How Will 2013 IT Trends Shape Your Business?

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.

Are you primed and ready for 2013? I certainly am. In fact, I’m more excited about the year ahead than I’ve been in the 15-plus years I’ve been in this industry. No exaggeration.

And the reason is simple: IT transformation. And, no, I’m not talking about technology here. Not dedupe or virtualization or Flash. Not Hadoop―or the next big software thing, or the one after that.

What I’m talking about is the transformation of the IT function, from its traditional back office support role to one that’s increasingly front office or business-focused. This trend really started in earnest this year (with the market’s increasing focus on Big Data) and is set to take off in 2013 as more and more organizations (across verticals and geographies) look for ways to capitalize on their data.

As this happens, IT will become increasingly relevant. What I do will become more relevant (it’s that bigger picture I’m known to rant about), what you do will become more relevant and, importantly, what your competitors’ IT organizations do will become more relevant. After all, data is money.

The challenge is how to balance long-term strategic (i.e., business) and short-term tactical (i.e., IT) objectives as we move along this journey. This is where having insight into IT trends will be helpful.

So, what will 2013 bring?

This week, EMC executives, including The Backup Window’s own Stephen Manley, offered some insights on our sister Blog site Reflections.

Not surprisingly, the common themes centered on improving business intelligence, management, integration and services. Technology discussions focused around Big Data, Cloud and Data Protection. Here are some excerpts:

  • For CIOs, the common theme is “now.” Rapid time to value is the leading driver. In many cases today, the business unit holds the money and determines the priorities, but they don’t care much about the platforms, just the best solution for a specific problem (Rick Devenuti, President, EMC Information Intelligence Group).
  • Information growth of structured and unstructured data, never before seen requirements for data mobility, and new foundations for laid for extra value from Big Data―will expand and drive new levels of enterprise storage requirements in 2013 (Brian Gallagher, President, EMC Enterprise Storage Division).
  • Businesses will focus on data management/Big Data services: Big Data is one of the hottest topics in the IT world at the moment… The main focus for 2013 will be in helping businesses to manage their data from an infrastructure point of view and in extracting valuable insights from it (Leonard Iventosch, Vice President Channels, Americas, EMC).
  • As IT transformation and delivery of IT as a Service continue to progress in the upcoming year, backup will become more acceleration of IT transformation and enablement of IT as a Service delivery (Stephen Manley, CTO, EMC Backup Recovery Systems Division).
  • In 2013, these trends will continue to accelerate: the creation and consolidation of large unstructured information (Big Data), the processing, transformation and synthesis of this information (Big Analytics) and the ability for an organization to monetize, innovate and drive business differentiation (Big Leverage), amongst an ever increasing need to be flexible, agile and operationally efficient (Bill Richter, President, EMC Isilon Storage Division).

To read the Reflections Blog its entirety, click on this link. And if you’ve got questions or want to share examples of how IT is transforming your business, let us know.

Need a Boost to Deal with Backup Windows? (Part 2)

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.

By Gene Maxwell, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, EMC Backup & Recovery Systems

In Part 1 of our DD Boost story we talked about the problems of traditional backups and how Data Domain Boost can dramatically speed up your backups.  This time in part 2, we’ll explain how DD BoostTM works and touch on all the advantages that it will provide for your backups.

How does DD Boost work, you ask?  Without DD Boost, all parts of the deduplication process are performed entirely by the Data Domain system.  Although they are completed very fast with 99% of the work done in CPU and RAM (using SISL), they are still all done by the Data Domain system itself.  DD Boost distributes parts of the deduplication process to backup servers or clients. Imagine thousands of clients each doing a small piece of the deduplication effort. Now you can start to grasp the impact of DD Boost.  The amazing reality is that it takes less CPU for each client to perform this deduplication assistance, and move a small amount of data, than it does to send entire full backups over Ethernet.   Distributing the deduplication process efficiently is what gives DD Boost its supersonic speed.    

