Sure, You Can Build Your Own House…

David Garcia

David Garcia

I have been marketing high-tech solutions and gizmos for more than 23 years. Along the way, I’ve held a variety of management roles in marketing, sales and consulting, and have amassed a wealth of storage industry experience, particularly in tape, disk, and deduplication solutions. I earned an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business, and am living life in Irvine, California.

By David Garcia, Product Marketing, EMC Avamar

Building a house should be easy! After all, you can buy almost all the supplies at that do-it-yourself mega-market down the street, and they’ll even throw in a free hammer! Of course, there are some easy decisions to make, such as the type of wood, nails, cement, pipes, wires, glass, network…. But, there’s the rub. Purchasing the “stuff” seems easy enough, but making it look and work the way you want it to is the secret sauce.

Large enterprise companies typically have larger IT budgets and resources at their disposal. And as a result, many can afford to buy the latest and greatest technology. As the amount of data continues to grow exponentially, the ability to reliably backup and quickly recover data is more important than ever. It’s ironic that big companies often have the largest IT resources, yet they prefer to purchase things that are already proven

in the market, fast, and reliable. So while they could build their own backup solution – and select their own chassis, backup software, deduplication software or hardware, CPU, memory, storage, and perhaps customize the management interfaces in their “spare time”, they know it just makes more sense to buy a turnkey, integrated solution. And they know that Service and Support are important too, especially when you really need it.

But what about the “little guy”? The companies that don’t have the largest IT budgets or resources, but still need a backup solution that is proven, fast, and reliable. Until recently, they were out of luck. Their limited IT resources did their best to round up the hardware, software, and services needed to make it “kinda work”.  But all too often, the team spent a lot of time fixing it, explaining why the backup failed, and why that critical data could not be recovered. Not good and often career limiting.

As the industry leader in purpose-built backup appliances, EMC has been delivering proven, fast, and reliable backup and recovery solutions to enterprise companies for many years. With the introduction of the EMC Avamar Business Edition, mid-market companies with limited budgets and IT resources can finally experience and enjoy the benefits of a turnkey, backup and recovery solution with integrated data deduplication. It takes the guesswork and complexities out the acquisition, deployment and maintenance of a next-generation solution. And it’s the right capacity, the right price, and delivers the same core Avamar benefits that have been available to larger enterprise organizations for years. So do yourself a favor, and checkout the Solution Overview: EMC Avamar Business Edition. And just think of what you can build in your spare time!

Red or Blue? What Your Vote May Say about Your Environment

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.

Throughout this political season, I’ve been reminded of a blog I wrote about year ago in which I shared the findings of a poll in which social-media website Hunch asked more than 400,000 computers users about their wine preferences. The results were polarizing, not to mention fun to interpret and extrapolate on, with PC users preferring “whites” over “reds” and Mac users vice versa.

Makes me wonder what our vote (i.e., whether we vote Republican, Democrat or other) may say about us above and beyond our positions on key platform issues (which we won’t debate here).

Do people who vote Democratic prefer “whites over “reds,” or vice versa? Do more Republicans use Macs than PCs? And, for those of us in IT roles, what – if anything – does our vote say about the types of technologies we’re likely to use, when we’ll use them and how we’ll use them.

What about our buying behaviors, etc.? If you vote Democratic, are you more or less apt to go tape-less? If you vote Republican are you more or less likely to virtualize? Move to the cloud? Transform IT processes? Etc.

I don’t know the answers, but I do have my theories (which I won’t go into here). Is there any research to support patterns or behaviors one way or the other?

So, I did a quick (and I mean quick) Google search, to see what I could find, and I came across a short article on (and, no, I don’t know this site’s party affiliation, if any).

According to research from the Consumer Electronics Agency (CEA), party affiliation doesn’t affect consumer tech spending or ownership; consumer electronics are a must-have for Republicans and Democrats alike with both parties showing pretty much equal adoption and ownership rates over the past 12 months as well as purchasing expectations for the upcoming holiday season.

But there are also some differences between the two in terms of the types of consumer technologies they’re buying (e.g., smart phones, HDTVs, laptops, etc.) that the article glosses over. Is this worthy of further analysis? I think so. But you vote. If nothing else, it makes for good water-cooler discussions.

NetWorker Backup for SQL Server 2012

Deanna Hoover

Deanna Hoover

I spent most of my career (25+ years) as a systems administrator with responsibilities for storage architecture. But after many years of supporting production environments and becoming burned out by the 7x24 on-call schedule, I made the move into presales and then technical marketing. Life is good. I am able to leverage my customer and sales experience, by helping my team understand the customer’s perspective and challenges. If you have questions, ask them here on or on EMC NetWorker Online Commnity. I'd love to chat! My life away from work consists of playing in the great outdoors - I am an adrenaline junky, triathlete, mountaineer and techno-girl.

