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.





Coaching Blindfolded?

Caitlin Gordon

Caitlin Gordon

Data Domain Product Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I have spent the past eight years focused on all things data protection, with a focus on backup and archive. Lucky for me, Data Domain Systems give me lots of good topics to discuss here. When I’m not blogging, I’m equal parts gadget geek and sports freak – always ready to chat about the latest IT rumor or celebrate/lament the latest Boston sports heartbreak/victory. You can also find me talking backup on Twitter and YouTube.

As a native New Englander, I have been lucky enough to enjoy the spoils of many great coaches in recent years including Bill Belichick, Doc Rivers and Terry Francona (yes, even Francona).  But do you think that the Patriots would have gone to 5 Super Bowls and won 3 (it hurts to type that ‘3’) if Belichick was coaching blindfolded?  Even with a Tom Brady behind center, a team needs a coach with the visibility and insight into the entire field of play.   Although it’s true in any sport, this is especially true in football with a roster of 53 players to manage.

As we discussed earlier this week, like any player or coach, an IT administrator needs visibility into their entire field of play to proactively manage their environment.  In the world of data protection, this centers on the concept of providing data management services to users through products like Data Protection Advisor and Data Domain Management Center.

Data Domain Management Center provides administrators a single view for aggregate monitoring and reporting of all Data Domain systems in the environment.  Below you see what I would call the Data Domain “playbook” – a customizable dashboard that shows the health, capacity and replication status of all systems in the environment.

While a playbook certainly makes for interesting reading, the real power comes when you call a play and share this information with the team.  That’s where the reporting functionality comes it, shown below in the Reports section of Data Domain Management Center.  This enables you to create customized reports that show status, capacity and replication of multiple systems. Best of all, you can schedule these reports to run on a schedule and be automatically distributed to a defined list of recipients.  That means you can set up custom reports for different sites and DD Management Center will automatically run that report on a weekly basis and send the results to only the folks in each site.

Although providing data management services isn’t going to win you a Super Bowl anytime soon, it goes a long way in making you a hero in your organization.

Want to take Data Domain Management Center out for a spin?  Download the free 90-day evaluation from today!


Unify Data Protection Management with DPA 6

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.

For years, the saying in the business arena has been “it’s not what you know but who you know that matters.”

But that thinking has shifted, and today it really is what you know that matters more – whether you’re in management, IT, etc.

Knowledge IS power IF you can find it, organize it and leverage it. But too often organizations don’t have the visibility  they need to verify that their vital business data is properly protected, or whether they are in compliance. Centralizing management and providing unified visibility into and insight across these diverse and dynamic backup environments is HUGE!

In the backup world, visibility has been a huge problem for years, not just from a backup administrator perspective but increasingly from an application or end-user viewpoint. That’s why we’re excited about the launch of EMC Data Protection Advisor (DPA) 6 today.

DPA 6 provides unified visibility and insight into backup and recovery environments. Better stated, it provides real proof of data protection through comprehensive monitoring, analysis and reporting.

With DPA, backup and VMware administrators (and their bosses) don’t have to ask questions like, do I:

  • Know if my service levels are being met?
  • Know if my critical data is protected?
  • Receive information on the success/failure of backup jobs?
  • Reduce backup errors and identify issues?
  • Monitor across physical and virtual heterogeneous infrastructures?
  • Make proactive decisions about my backup and recovery environments and plan storage and media purchases.

Specifically, DPA 6 provides:

  • Unified visibility ensures to ensure data protection service levels: Gain clarity through DPA 6’s unified view so you can proactively report protection to stakeholders and compliance to auditors. The benefit is comprehensive understanding of overall data protection health, performance and reliability.
  • Rapid access to vital information: Customers can self-install DPA in just minutes. By using DPA’s new dashboards, they will make be able to make better decisions because they will have access to more information in a single location. Service providers and IT administrator can enable stakeholders to verify service levels or other data on their own based on privilege or preference-based self-service access.
  • Real-time monitoring and analytics: Get better predictability and assurance that mission-critical applications are protected. DPA offers fully-automated data protection processes. DPA 6 provides unified visibility and proven service levels for backup, which is particularly vital in rapidly-growing and changing environments.  Monitoring the protection of VM’s in real time is vital in service provider and enterprise environments where data protection is implemented as a service.DPA supports VMware vMotion, and can keep track of VMs as they move around the environment.  This capability is extremely valuable if a data set is not backed up, or even when a newly created VM is not covered by a protection policy.
  • Data protection management for multi-tenant environments: DPA 6 offers multi-tenant data protection management, providing the enterprise-level scalability and flexibility required in cloud environments. Savings with DPA’s new architecture come from supporting thousands of tenants on a single DPA instance, and it does this without performance degradation by non-disruptively adding new nodes into running clusters or the ability to partition resources. By combining chargeback or show-back reporting for backup and replicated data, DPA makes it simple for IT departments (or service providers) offering IT-as-a-Service to charge back the level of service to the line of business (or by location or some other metric).

Why try a new approach to data protection management?  You’ll know in 60 days.

Backup and ITaaS – Your Business Depends on It

Stephen Manley

Stephen Manley

CTO, Data Protection and Availability Division
Over the past 15 years at both EMC and NetApp, I have traveled the world, helping solve backup and recovery challenges - one customer at a time (clearly, I need to optimize my travel arrangements!). My professional mission is to transform data protection so that it accelerates customers’ businesses. I have a passion for helping engineers pursue technical career path(without becoming managers), telling stories about life on the road and NDMP (yes, that’s NDMP).

While companies now understand that information drives their business, many have yet to consider the impact backup can have on their bottom line. IT organizations that drive a service-provider approach to backup can accelerate both IT and business initiatives. To deliver backup in an IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) model, however, the team must transform both their approach and their technology.

Backup Matters to the Bottom Line

Why does backup matter to the business?

From vision to execution. Backup teams can drive business value by shifting to an ITaaS-oriented protection storage architecture.

At a recent manufacturing conference, the head of a cosmetics factory lamented: “With my virtualized environment, IT can set up a new application in 48 hours. Everything is set up automatically in one hour… except backups. This delays everything, and that’s unacceptable.” Conversely, organizations with service-oriented backup teams innovate more quickly because everybody is confident that, even if something goes wrong, their data will be safe and accessible. Backup affects the velocity of IT and business.

IT organizations need a new service-provider approach. Unfortunately, legacy backup solutions tend to be architecturally monolithic, labor-intensive and absolutely centralized – the exact opposite of how to deliver anything as a service.

Continue reading on Reflections>>

Backup Game Day Is Back…The Transformation Continues

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.

How do you turn backup and recovery into an offensive strategy that delivers game-changing business results?

More than 4,000 of you tuned in last fall to hear the first part of the story, and on Monday, March 11, we’re back with the second chapter.

Backup Game II is all about giving application owners, end user and other stockholders, the visibility and control of the backup process they need to accelerate business.

You’ll learn:

  • Why federated management services are critical to backup transformation
  • How data protection management can help you improve service levels, lower costs, and avoid problems
  • How to manage backup at scale–simply and efficiently
  • How to deliver backup in an IT as a service model
  • How the completely redesigned EMC Data Protection Advisor 6 will help you go from vision to execution.

Register today, or catch us real-time Monday. It will be 30-minutes well spent.

Oh, and by the way, TBW bloggers Tom Giuliano, Michael Wilke, Caitlin Gordon and I will be on-line during the event.  So don’t forget to say hello.