EMC World 2013: Building a Data Protection Legacy

Greetings from EMC World 2013! Another record year with nearly 15,000 people from 80 countries.   There is no shortage of news from the show including:

  • The headline news from EMC World 2013 is the introduction of EMCViPR, Software-Defined Storage.
  • From my area of interest, we introduced the EMC Data Protection Suite, changing the way customers consume EMC backup and archive capabilities.
  • There’s also news from Isilon, Syncplicity and much more so you can check it out  here.

Guy Churchward took the stage for the first time as president of EMC Backup Recovery Systems Division.  “Unique” doesn’t really do it justice to describe the keynote.

First, Guy comes out on stage wearing jeans and t-shirt to the 1984 song You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) .  On top of it, he is holding massive vintage tape cartridges, keeping with the 80s theme.   The t-shirt of course also featured 80s super hero characters.

I admit – when I heard the theme of the keynote I was a bit skeptical.  That might be my American conservative side.  Did I mention that Guy is British?   As a British colleague said to me, “Leave it to a Brit to shake things up.”

But Guy delivered an excellent keynote.

The message was really simple.  Your decisions into data protection aren’t made just for today, tomorrow, next week or next month.  The decision you make into your data protection infrastructure should long outlast your individual job tenure.

And this longevity – or data protection legacy as I like to think of it – means it is critical to make the right decision into a vendor that is build to last.   Under Guy’s watch, EMC will continue to be that vendor.

“It doesn’t matter what you did.  It matters what you do,” Guy told the audience.  As our new president, Guy isn’t taking our market share or technology innovation for granted.   We’ll keep raise the bar and never resting on our successes.  LB

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.

View Into VSPEX: Driving Business Value With EMC Avamar

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.

EMC Avamar Soaring to New Heights with Eclipse Aerospace

Figure 1: Eclipse 550 – Most Advanced Jet in Aviation

EMC World 2013 set new heights for attendance and excitement this year.  Here are a few highlights from my Day 1.

Optimized Backup and Recovery for Virtual Environments

Daniel Miller and Eddie Pavkovic presented Optimized Backup and Recovery for Virtual Environments, where they described how Avamar is optimized for both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.  They also highlighted the latest innovations extending Avamar’s leadership in VMware backup and recovery.

Customer, Jeremy Lawrence, Director, Information Technology at Eclipse Aerospace, described how Eclipse modernized their IT department with the VCE Vblock and EMC Avamar.  He summed up the session by stating, “EMC Avamar gives us a new level confidence [for backup and recovery] we had never experienced before. The speed of backups and recoveries for VMware is fantastic, and the consistency of restore across a very broad set of applications and operating systems has dramatically improved our SLAs and our quality of life.”

Steve Reichwein and I presented EMC Avamar: What’s New in 2013 to a full auditorium.

We provided highlights about the latest advanced integration efforts with Avamar and Data Domain Systems, new capabilities and optimizations for VMware, and improved performance for business critical applications. As you can see from the photos, the room was packed.  Great questions and feedback!

Figure 2: EMC Avamar What’s New in 2013 – Left Half of Room – FULL

Figure 3: Right Half of Room … FULLER!

If you didn’t get a chance to attend on Monday, then be sure to attend on Wednesday, May 8th:

10am: EMC Avamar: What’s New in 2013 in Palazzo L

11:30am: Optimized Backup and Recovery for Virtual Environments in Lido 3005

Day 1 ended with an opening of the Pavilion Floor and EMC Backup Recovery and Archive Booth 747 was hopping with excitement. Stephen Manley and Michael Wilke kicked-off Backup Game Plan in booth #747 – let the banter begin!

So what’s Your Game Plan?  Ours … continually innovate to provide the highest performance and reliability for backup, recovery and archive … to make your jobs easier.

Be sure to stop by and watch the show – get a t-shirt and register to win Super Bowl Tickets.

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.

