The Future Is Now: Data Protection Worthy of Your Data

Today marks an important day in the history of our division and for EMC as we announce new capabilities across major parts of our protection storage and software portfolio. While the launch headline is “Backup to the Future,” I’m taking it a step further to include archiving as well. As you know, LadyBackup is equally as passionate about archiving as backup. What does it mean – the future is now? Continue Reading…

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.

Real Life Solutions for a Real World Architecture

aprimo banner final - liveThe Protection Storage Architecture is EMC’s North Star for data protection. With loosely integrated modules for protection storage, data source integration and data management services, it provides the road map for the journey to backup transformation. It guides our product development. It anchors our customer discussions around backup transformation. We have Protection Storage Architecture pictures, posters, t-shirts, and refrigerator magnets. I’m considering buying a face tattoo of the architecture… for one of my employees.

Therefore, it’s a great day when we deliver product that fills in the Protection Storage Architecture. That’s why we’re excited to announce new releases of EMC EMC Data Domain, EMC Avamar, and EMC NetWorker. In doing so, we build out all layers of the Protection Storage Architecture.

  • Protection Storage: Data Domain is not merely making bigger, faster Purpose Built Backup Appliances; it is defining the new class of storage that will finally meet the industry’s need for scale – Protection Storage. In the last decade, backup performance has fallen so far behind data growth that we need an entirely new approach to scaling.Therefore, we’re proud to announce the new Data Domain systems with 4x performance and 10x capacity of their predecessors. More important, however, is that the systems redefine protection scalability. Instead of simply storing traditional backup images, Data Domain now consolidates storage for all protection data. Key benefits include:
    • Versioned Replication – full data center support for incremental forever backups (synthesized into full backups).
    • Archive – support for over 20 leading applications, with the ability to store dramatically more objects/files at an even lower cost.
    • Disaster Recovery – instantly access VMs off the Data Domain in the event of a disaster, and storage vMotion them to primary storage at your convenience.
  • Data Source Integration: We’re not merely “supporting” all backup sources; we integrate deeply into their data and management layers. The data sources have both the intelligence to optimize protection performance and the user interfaces through which their users want to view their protection. This is especially important as we move into Big Data and Cloud. Therefore, we have extended our “application direct” backups to Data Domain to include SAP, SAP HANA and Oracle Exadata. Further, Avamar has extended its industry-unique NAS backup optimizations to Isilon – delivering backup performance that scales with the largest NAS environments. Finally, we have developed a vCenter management plugin that connects VMware’s vSphere Data Protection Advanced(VDPA), which is built on Avamar technology, to our full Avamar and NetWorker solutions. Built on the same technical foundation, customers have a natural migration from VDPA to Avamar or NetWorker.
  • Data Management Services: We are changing the way protection storage management, catalog, policy management, and consolidated is done and providing unmatched visibility:
    • We simplify protection storage management in two ways. First, all Avamar data center backups (VMs, applications, files) can target a Data Domain. While customers can continue to use their Avamar Data Stores, they no longer need to have two protection storage solutions for Data Center Protection. Additionally, NetWorker can now run Data Domain BOOST-optimized backups over Fibre Channel, simplifying the management of the protection storage environment.
    • We enhance the protection storage cataloging with the ability to track storage-layer protection (VMAX snapshots, VNX snapshots, RecoverPoint) and Oracle Flash Recovery Area (FRA) Backups. Therefore, if an Oracle DBA runs an FRA backup, NetWorker can automatically discover, catalog, and enhance the policy around that backup.
    • We deliver policy management for protection. Customers have struggled to ensure all their VMs are protected. Now, when a VM is created, it will automatically inherit a baseline backup policy – ensuring that everything is protected, without picking up the phone or sending an email to the backup team!
    • We are simplifying the management of backup. In this release, you can see the common VM protection capabilities between Avamar and NetWorker. That is no accident. This is the most concrete technical proof that EMC is bringing together our backup software into a unified offering.

