Backup as a Service: The On-Ramp to Cloud Services

Howard Rubin

Howard Rubin

Consultant Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division
My name is Howard and I’m a marketing guy. There I said it! Admitting to it is the first step right? Truth be known, I started “life” as a phone support guy then got promoted to Sales Engineer due to my good looks. That role dragged on far too long. Hanging out in data centers at 3am installing and troubleshooting ATM and Frame Relay gear got old; just like that technology. When I’m not marketing tech stuff, I’m either playing with my own tech gear at home or travelling to some exotic destination with my incredible wife, Mary. Fifty/Fifty chance it’s a shopping or exotic beach destination next time you get my out-of-office message.

In a recently published white paper by IDC, Program Vice President, Laura DuBois outlines and reviews the challenges IT departments are having with meeting the data backup SLAs required by the business.   Laura discusses how cloud services can fundamentally change the cost model around backup and how enterprises are leveraging these new backup-as-a-service (BaaS) offerings as a means of outsourcing nonstrategic tasks.

For enterprise IT shops considering offloading backup, IDC provides great reading and advice in choosing the right service provider (see EMC’s Velocity Service Provider) and the most appropriate service offering based on your business needs.  If you’re an EMC Velocity Service Provider, not currently offering BaaS services, Laura provides guidance about the different BaaS deployment models and what approach makes the most sense based on current and future service offerings.

Check out the IDC White Paper titled: Backup as a Service:  Approaches and Advantages for Service Providers and End Users.  It’s a great read and offers some good advice.

How to Ensure Data Protection As You Move to the Cloud

Tom Giuliano

Tom Giuliano

Marketer and EMC Data Protection Advisor Expert
I love to listen to customers discuss their data protection challenges, their experiences and their needs, and I’ve had a lot of opportunity to do it. For the past 15 years, I’ve brought network and storage products to market through roles in sales, product management and marketing. When I’m not driving go-to-market initiatives, identifying unique and creative methods to build product awareness or launching products, you’ll likely find me cycling, skiing, boating or running. And, who knows, maybe you’ll hear some of my more interesting experiences in one of my posts from time to time.

According to Mark Prahl, a high-tech business professional who has been talking or writing about products and gadgets for business or personal consumption for some time, data protection needs are more acute for as-a-service cloud models and require new approaches.

Mark Prahl, Managed View

What can you do to ensure data protection as you move to the cloud?

Prahl explains what it means to augment a successful data protection solution and extend it with a new distributed architecture and analysis engine to cloud deployments, without losing any usability benefits (i.e. without making it complex) in his post “EMC Data Protection Advisor For As-A-Service Cloud” on our sister site Managed View.

Click here to read the full post, including Prahl’s take on DPA 6. Then, come back—and let me know what you think. What’s your biggest data protection challenge in moving to the cloud? I want to know.








Did Dinosaurs Like the Taste of Tape Cartridges?

Gene Maxwell

Gene Maxwell

Technical Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I am known by many as the creator of documentation that helps others easily understand technology. This is because I discovered that I myself was a visual learner as I worked in many different IT roles over the years. Prior to my technical marketing role, I was an EMC technical consultant for six years. I also have many years of experience as a customer in IT responsible for data center management & disaster recovery, including backups. My hobbies include building PCs, collecting movies (Casablanca is my favorite), singing and playing my guitar. I have a twin brother who is three minutes older than I am.

Whenever I see physical tape cartridges still being used for backups, I can’t help but think about cavemen and dinosaurs. They have so many things in common:

  • They are both old and outdated (OK, one is a little older than the other)
  • They are problematic (the problem is, what good are they to anyone anymore?)
  • They are undependable (just try and get a caveman to do something for you these days)
  • They are inflexible (what does a Dinosaur do… anything it wants to do!)
  • They are expensive (do you know how much it costs to feed a dinosaur these days?)
  • Nobody wants them anymore (am I right?)
  • They’re extinct (but may not realize it yet)
  • They represent the past, a bygone era that most people have moved beyond

So how does a progressive human fix the age-old problem of doing backups with physical tape?  Go simple, go fast, go tapeless!   Deduplication technology is the enabler to get your backups out of the stone-age.  Deduplicated disk storage backups provide many advantages over physical tape:

  1. Backups are much faster
  2. Backups are far more reliable
  3. Life is simpler eliminating the need to manage thousands of tape cartridges
  4. Restores are easier and will actually work
  5. Reduce backup costs by eliminating maintenance for tape libraries & drives
  6. Reduce valuable data center floor space by eliminating tape libraries & tape storage
  7. Eliminate the costs of tape handling, tape movement, and tape storage
  8. Reduce the risks of tape cartridges being lost or stolen (and expensive fines)
  9. Simplify Disaster Recovery and enable better DR testing (need I go on…)

The decision is yours.   Stone-age or 21st century?   Dinosaurs or Deduplication?  You decide.   If you’re ready to take your backups out of the stone-age, we are ready to help with industry leading backup and recovery solutions.