Change the Game: Oracle Backup Made Easy

Joe Boylan, Guest Blogger and Advisory Systems Engineeer, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

Joseph Boylan, Advisory Systems Engineer, EMC Backup Recovery Systems, and member of EMC Global Database Specialist team, knows databases. Working with some of EMC’s largest customers in the Northeast and Canada, and across North America, Joe helps organizations identify and solve database backup issues. He walks customers through his version of the Repeat Test

At the Backup and Archive Booth at EMC World last night, Joe talked with attendees about application-driven backups and new Data Domain 5.3 Oracle-aware deduplication. In the following guest post, Joe shares his insight about protecting large-scale Oracle databases. Information that is sure to change your game.

* * * *

There’s no question users are very excited that they can improve performance of protecting large Oracle databases by increasing Oracle file per set/multiplexing tuning options without impacting deduplication rates. I see it when I engage with customers across the country, and I experienced it first-hand last night at the @EMCBackup booth.

And here’s why.

The customers I work with are in the process of transforming their IT organizations into internal service providers, and being able to provide performance-optimized application-driven backups is critical to this process. Without making advancements toward application-driven techniques, IT organizations will be challenged to continue to meet the significant growth challenges and the shortening of backup windows.

After joining EMC, the first major project I worked on was a mission-critical Oracle data warehouse; the system took more than two days to back up and was failing to meet SLAs, which dictated daily full backups for optimum recovery capabilities. This posed two challenges:  First, how to reduce current backup times to acceptable service levels and, second, how to keep them there.

Many organizations that I have met with are in similar situations. Their mission-critical applications are growing at 50% to 100% a year—and this is putting more and more demand on infrastructure and is driving administrators to look for smarter ways of achieving data protection.

By deploying Oracle Incrementally updated backups with Data Domain, we were able to reduce backup times by 75%. Traditionally, administrators avoided this technique due to RMAN’s merge process overwriting the previous full backup; however, with EMC’s integration and pointer-based copy mechanisms, we were able to perform rapid backups while keeping as many backup data sets as we needed for data retention. And leveraging EMC’s deduplication technology, we were able to keep backup storage cost under control while benefiting from full backup images daily.

Oracle Incrementally updated backups are tremendously efficient and with the use of Oracle Block Change Tracking, RMAN keeps a record of all the changes to the datase. As an example, one of the clients I worked with had a 70TB database (and growing at 100% yearly) with daily changes of 500GB to 1.5TB. This solution allowed the DBA team to back up 500GB to 1.5TB daily while having a full 70TB image daily; it also dramatically reduced backup times. Big benefits!

This is a superior solution for large databases. The architecture coupled with Data Domain’s best-of-breed performance empowers DBAs with the ability to dynamically allocate needed channels and multiplexing for optimizing both backup and recovery while not being bound by the physical media and tape drive boundaries of legacy approaches. Since this method leverages image copy and the data is in native format/exact copies of the database files and logs, DBA’s can easily grab the files they need for recovery or mount the backups residing on the Data Domains via Oracle and drill more granular a d restore rows or tablespaces.  

With increases of business dependency on application availability and extraordinary data growth, the requirements for improved data protection techniques are a must as the legacy methods are dated and struggling to provide adequate protection. If you’re at EMC World this week, stop by our Booth. We’d love to walk you through the benefits:

  • Dramatically improved backup and restore times
  • Native application format for flexible recovery options
  • Reduced backup costs
  • Simplified data management
  • Improved DR management and visibility

For more information visit http://www.emc.com/backup-and-recovery/backup-for-oracle.htm.

Heidi Biggar

Heidi Biggar

Marketing and IT Consultant, Data Protection and Availability Division at EMC Corporation
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.

The Right Architecture Is Priceless, Part I

Lego Architecture sets are among the greatest inventions of the last decade. My seven-year-old son Connor loves to show off his Lego creations, but my wife doesn’t really appreciate the aesthetic value of a Lego Death Star. Thankfully, Lego solved the problem by creating beautiful reproductions of buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe….

As Connor and I constructed the 2000+ piece Robie House, he asked, “If nobody famous lived here, why is this place famous?” I answered, “The architecture. The right architecture is priceless.”

Game-changing Protection Storage Architecture

Building Intentional – Not Accidental – Architectures
Evolving data protection technology and expanding requirements have completely transformed the backup industry. Unfortunately, with such rapid change, many organizations have fallen into the chaos of an accidental architecture. The backup team isn’t solving critical protection performance challenges from the application, virtualization and storage teams, so those teams deploy silos of point products as they deem appropriate. The accidental architecture results.It’s accidental because nobody would intentionally plan for half-dozen unconnected protection tools, no central oversight and no cost controls (Okay, based on their acquisition history, maybe Dell would.).

