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.

In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Alyson Langon

Alyson Langon

A couple years ago, fresh out of Business School at Boston College, I started at EMC and dove head first into all things backup and archive, focusing on Data Domain systems. I love the challenge of communicating complicated technologies in innovative and engaging ways and there is certainly no shortage of inspiration at EMC’s Data Protection and Availability Division. Outside of the tech world, I am an artist, animal lover and sufferer of wanderlust. You can also find me on Twitter achieving the perfect balance of data protection and cat gifs.

By Alyson Langon, Product Marketer, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, businesses throughout the Northeast, particularly New York and New Jersey, are still struggling to assess the damage and get back to business as usual.  With one of their most valuable assets compromised–their information— hopefully they are prepared with a solid disaster recovery plan.

For years, the standard disaster recovery (DR) plan consisted of shipping backup tapes to an off-site location and hoping to get them back in the event of a disaster.  This taped-based DR strategy was expensive, time consuming and unreliable. Thanks to deduplication technology, you can now backup and replicate information more quickly and efficiently on disk.  However, deduplication alone is not enough for an effective DR solution – you need a solution that focuses on providing reliable recovery as well as efficient replication.

It’s critical you feel confident that your backup solution can effectively recover from the DR site should your primary site go down.  When/if disaster strikes, the last thing you want to worry about is if you’ll be able to recover your data.  Unfortunately, like disasters before it, the damage and loss caused by Hurricane Sandy may be a wakeup call that reliable DR is critical to all businesses.  If you haven’t already, it is time to start asking yourself: “How do I know I will be able to recover?”

The only way to be completely confident that your data is recoverable is to make sure it is stored on a system that prioritizes data integrity and recovery above all else.  Otherwise, your data will be at risk.  The Data Domain Data Invulnerability Architecture will give you that confidence by providing successive lines of defense against all sources of errors and corruption.  It first verifies data as it’s written to the system to ensure it is stored correctly.  Then, the system will continuously detect errors and correct them before they become a problem to ensure data stays correct.  Finally, upon recovery, the system will again verify the integrity of the data, so you can be sure the data you’re recovering is correct (read more about how this works on a recent blog).  This ensures that your backup data is always available for reliable recovery locally or remotely. This is the kind of peace of mind you should have when backing up and replicating your information. Because, as Sandy has shown us, a disaster striking is a real threat.

My thoughts are with everyone affected by Sandy’s devastation.  If you are able, please donate to the Red Cross to aid in relief efforts.

More People Choose EMC Backup – But Why?

Lady Backup

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.

By Guest Blogger, Lady Backup

Barcelona Airport

EMC has an ad campaign running right now in the Barcelona, Spain airport that I wanted to reflect on for a moment.  We’ve run this ad in various places around the world.   It simply says “More People Choose EMC Backup.”
But what does it mean? 

There is the most obvious answer:  people are buying our products.  Partners are selling our products.   This is how EMC own 65.5% of the revenue share in the purpose-built backup appliance market, according to IDC. But from a customer standpoint, in fact they aren’t buying an appliance.  They aren’t buying backup technology. 

What are they choosing?

Confidence. Customers are buying confidence.   They need to know that they can count on their backup technology to work.  They need the confidence that the backup was completed properly and stored securely so that they can recover quickly when something goes wrong.

People choose EMC Backup because we offer the unique capability to ensure the integrity of the backups – as they are processed and for as long as they are stored on disk. This might sound obvious, given that really backup is an insurance policy.  Of course you need to have confidence in it. 

The customer, reality, is quite different.  In Europe, 74% of IT decision makers are not very confident that they can full recover after a disaster, according to a survey EMC sponsored of more than 1,700 respondents.  It’s no surprise that the majority of these organizations have yet to transform their backup. 

So our goal with the More People Choose EMC Backup ad is to let all those backup teams out there living with a “hope for the best mentality” know this: There is a better way. Now is the time to get started with backup transformation. And more people trust EMC. >>LB