Because the CIO Said So

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.

Times they are a changing, and so are CIOs.

But for the past several years, the focus of most IT organizations across the globe has really been on one thing and one thing only: reducing IT costs. Blame it on the economy, the IT adoption curve or just (bad) habit, but we, as an industry and as consumers of IT, have prioritized short-term cost-savings often at the expense of longer-term business value, and we’ve prioritized instant gratification over strategy and innovation.

And this isn’t good.

However, a recent IDG survey highlights a very different trend taking shape globally ―one that we’ve been talking about here on The Backup Window since last year’s EMC World, or before.

Of the more than 1,500 CIOs and other IT leaders in the U.S. that IDG surveyed for the study, 49% ranked improving IT productivity as their number-one  goal for 2013, followed by better, faster, decision-making; improving service levels; protecting corporate data and increasing agility.

Do I hear cloud?

As for lowering costs – the historical front-runner – it ranked eighth in the survey. Yes, it’s still on the list, and so it should be, but it’s no longer the driving factor, or force, behind many of the decisons CIOs are making and the things IT organizations are doing.

This is huge. Why?

Well, as we’ve discussed on The Backup Window as well as on Backup Game Day I and II, companies with IT organizations that see themselves as change agents (or “brokers of value,” as IDG puts it) have a definite business advantage over companies with IT organizations that see themselves only as task-doers. They think and manage IT resources from a business viewpoint; they think smarter, not just faster.

For these CIOs and organizations, “time to” is a measure of IT efficiency (or productivity). It’s the time it takes to spin up a new business application, analyze a complex data set or expand business operations or customer base, and this has real business value. Stephen Manley explains why in this short video – part II of his three-part Accelerating Transformation series.

Check it out and then let us know what you think. How’s your CIO doing?


Replicating Your Backups…Do You Trust Your Network?

Mark Galpin

Mark Galpin

EMEA Product Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
As a product marketing lead based in Guildford, Surrey, I'm often seen presenting to EMC’s partners and end users at various events across Europe. I have over 20 years experience in the storage market, largely gained in the financial and legal sectors, including PaineWebber, part of UBS, and Clifford Chance, the international legal practice, where I was the storage manager for a number of years. But I've also held had product marketing stints at Quantum and previously at EMC. I'm married with two children and live in Guildford, Surrey.

One of the major advantages data duplication brings to going tapeless for backup is the ability to use your existing network links to replicate your backup data to a second site.

This in theory is all very well, but as a backup administrator do you have the visibility and / or management of these links. How can you be sure that all your data has been replicated off site?

During a recent EMC sponsored survey in South Africa  we found 44% of the respondents were still using tape to recover from a disaster. However it appears that this is not their ideal method as a staggering 82% of the companies want to completely stop using tape for backup. This is a trend we have seen across Europe in similar surveys EMC have conducted. So although South Africa is not unique by having nearly half the respondent’s still using tape for DR, it is a country which continues to struggle with good network connectivity.

The current trend is to use data deduplication for backup which in turn enables the backup data to pass over existing links for DR. However if these links are unreliable, visibility of these links is imperative, to ensure backup data is in fact replicated off site. For a backup admin a tool such as Data Protection Advisor will help with monitoring a large number of backup jobs to report on status, but perhaps more importantly in this example is that it will also monitor the infrastructure that supports the backup. So any network links that fail will be reported not only to the network team but also the backup admin.

DPA has just undergone a major update to afford customers complete visibility into the backup process. A key part of this update is real-time monitoring and analytics, designed to give better predictability and assurance that mission-critical applications are protected. This includes the monitoring and reporting of the network the backup data flows over. Predictability when all of your data will not fit down your link is a useful tool. DPA will monitor the growth in your backups and analyse the amount of capacity needed to replicate this data, producing a flag, that in a given number of weeks the replication process may not complete. In addition as backup is often a process that happens overnight, understanding any data loss and providing reports detailing such errors would allow the backup admin to have confidence in knowing when backups are not replicated.

This type of information is often not in view to the backup admin, so to achieve a tapeless environment and the trust that you have all of your backup data off site, you not only need a Purpose Built Backup Appliance, but also a set of tools to give you maximum visibility into the complete process.

During Backup Game Day II we discussed this very subject, take 30 minutes to understand how tools from EMC can give you back your evenings and weekends from monitoring your backups and relying on the network team to tell you when there is an issue with capacity or connectivity.

The webcast can be viewed here.