Customers need to define a protection storage architecture to combat the accidental architecture. This architecture should be composed of loosely coupled modules to minimize vendor lock-in while providing the value of integrated data protection. That way, the backup team can solve immediate challenges while delivering a platform that can evolve with business and technical requirements.

What are the key challenges that the protection architecture needs to address?

  1. Over the next three years, the protection team will be expected to deliver multiple services: disaster recovery, backup and archive.
  2. The protection team must tie together a disparate set of technology components and owners. Virtually every part of IT plays a role in data protection. The application team is the focus because they’re delivering the technology value to the business.  IT infrastructure –virtualization, storage, servers and network – must keep the business applications running. With such a diverse set of people and technology required to deliver a protection solution, it’s no surprise that a data protection administrator survives about as long as a main character in Game of Thrones.

What Is a Protection Storage Architecture?
The protection team must bring together the right people, processes and architecture to transform the technical and organizational complexity into a successful solution. In the past, we’ve talked about the evolution of the protection team and its approach. Now, it’s time to talk to talk technology.Our most successful customers have adopted a protection storage architecture, which consists of three core, loosely coupled modules:

  • Protection Storage: This is the anchor of the architecture. First, protection storage has a unique design center in the storage world: cost-optimized storage with high data durability that can deliver disaster recovery, backup and archive. Second, to avoid creating silos of protection storage, the platform must support multiple protocols (e.g., VTL, NAS, OST and deduplication-aware protocols like Data Domain Boost) and integrate with multiple data sources (applications, hypervisors, storage and backup applications). The right protection storage sets the team down a path of a flexible, reliable, scalable infrastructure for protection. The wrong choice? You’ve seen what happens in the Friday the 13th movies when you take a wrong turn…
  • Data Source Integration: Internal customers want two things from their protection team. First, performance – backup and recovery needs to be fast. Second, they want visibility into the protection of their data. The protection storage architecture leverages both the optimized data flows and user interfaces of the data sources: hypervisor, application and storage. The data sources deliver optimized protection performance because they can track the data as it changes (e.g., VMware Changed Block Tracking, array snapshots)versus trying to figure out what changed after the fact (e.g., traditional backup agent searching through all the data for the changes). The user interface (e.g., vSphere, Oracle RMAN, Unisphere) displays protection status in that team’s preferred, native interface. Data source integration eliminates the two causes of the accidental architecture – performance and visibility. Of course, this integration is available only if you have chosen protection storage that can support these flows.
  • Data Management Services: The protection team delivers value with data management services. Thus far, the architecture eliminates the causes of the accidental architecture, but the protection team needs to add value to convince their customers to adopt their services. What services can they offer? Senior management wants to ensure the protection meets SLAs and compliance regulations… as cost effectively as possible. They need analytics and reports for compliance, policy and infrastructure utilization. Customers want to be able to retrieve any version of any information, easily and quickly. The protection team needs to have a catalog of the company’s information – from local snapshots to backup copies to offsite/cloud copies to their deep archives. By taking on the responsibilities that everybody in the organization deems necessary, but that nobody wants to do, the protection team gains the credibility to consolidate data protection.

Only by bringing together all three modules of the protection storage architecture can the central protection team deliver the services, performance, and visibility that the business and its customers need.

From Blueprint to Reality?
The protection storage architecture is a blueprint to guide the transformation of data protection from the chaos of the accidental architecture to a clean, centralized protection service. Like all blueprints, however, there are two things to remember.

First, like my son’s 2000+ piece Lego set, you’re not going to build the solution in one day; it takes time and patience. Set a journey with key milestones and enjoy the evolution. Second, like a Lego set, you need more detailed descriptions of what to build.

Over the coming series and at EMC World next week, I’ll dive more deeply into each of the architectural components. Your organization will appreciate your streamlined, elegant protection architecture… because, as Mies van der Rohe said of his designs, “Less is more.”


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).