By Deanna Hoover, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

In June of 2012 a 26 year old climber went out on a solo climb and took a tragic fall because he chose to carry but not use gear to protect him from falling.

As I read the story I realized that storage and DBAs often times make decisions based on their comfort level and past experience, and neglect to take full advantage of the tools they have at their disposal.  DBAs and Storage Administrators,  like the climber, should always be strategically researching the next best step and safest move  in order to avoid risk. Plus, we should use the tools that are readily available.

As an example, let’s look at how EMC Backup and Recovery solution and Microsoft address the data availability needs for SQL 2012.

Starting with Microsoft:  Microsoft implemented AlwaysOn availability groups (AAG) with SQL 2012 to address the customers need for better High Availability and Disaster recovery. A few advantages offered by AAG over traditional Database Mirroring include:

  • Multi-Database Failovers
  • Multiple Secondaries
  • Active Secondaries
  • Integrated HA Management

For those of you new to SQL 2012 and AAG, I’ll give a brief overview of the AAG configuration.  The minimum configuration of an AAG is two servers, a Primary Replica server and a Secondary Replica.  Up to 4 Secondary Replicas (five total servers) in an AAG can be deployed. Each AAG will also contain at least one database.

One advantage of the Secondary replica is you can run it in “Read-Only” mode. This allows your Secondary to be utilized as the node where backups are performed. This solution will take backup load off of your Primary Replica so that your end users receive the best experience possible at all times.

Implementing AAG does not mean that backups are not required. It does mean that backup and recovery is made easier when you leverage software that takes full advantage of the primary and secondary replicas, such as EMC NetWorker.

How does EMC NetWorker bring value?  One example is EMC NetWorker Module for Microsoft Application (NMM) and the support for AAG.  With NetWorker, you have the option to backup and recover from either the primary and/or  the secondary replica. This provides value by allowing you to choose which server(s) will take on the load of the backup or recovery. More importantly choose to offset your backup workload from those server and database instances tasked with production I/O.

Wizard Configuration of the SQL backup via the NetWorker Management Console makes the management simple.  Plus NMM provides a very easy to use GUI interface to make the database recovery simple and quick.

Within NMM 2.4 EMC has also integrated deduplication with Data Domain Boost.  This means faster backup performance, far less data placed onto the Data Domain backup target, and will reduce the data traversing the network by 80 – 99%.

If you have SQL 2012 today or are looking to upgrade to SQL 2012, I suggest you take a deeper look into how NetWorker can help you be more strategic in planning your implementation.

Where to go for more information:

Listen to the replay of the EMC Live session ‘Solving Enterprise Backup Challenges—What’s New In NetWorker’, and of course, we encourage you to visit and participate with the NetWorker Online Community.

Changing the Game Is a Process

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).

“I’ll walk the halls, chatting with engineers about our strategy. I’ll build a vibrant online backup community with my blog. I’ll review every architectural and design specification. I’ll spend each Friday working ‘a day in the life of an engineer’ across the different teams, to understand our people and their challenges. I’ll visit every engineering site twice a year, and every key sales area once a year.”

That was my plan, when I joined EMC’s Backup Recovery Systems Division. I was stepping into my dream job, with a chance to transform how companies protect their data. It was time to become the CTO I’d dreamed of being. You want to talk about a “game changer”? I was going to change myself, the company, and the world.

When I meet customers, they always want to know where EMC is heading with backup and if we’re really going to solve their problems. I’ve told our story more times than I can count, and I still love telling it because it is “game-changing.” On EMC Backup Game Day just last week, I talked about how we’re building solutions that not only allow backups and restores to happen almost instantly but also how we’re enabling applications to be protected automatically (driven by SLA selection) and how all this ensures the right version of their data at the right time and right location.

In this type of world, backup no longer slows down the business; in fact, it accelerates it. Application owners know they have access to their data, and so they increase the rate at which they adopt and deploy new technology.  IT is able to improve the time it takes to meet business technology needs (they’re able to reduce “time to”) and business move faster. Folks, this is game-changing; this is the new relevancy of backup.

Life is full of innumerable cruelties and disappointments. Few are as devastating as staring at a written list of your unmet personal goals. If you haven’t figured it out, I’ve not been the CTO I dreamed about. When I look at the list of things I wanted to do and haven’t, I’m overwhelmed. The CTO on that paper is such a different person than I am. How can I ever become that CTO?