Providing Real Customer Value

How can these solutions help you? How do they shift entire markets? Where do we go from here? Check out this link to watch our special webcast event and this  link to get answers to all these questions and more from our team of experts, customers and analysts.

By the way, if you want to sign up for that tattoo of the architecture, let us know – #backuptothefuture, @EMCBackup. We’ll get you some counseling… after we take a picture of the tattoo and post it on Twitter. Join us in our journey to backup transformation with the Protection Storage Architecture.

 

 

 

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).

The Future is Now: Data Protection Worthy of Your Data

Today marks an important day in the history of our division and for EMC as we announce new capabilities across major parts of our protection storage and software portfolio. 

While the launch headline is “Backup to the Future,” I’m taking it a step further to include archiving as well.   As you know, LadyBackup is equally as passionate about archiving as backup. 

What does it mean – the future is now?

The reality is that many customers rely on aging backup infrastructures that haven’t been updated in many years – maybe longer.  There is clearly a mismatch if you think about the fact that IT systems and data are mission critical to most company, but they are protected by infrastructure that was built for a different era.  The end result is a lack of confidence in the ability to recover and/or to meet SLAs required by the business.

Likewise, companies around the world put backup tapes in boxes, in the cupboard, in a 3rd party vault… tucked away somewhere and that is what they call their “archive.”  Maybe this literally “checks the box” for retention, but it is not archiving.  It’s difficult if not impossible to find specific content over time.  And if you do find it – the time wasted in locating the specific tape and then loading the tape and then finding the content…. I can only say this is not likely to delight or even satisfy any business users.

The future is now to evolve your definition of archiving from a dusty, inaccessible pile of tapes to an active, online, and accessible archive.   And the future is now to evolve backup from a static, siloed approach to one where recovery can be done effectively and consistently by the backup team or application owners.     

In the end, breaking down silos requires the combination of both backup and archive transformation for a data protection strategy that is worthy of the value of your electronic data and IT systems.

Want to know more? Watch the launch video here: http://bit.ly/134gk7U.  And we’ll have “ask the experts” dedicated space for all your data protection questions: http://bit.ly/186f7eO.

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.

The Right Architecture Is Priceless, Part V

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The John Hancock Tower (a.k.a. The Hancock) in Boston is synonymous with architecture disconnected from reality. A 60-story glass skyscraper in Boston, the tower is a tourist attraction and an exemplar of modernist architecture. But it also has a long, embarrassing history. At one point, it was dubbed the “Plywood Palace.” When 500 pound panes of glass fell off the building, engineers temporarily replaced much of the glass with plywood. Then, in high winds, the tenants of the upper floors suffered from motion sickness; to solve the problem, engineers installed a tuned mass damper. Finally, when it was discovered that the building could collapse under very high winds, engineers added thousands of pounds of steel bracings.

A monolithic architecture can look elegant on paper, but real life engineering depends on flexibility and the ability to evolve quickly. The right architecture needs to translate into reality.

Traditional Backup vs. Protection Storage Architecture

A perceptive reader asked: “How is your Protection Storage Architecture different than a traditional backup architecture where backup software (management) triggers backup clients (data sources) that send data to tape (protection storage)? And why should I care?”

Traditional backup architectures are closed and monolithic. The Protection Storage Architecture is open and modular.

  • Data Access: Traditional backups store data in a closed, proprietary format; you cannot access your data without the backup app that created it. The Protection Storage Architecture prefers to store backup copies in their open, original format – i.e., backups of database files as database files, VMs as VMs, and files and files – instead of locking the backups into proprietary tar images.
  • Metadata Access: Traditional backups limit backup visibility by closing off access to the protection metadata. Non-backup administrators, so they cannot easily understand what the backup application is doing. The Protection Storage Architecture opens backup visibility and control to the data source owners, via their preferred interface (e.g., Oracle RMAN, VMware vSphere).
  • Alternate Protection Methods: Traditional backup architectures refuse to manage or monitor backup copies created outside their monolith (backup application driving backup client to write data to backup storage). They also struggle to support new data source layer performance optimizations (e.g. snapshots, replicas, changed block tracking), delivering a sub-par bolt-on module years later. The Protection Storage Architecture’s modularity enables it to treat all protection copies as 1st class citizens. This includes all types of protection (e.g. snapshots, replicas, backups, archives), created by all users (e.g., DBA, VM admin, or any third-party backup software), and all optimization modules.