But wait, there’s more.  (No I’m not selling steak knives!  Please read on.)  The benefits of DD Boost go way beyond the fact that your backups will run much faster. Here is a quick list of DD Boost benefits:
- Supersonic Speed!  (OK, I already mentioned it once, but it’s worth repeating, don’t you think?)  Get your backups done up to twice as fast, fixing your immediate problem & giving you room for growth.
Reduce LAN bandwidth utilization between the backup server and the Data Domain system by up to 99%.  This uses your existing LAN bandwidth more efficiently without choking your backups.
Reduce backup server resources.  Yes, you heard me right.  In busy backup environments, DD Boost’s distributed segment process approach actually requires less backup server CPU than traditional full backups over Ethernet.
- Automatic load balancing & path failover.  What good are multiple data paths if you aren’t using them efficiently?  This feature helps backups run even faster and more reliably.
- End-to-end control & catalog awareness for local & remote copies.  If you want to be in the know, DD Boost provides visibility of both the local backup data, control of replication, and catalog awareness of the backups that have been replicated.
- Gives your DBAs what they really want—control, visibility, and speed.  DD Boost can be installed on your Oracle server and RMAN can backup with DD Boost direct to Data Domain providing up to 50% backup performance improvement while giving DBAs visibility of local backups, control over replication and RMAN catalog awareness of replicated copies.  And Data Domain gives you the ability to set logical capacity quotas on how much Data Domain capacity the DBAs can use.  RMAN backups of Oracle databases direct to Data Domain may also eliminate some expensive Oracle backup licensing costs.

And there you have it.  If you’re having a hard time getting backups done within your backup windows then Data Domain Boost is just what the doctor ordered, and also provides other advantages to improve your backup reliability and overall backup success rate.  Data Domain Boost currently integrates with EMC NetWorker, EMC Avamar, Symantec, Oracle RMAN, EMC Greenplum, and Quest vRanger (and the list is growing).  Learn more about other Data Domain technology leadership on EMC.com: Data Domain SISL Scaling Architecture , Data Domain Data Invulnerability Architecture, and Data Domain Replicator.

Need a Boost to Deal with Backup Windows?

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.

By Gene Maxwell, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, EMC Backup & Recovery Systems

Remember how much you hated story problems when you were in school, especially on tests?  How about the one about the two trains going in opposite directions?   Well, forget that one.  Here’s a real story problem that will make a lot more sense, and you won’t even need your slide rule.

Q.  Your backups currently take 12 hours a day, your data is growing by 30% a year, and you just found out you now have to have all backups done 2 hours faster because of expanding production window requirements.  What is the best way to solve your backup window challenge?

a. Waste a small fortune buying another tape library that will eat up more floor space.
b. Spend tons of money on more of the same, slow, unreliable physical tape drives.
c. Continue doing what you’re doing, after all it’s not your fault (think they’ll buy it?).
d. Dramatically speed up your backups with Data Domain SISLTM and Data Domain BoostTM (DD Boost)!

Of course, the best answer is D.  Your Mama didn’t raise no fool!  Now, here’s a brief explanation and all the reasons why D (for Data Domain) is the best answer to solve your backup window challenges.

Traditional backups are SLOW.  Duh!  Backups over Ethernet with CIFS or NFS are not very efficient partly because these protocols have a lot of unnecessary overhead and partly because limited LAN bandwidth can choke backups especially during full backup times.   Backups over fibre channel (FC) can be faster but the infrastructure is expensive and FC port speeds and path limitations can limit overall throughput.   Now add overworked backup servers and slow, unreliable physical tape devices, and you have even slower backups and expanding backup windows.  Surely there must be a better way.