After I present the game-changing future of backup, the response is usually one of great excitement. Sometimes, though, there is a great heaviness: “That’s so far from where we are. How can we ever get there?” When you spend each day triaging last night’s tape backup failures, scrambling to configure backups for new applications, and frantically finding capacity for business critical restores… instant, automatic, SLA-driven data protection can seem hopelessly distant.

Too often, though, everybody thinks that only the most dramatic step is a “game changer.” For most of our customers, though, each step in the evolution of their backup environment improves their lives.

When customers deploy Data Domain into their legacy backup environment, backups fail less often, restores run more quickly, and they spend less time managing the backup infrastructure. They have time to breathe and plan their next step. That’s a game changer.

When backup teams deploy Avamar or NetWorker with BOOST, they improve backup/recovery performance for VMs, applications, NAS servers, and remote offices. Their users virtualize more quickly, scale applications, and expand operations worldwide. The backup team improves their responsiveness to the business, even becoming proactive. That changes the game.

When the data protection team enables application-direct backups (e.g. RMAN with BOOST) with oversight from Data Protection Adviser, application owners gain confidence in their protection. By adopting a service-provider approach and offering SLA-driven protection services, the backup team enables the business to accelerate. That’s the game change they had been aspiring to accomplish.

Each step is a game changer for data protection. There are choices other than a complete rip and replace of your backup environment. As with any transformation, you’re more likely to succeed if you can adopt change at your own pace. Moreover, when you can see the path that others have taken, you know that can get to where you want to go.

Despair and hope are two sides of the same coin. When I feel overwhelmed by my limitations, I fly out to meet our customers. Hearing about how our technology has changed their lives, one step at a time, reminds me why I joined this team. Then I recommit myself to becoming the leader that I believe is somewhere inside me. After all, I’m just following in the footsteps of the great man who walked before me – my father. 

Backup as a Service: Fire-fighting of the Past, Present, and Future (Part 2 of 2)

Chandra Jacobs
I love creative and challenging projects in the emerging technology product space. I have a background in tech, innovation, and product development, especially as applied to web and mobile apps in the entrepreneurship arena, but have recently moved into marketing. In my role as a product marketer, I have gravitated toward digital marketing as well as analytics/data mining. It fits well with my techie geek bent as well as my cloud angle on The Backup Window. (Be sure to catch my posts on Innovation Station too!) Outside of work at EMC, I enjoy exploring Boston’s culinary and jazz scene (often in combination), and travel as much as I can (35 countries and counting).

By Chandra Jacobs, Senior Marketing Associate, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

After reading part 1 of this blog series, I’m sure you’re all dying to know what does the future of fire-fighting, and thus backup and recovery look like? From a Backup and Recovery perspective, it means consolidated, optimized storage architecture, self-service, policy based backup, and federated control and centralized visibility of all backups. This naturally leads to a cloud-based approach, with service providers at the center of the solution. This approach is BaaS, where there is always a restore/recovery service with an SLA of a few minutes or hours. Imagine the Fire Department of the future, arranged in a BaaS like model. This would mean that the Department has a requirement and contract (SLA) with the public to respond within a certain number of minutes to an emergency. This is different that many cases today when only an “average” response time can be given. Moreover, what if the Fire-Department in a county or locality were all connected together, so that their resources were enmeshed and federated, thereby allowing them to collaborate better to reach the SLA? It would be flexible enough to allow for dedicated resources to respond to certain emergencies, while having pooled resources respond to others, depending on the case. Again this is like BaaS, where you can have a private model, public model, or hybrid model, depending on SLA an needs of the customer.

It took upward of two hours until the emergency was handled (it apparently was a small fire in the trash chute on the 7th floor) and I could return to my apartment. Even so, I had to hand it to the fire-fighters, who did an excellent job responding in less than 10 minutes to secure the fire. But at the same time, I couldn’t help to think how much they seemed to have over-deployed resources, cau

sing us to stand outside for an unnecessarily long period of time. If only there was a scalable right-sizing to allow more efficient resource deployment? Bringing the conversation back to BaaS, right-sizing the necessary resources to backup and recovery is a specialty of EMC Service Providers.

These were the thoughts that were going through my head last weekend, when I was standing out in the cold, wet, dark of night, waiting for the emergency to subside. The problem eventually was solved, the fire was put out. But it wasn’t very efficient. But it could be.

Let EMC and our partners help transition your Backup and Recovery to a right-sized BaaS cloud-based solution so that, you too, can fight fires more effectively and efficiently.  If you’re a service provider, and want to learn more about our BaaS solutions, or partnering with EMC, take a look at our partner page.