The difference in architectural approach is stark: closed and monolithic vs. open and modular.

What’s the Value?

The value of the Protection Storage Architecture boils down to two things: performance and visibility.

  1. Performance: A traditional backup client cannot scale backup and recovery performance with data growth. On backup, it reads through all the data to find what to protect and write into its proprietary format – searching for needles in haystacks. On restore, it must translate all the data from the proprietary format and write it to primary storage. The data can only be accessed once the customer finds primary storage capacity and runs a, potentially, multi-TB recovery.A modular architecture leverages the intelligence in the data sources (e.g. hypervisor, application, primary storage) to optimize protection performance. Instead of searching for needles, the data sources can track exactly what new data to protect because they’re writing the data. One can reduce backup and recovery times from hours to seconds… if your architecture is modular enough to leverage the intelligence in the data sources.The Protection Storage Architecture scales recovery because it leaves data in open formats. Since it stores data on disk in its original format, customers can instantly access their data. In the event of a disaster, an application can be up and running in minutes, instead of days. Or, if multiple users lose files, they can recover their own data, instead of hitting a bottleneck waiting for the backup team and tools to help them.The open, modular architecture optimizes and scales both backup and recovery performance.
  2. Visibility: With traditional backup architectures, everything must run through the backup team bottleneck. These architectures drive a “my way or the highway” approach from the backup team – my backup app, my schedule, my clients, my data format, my absolute control. It’s no surprise that other groups are choosing the highway and rolling their own solutions.The Protection Storage Architecture wants to increase everybody’s data protection visibility. Regardless of how a protection copy is made, or by whom, the Protection Storage Architecture’s Data Management Services will discover, report on, and catalog it. Furthermore, the Protection Storage Architecture wants to ensure that each key user has a native user-interface into all versions of their protected data – be it their application (e.g., Oracle, SAP), hypervisor (e.g., VMware), storage array (e.g., ViPR), or user protocol (e.g., NFS/CIFS).

How Do I Adopt the Protection Storage Architecture?

One of the virtues of a modular architecture is that you don’t need a “rip and replace” to move to the architecture. The modularity of the Protection Storage Architecture enables companies to set long-term goals, while deriving value today and each step of the way. How you move forward depends on your environment, your business and your objectives. Some choose to adopt whole layers (e.g.,protection storage or data management services) across their legacy environment; others opt to focus on end-to-end use cases (e.g. database backups, VM backups), and still others decide to follow a hybrid approach.

Your organization, like ours, is moving to a services-oriented backup and IT approach. As it does, it’s critical that your foundation is open and modular.

Backup is broken because the traditional architectures are closed and monolithic. Companies will not succeed in deploying rich services on top of a legacy backup architecture. With the Protection Storage Architecture, the engineering team can evolve the environment, quickly solve pressing business challenges, and unify data protection services.

Amazingly, in 1977, just after the plywood debacle, the American Institute for Architects bestowed the Hancock Tower with a National Honor Award. Sometimes, architects forget that the right architecture is not about a beautiful monolith on paper – it’s about putting the engineering team in the best position to solve real-world problems.

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).

The Right Architecture Is Priceless, Part IV

120893069Architecture is priceless, and history wants to make architects pay dearly. According to legend, after the completion of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Tsar Ivan the Terrible gouged out the architect’s eyes; he did not want him to design a superior structure. Similarly, when the Taj Mahal was completed, Shah Jahan supposedly cut off the architect’s hands. While historical evidence indicates these are myths, architects should consider in the long term, what value can they deliver to keep themselves safe?

