DD Boost now boasts 8 different integrations making the Data Domain Boost ecosystem the broadest and deepest in the industry.  What a performance!

…And the scores are in! 

With 66.5% market share in the purpose-built backup appliance market and continued investment in archive storage, EMC offers you the fast and flexible technology you need to transform data protection and lead your business into the future.

Tune in next week for a more in-depth look at some of what I highlighted today.

“Those Guys” or “The Other Guys”…It’s All About the Data

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!

 Las Vegas is certainly the city of choice this spring when it comes to IT conferences! In the past three months, I have visited here twice already. We aren’t even through April! Here is the Best Part, I along with other members of the EMC team will be back here AGAIN in May for the big EMC World Bash (Have you registered?), which promises to wow and awe again this year! But I have to ask, is it acceptable for one to really “become tired” of Las Vegas?

 Well, that question would require an entirely different blog post so I will tuck that away for a future write-up. What is more interesting is what I have been hearing here at Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2013.

Microsoft is clearly demonstrating and talking about its ability to provide consistency of platform between the different cloud models available to you as an IT professional. You may be looking exclusively at a private cloud model to deliver your business application resources. Or, you may have started the investigation or even implementation process of moving to a “hybrid cloud” model and extending some of your data center infrastructure with those provided by Windows Azure.

In either case, Microsoft is clearly working to blur these two cloud models from a management perspective. That has to be reassuring if you’re an IT organization worried about the short term investments you make on your cloud journey.

In thinking about why the topic of management and the idea of this conference is so important to customers, I came to one conclusion from all of the conversations I had this week: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DATA! And as Brad Anderson liked to refer to in his keynote, data is important regardless of whether it’s being accessed through database servers on Hyper-V or that hypervisor “Those Other Guys” make.  Clearly,  it’s about your end users accessing business data in many different ways, in many different places, and doing so in a manner that doesn’t compromise the ONE THING that is YOUR BUSINESS!

In this same ideology, your data backup solution provider should be fully featured and flexible to provide a robust data recovery solution for your applications regardless of virtualization platform. (Yes, you still need one!  Snaps, DAGs and AAGs are not enough.) Application intelligence is also a key quality to look for in your backup workflow. This level of awareness not only allows data recovery to happen quickly in an application consistent fashion, but it also minimizes errors due to lack of communication between all involved in a typical datacenter/applications team. 

Can your backup solution automatically analyze the current state of your Exchange DAG Cluster, and without the need for day-to-day management, perform the backup for minimal production impact?

View Into VSPEX: EMC Backup for VSPEX Virtualized Applications

Mark Doncov

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.

Cloud Driving the Economy

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).

From tech startups (like mine) to Fortune 200 tech companies (like mine) alike, cloud has been a global engine of growth as well as as an enabler of rapid innovation. And even through the recent recession, cloud adoption has continued to skyrocket leading to an entire economy being built around it (PaaS, SaaS, ITaaS, BaaS, XaaS…).

Did you know that cloud will generate 14 million jobs worldwide by 2013? Or that IT innovation through cloud computing  leads to $1.2 billion per year in new revenue? These were some of the recent findings that came out of an International Data Corporation study commissioned by Microsoft. And, in the next decade it is predicted that cloud will be a $240 billion industry.

This is more than many countries’ GDP!

So, are you on the fast track with cloud?

It can be argued that much of the uptick in cloud adoption has been, in part, due to the recent economic downturn. With IT budgets down or flat, it has just been more practical to turn those capital expenditures into operational expenditures through cloud. The flexibility that cloud provides is also a key benefit in times of economic uncertainty. Not sure your company can predict accurately its IT needs in the next year? Cloud is a great answer since you can downsize or upsize as needed according to your business demand. In support of this, last year Bloomberg released a survey of business decision-makers around cloud technology listing the top four main  benefits of cloud-based services as: efficiency, cost savings, scalability, and variety of features. you can have access to these and more through an optimized cloud strategy implementation.

What’s more, cloud is a great leveler for innovation. While the internet can be thought of as the first wave of leveling, cloud technology is definitely the second. It effectively allows startups and small businesses with limited resources to have access to a global playground of as-a-service technologies at a reasonable cost, without having to develop it in-house. In many cases, cloud enables startups to compete with well established companies by providing agility to match rapid product development without legacy IT infrastructure weighing them down. For my own tech startup, I’m actually dynamically provisioning the cloud services I need when I need them, and only paying for what I use. This helps me keep costs down and efficiency up, while giving me room to scale as I grow. Without cloud this would not be possible.

A lot of times it’s just overcoming a mindset (“we’ve always done it this way in the past and it’s always worked”), and other times it’s fear of the unknown or simply a lack of understanding that cloud has come a long away to address concerns around compliance, regulatory, security, and control issues. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of education to overcome objections of the past on the journey to the cloud.You may also be wondering which industries are the most mature in terms of cloud computing adoption. The usual suspects of banking, insurance, education, media,  and government (mostly private cloud) top the list. Lagging behind are manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and energy/utilities. Doing this gap analysis reveals that there is an opportunity space emerging in these underdeveloped industries for which cloud can play a future role, given the right positioning.

……….Wordle Cloud of this Cloud Article……….

These days, cloud not only allows smaller companies to compete in a global marketplace (and larger companies to retain their competitive advantage if they are effectively employing cloud), but it also can be a nimble canoe of differentiation in a sea of Big Data. Big Data analytics allow us to glean insights and generate tailored reports about our customers like never before, getting real-time metrics about demand, buying habits, engagement effectiveness …you name it.  Companies that can respond to rapidly changing market conditions with agility, armed with the insights combed through effective reporting mechanisms, will succeed in tomorrow’s marketplace. And what’s the underlying gateway to this success?

Think Cloud.