Backups with Data Domain SISL & DD Boost are Supersonic FAST. Data Domain Stream-informed Segment Layout (SISL) technology includes fast and efficient inline variable length deduplication with 99% of the work done in CPU and RAM, which means backup throughput is not limited by slow disk drives like most of our competition.  Data Domain Boost technology eliminates the inefficiency of CIFS and NFS and distributes parts of the deduplication process, resulting in an extremely fast and ultra-efficient backup over inexpensive Ethernet, typically 50% faster!  But speed is only one of the many advantages you’ll experience with DD Boost.

To learn more about how DD Boost works and the many other advantages it provides for your backups, tune in next time for Part 2 of our DD Boost story.  To be continued……

Some Myths About Archiving and eDiscovery

EMC Backup
EMCBackup is made up of a team of highly experienced EMC Backup Recovery Systems’ product and technical marketing managers. With decades of product and market experience among them, the team brings a rich and diverse skill set to the EMC backup and recovery portfolio and to the market. The team is responsible for the messaging and positioning of EMC’s Avamar, Data Domain, NetWorker, and Data Protection Advisor.

Guest Post by James D. Shook, Esq., eDiscovery and Compliance Practice Director, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

Organizations attempting to create and implement sound information governance programs have learned that a successful program requires skills and participation from different teams.  Unfortunately, two of the key teams – legal and IT – often clash and are misunderstood by the others.  With the hope of developing stronger information governance programs, here are two common issues created by the IT v. Legal gap.

1. Backups are not Archives

Many organizations are required by law or regulation to save certain types of information for a long period – most commonly in the range of two to five years.  Years ago, most of this information was mostly in paper, and shipping boxes offsite for long-term storage largely took care of the requirement.

But in the electronic world, a backup is not a functional archive, and using a backup in this manner can create significant costs and risks.  While the targeted data may be technically preserved, it’s extremely difficult and expensive to actually locate if a regulator actually asks for the information.  Grouping all of this information into large backup “buckets” also requires that short-term data (one or two years) is kept for the longest retention period (often 7 years or more), since it cannot be separated.  And keeping all of this data may create enormous cost and risk in an eDiscovery process.

For a better process:

  •  Treat your backup and archives as different repositories, for different uses.  If possible, backup media should be retained for a short period – think operations, not archive – and quickly reused.
  • Implement an email archive  and consider file system and Sharepoint archives to ensure that policies are being followed and data is being retained for appropriate periods.  If you also have detailed records management (RM) requirements, consider an RM solution for key records.

2. Confusion Over Aspirational Policies versus Operational Reality

Many companies have published retention and email policies that are not (and perhaps cannot) be followed in the real world.  The most common example is with the retention of email.  Let’s say that an organization has a policy stating that email is only retained for 90 days.  Legal includes this stance in corporate policies and relies upon it for eDiscovery.  IT may have “implemented” the policy by removing email older than 90 days from the email server.  Is this enough?

Everyone in IT knows that email can be stored on the email server; in an archive; or in a PST / NSF that can be located on a desktop, laptop, fileshare, DVD, etc.  In companies that permit users to move email from the server to PSTs and NSFs, this policy is meaningless – and Legal’s unknowing reliance upon the policy, when years of email can be maintained locally by users – is potentially sanctionable.

For a better process:

  • IT must carefully communicate to Legal how email is stored and retained within the organization.  PSTs may be an operational necessity if an archive is not in place, but IT needs to explain the implications of this position to the Legal department.
  •  PST / NSF caches should be eliminated in almost any organization.  While there have always been operational benefits, for almost any organization they are now significantly outweighed by legal, compliance, privacy and security concerns.

Even the best-meaning IT and Legal departments can create issues for each other in compliance and eDiscovery if they fail to properly communicate their requirements and strategies.  Putting these two groups together – along with representatives from the business and other key areas such as records management and compliance – will not only lessen risk but also save money.

The Message Is What Matters

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).