In this series, I introduced the Protection Storage Architecture , explored Protection Storage and Data Source Integration. Now to Data Management Services, where the fun begins.

Data Management Services – Why Do They Matter?

What value should a protection team deliver? First, application teams need to access the right version of data, when they need it. That means high-performance and user-visible data protection. Second, management needs analytics and reporting for regulatory compliance, service-level enforcement, and cost management. Third, users, auditors and lawyers need to be able to access the right historical information, quickly and accurately.

Without data management services, companies fail audits and lose data, productivity and business. Only the backup team has the technology and organizational scope to deliver the protection services.

Data Management Services – Why Have They Become a Challenge?

A decade ago, the backup application exercised absolute control over every aspect of the end-to-end protection workflow. Therefore, it was simple for it to deliver reporting, cataloging and management of protection storage (a.k.a.  tape). Things changed when traditional backups could not scale with data growth and virtualization. To meet their business needs, the application, hypervisor, and storage teams began to deploy their own solutions, using tools integrated into their data sources – the accidental architecture. The backup application (and team) lost control and visibility over the environment.

Despite the increasing variety of protection mechanisms, the business still needs consolidated data management services. The backup team must gain visibility into all the protection copies – even those created outside the backup application.

Data Management Services – The Baseline

The protection team must ensure:

  • Recovery and Access. Information must be protected, regardless of: where it resides (data center, remote office, mobile device, cloud), the protection mechanism (snapshot, data-source mover, backup or archive client), and the location of protection copy (backup appliance, cloud, or tape). The protection data must be accessible, regardless of use case (disaster recovery, operational recovery, archive access), mechanism (instant access, granular object recovery, or search-driven access) or who drives the recovery (protection team, application admin, end-user). Even though the backup team may neither create nor recover the protection data, the business still holds it responsible for rapid and reliable recovery and access. (And, yes, backup teams, now is the time to curl up into the fetal position.)
  • Policy Management.  The protection team must create, manage, and report on protection policies for both regulatory and service-level compliance. In addition to cataloging and reporting on all the copies, the protection team must supplement the data source administrator’s policies. For example, imagine that a DBA runs her own database dump and plans to retain it for 30 days. If corporate policy is 90 day retention, the protection team must find a way to deliver that retention. Ideally the supplement would be efficient (clone the DBA’s copy) vs. inefficient (create your own primary backup copy). Regardless, the protection team is the “one throat to choke” for policy compliance.
  • Protection Storage Management. Protection storage management involves far more than managing purpose-built backup appliances. This includes: primary storage (e.g. snapshots and replicas), backup appliances, WAN network bandwidth (to replicate between sites), tape and cloud. The protection team needs to ensure that the entire infrastructure is available for recovery and backup. Furthermore, they need to plan for the expansion of the environment – projecting future costs and purchases.

Data Management Services – Bonus Levels

With a consolidated view of the organization’s information, protection teams can deliver value beyond the baseline and accelerate the business. With data and metadata analytics (like the NSA of the enterprise) the protection team can expand their business impact.

First, organizations crave visibility and control over their infrastructure spending and growth. The protection team has can track data growth rates by division, application, location and data type. Not only does this help them project what they will need (protection storage, bandwidth, compute), but it can also provide insight into the primary storage and application environment.

Second, the protection team can derive insight from the data. Most groups either view only their silo of information, so they lack the full visibility across all the data. The protection team has a catalog of every piece of data in the environment. With that pool of data, some groups are already searching for security/compliance leaks, optimizing test & development and hardening their systems.

After delivering the baseline, the protection team is well positioned to deliver advanced services.

Protection Storage Architecture – The Value

The protection storage architecture positions the backup team to evolve into a high-value service provider. You need all three components of the architecture to succeed. You can’t provide the data management services without consolidating the protection. You can’t consolidate the protection without integrating with the data sources. And you can’t integrate with the data sources without the right protection storage. Hence, you need an architecture that loosely couples all three architectural components.

With the right architecture, the protection team can deliver tremendous and keep their eyes and hands.

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).