“More people choose EMC Backup.” Our Barcelona airport signs may not be as dramatic as Gaudi’s El Drac at the entrance to Park Guell, but world-renowned mosaic artists are so hard to find these days. I’ve never understood marketers’ glee about advertising at the airport during other companies’ conferences (e.g. Symantec Vision Barcelona 2012), but the marketing team seems equally confused about my obsession with dressing like a hobo. Regardless of the method or how you dress it up, the message is what matters.

EMC’s backup leadership gives us the opportunity to transform data protection. Among the advantages of leading: significant R&D investment, the richest technology assets in the market, and the structural advantages to leverage those assets. I tell our team that if we don’t succeed, we have only ourselves to blame. Our expanding leadership gives us confidence that we’re on the right track.

How did EMC become the biggest backup vendor in the world?

Deduplication and disk. Backup solutions comprise two components: management software and media. When the media shifted from tape to deduplicated disk, EMC took 60%+ leadership in the $2B+ backup appliance market. The increasing value of integration between backup software and backup appliances has driven growth EMCs backup software business, has. To sum up, we have the lion’s share of the fastest growing segment of the backup market (Backup Appliances) and our focus on customers adopting disk-centric backup architectures is driving backup software growth, as well.

Why should EMC’s market leadership matter to you?

As a customer, I try not to let a product’s sales ranking drive my decision. When the Ford Taurus was the best-selling car in America from 1992 – 1996, I bought a Saturn (I loved their no haggle selling; I’ve always wanted to see an enterprise technology company try that). Of course, market leadership does matter. You know the product will work because most of your peers are successfully using it. You know the product has a future (have you tried to buy a Saturn lately?). Most importantly, a rapidly growing market leader can invest in the future. I am confident that, due to our size and growth rate, EMC spends significantly more on backup research and development than any other company. Of course, we all know that widely used products do fail, large companies go out of business, and companies don’t always spend their money wisely. But, when you pick a rapidly growing market leader, the odds are on your side.

What is EMC’s focus in backup?

With our R&D investment, we’re focused on innovation through integration. For a variety of dysfunctional reasons, IT companies obsess over minor individual features at the expense of simplicity and reliability. EMC already has the necessary technology for transforming data protection. Data Domain is the biggest, fastest, most reliable, deduplication backup appliance. Avamar is the most efficient VMware, NDMP, file server, and remote office backup. NetWorker is the most scalable backup software platform with the best application support. Data Domain BOOST is the best host-based deduplication library. Therefore, we wake up every day building a solution that combines our best of breed technologies. Among the steps: Data Domain as the Avamar target for VM and application backups, and DD BOOST integrated NetWorker agents. More is coming.

The future of backup depends on more than a unified backup product; it requires a deep connection with hypervisors, applications, and primary storage. Applying their intelligence (e.g. VMware CBT, Oracle Incremental Merge, or storage clones/snapshots) is the best way to scale performance. Integrating with their UIs is the best way to make users comfortable with the backup environment. Therefore, it’s critical that EMC leverage its structural advantages: our unique relationship with VMware, our continued relationship with Oracle, Teradata, and other application vendors, and our ability to connect with industry-leading primary storage platforms. Integration efforts include: building VMware Vsphere Data Protection with Avamar, DD BOOST for Oracle RMAN, and Avamar NDMP accelerator for Celerra/VNX.  Even more is coming.

What’s Next?

I can’t share roadmap information in a blog post. But, if you have been reading this blog, watching our video presentations, and observing our product releases, you will see a commitment to our strategy of innovation through integration. The factors that drive the backup market haven’t changed in a decade. The answer remains simple – high-performance, reliable disk-based protection that gives users the confidence to accelerate their business. All signs point in one direction: translate our market leadership, R&D investment, technology advantage, and unique connections into a solution that enables customers to access their data whenever and wherever they need it. We’re #1 in the market for two reasons:

1)       Our customers know we are helping them to succeed today.

2)      Our customers believe that will help them succeed tomorrow.

What you’ve seen in the past couple of years? That’s just a sign of more dramatic things to come. Watch out, El Drac – our backup mosaic is just begun.