Ninth Day of Blogmas: Because the CIO Said So

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.

95955598

Times they are a changing, and so are CIOs.

But for the past several years, the focus of most IT organizations across the globe has really been on one thing and one thing only: reducing IT costs. Blame it on the economy, the IT adoption curve or just (bad) habit, but we, as an industry and as consumers of IT, have prioritized short-term cost-savings often at the expense of longer-term business value, and we’ve prioritized instant gratification over strategy and innovation.

And this isn’t good.

However, a recent IDG survey highlights a very different trend taking shape globally ―one that we’ve been talking about here on The Backup Window since last year’s EMC World, or before.

Of the more than 1,500 CIOs and other IT leaders in the U.S. that IDG surveyed for the study, 49% ranked improving IT productivity as their number-one  goal for 2013, followed by better, faster, decision-making; improving service levels; protecting corporate data and increasing agility.

Do I hear cloud?

As for lowering costs – the historical front-runner – it ranked eighth in the survey. Yes, it’s still on the list, and so it should be, but it’s no longer the driving factor, or force, behind many of the decisons CIOs are making and the things IT organizations are doing.

This is huge. Why?

Well, as we’ve discussed on The Backup Window as well as on Backup Game Day I and II, companies with IT organizations that see themselves as change agents (or “brokers of value,” as IDG puts it) have a definite business advantage over companies with IT organizations that see themselves only as task-doers. They think and manage IT resources from a business viewpoint; they think smarter, not just faster.

For these CIOs and organizations, “time to” is a measure of IT efficiency (or productivity). It’s the time it takes to spin up a new business application, analyze a complex data set or expand business operations or customer base, and this has real business value. Stephen Manley explains why in this short video – part II of his three-part Accelerating Transformation series.

Check it out and then let us know what you think. How’s your CIO doing?

Themes of #the12daysofblogmas, 2013

Themes of #the12daysofblogmas, 2013

Eighth Day of Blogmas: Boost Oracle with EMC Data Protection

Caitlin Gordon

Caitlin Gordon

Data Domain Product Marketing, Data Protection and Availability Division
I have spent the past eight years focused on all things data protection, with a focus on backup and archive. Lucky for me, Data Domain Systems give me lots of good topics to discuss here. When I’m not blogging, I’m equal parts gadget geek and sports freak – always ready to chat about the latest IT rumor or celebrate/lament the latest Boston sports heartbreak/victory. You can also find me talking backup on Twitter and YouTube.

As a follow up to my blog last week,  EMC Data Protection has taken Oracle OpenWorld by storm.  If you run Oracle databases to support your most mission-critical apps, how difficult is it to backup up your databases in limited backup windows? Check this out to help you understand how EMC data protection solutions provide complete Oracle backup and DR enabling you to ensure Oracle backup doesn’t become a bottleneck to your IT transformation.

EMC-Oracle-Infographic

Seventh Day of Blogmas: Cloud Driving the Economy

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).

From tech startups (like mine) to Fortune 200 tech companies (like mine) alike, cloud has been a global engine of growth as well as as an enabler of rapid innovation. And even through the recent recession, cloud adoption has continued to skyrocket leading to an entire economy being built around it (PaaS, SaaS, ITaaS, BaaS, XaaS…).

Did you know that cloud will generate 14 million jobs worldwide by 2013? Or that IT innovation through cloud computing  leads to $1.2 billion per year in new revenue? These were some of the recent findings that came out of an International Data Corporation study commissioned by Microsoft. And, in the next decade it is predicted that cloud will be a $240 billion industry.

This is more than many countries’ GDP!

So, are you on the fast track with cloud?

It can be argued that much of the uptick in cloud adoption has been, in part, due to the recent economic downturn. With IT budgets down or flat, it has just been more practical to turn those capital expenditures into operational expenditures through cloud. The flexibility that cloud provides is also a key benefit in times of economic uncertainty. Not sure your company can predict accurately its IT needs in the next year? Cloud is a great answer since you can downsize or upsize as needed according to your business demand. In support of this, last year Bloomberg released a survey of business decision-makers around cloud technology listing the top four main  benefits of cloud-based services as: efficiency, cost savings, scalability, and variety of features. you can have access to these and more through an optimized cloud strategy implementation.

What’s more, cloud is a great leveler for innovation. While the internet can be thought of as the first wave of leveling, cloud technology is definitely the second. It effectively allows startups and small businesses with limited resources to have access to a global playground of as-a-service technologies at a reasonable cost, without having to develop it in-house. In many cases, cloud enables startups to compete with well established companies by providing agility to match rapid product development without legacy IT infrastructure weighing them down. For my own tech startup, I’m actually dynamically provisioning the cloud services I need when I need them, and only paying for what I use. This helps me keep costs down and efficiency up, while giving me room to scale as I grow. Without cloud this would not be possible.

A lot of times it’s just overcoming a mindset (“we’ve always done it this way in the past and it’s always worked”), and other times it’s fear of the unknown or simply a lack of understanding that cloud has come a long away to address concerns around compliance, regulatory, security, and control issues. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of education to overcome objections of the past on the journey to the cloud.You may also be wondering which industries are the most mature in terms of cloud computing adoption. The usual suspects of banking, insurance, education, media,  and government (mostly private cloud) top the list. Lagging behind are manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and energy/utilities. Doing this gap analysis reveals that there is an opportunity space emerging in these underdeveloped industries for which cloud can play a future role, given the right positioning.

……….Wordle Cloud of this Cloud Article……….

These days, cloud not only allows smaller companies to compete in a global marketplace (and larger companies to retain their competitive advantage if they are effectively employing cloud), but it also can be a nimble canoe of differentiation in a sea of Big Data. Big Data analytics allow us to glean insights and generate tailored reports about our customers like never before, getting real-time metrics about demand, buying habits, engagement effectiveness …you name it.  Companies that can respond to rapidly changing market conditions with agility, armed with the insights combed through effective reporting mechanisms, will succeed in tomorrow’s marketplace. And what’s the underlying gateway to this success?

Think Cloud.

Check Out the New Data Domain Support Forum

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.

We are excited to announce the new EMC Data Domain Support Forum! Visit this online discussion space to meet other Data Domain users and ask and answer support-related questions.

The Data Domain Support Forum provides you with the unique ability to:

  • Communicate directly with others running Data Domain systems in their environments
  • Learn from experts in EMC Product Management, Engineering, and Support
  • Develop connections as you share ideas, real-world experiences, and feedback with your global EMC network

We welcome your participation in this new community!

Sixth Day of Blogmas: Is Big Data Too Big to Back Up?

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).

Is the new Boeing Dreamliner too big for safety inspections? Was the Titanic too big to need lifeboats? Are some banks too big to follow basic asset safety rules? Was Gmail too big to lose data?

So, is big data too big to back up? Definitely not.  But that doesn’t mean you can back up Big Data with traditional backup techniques. Big Data’s volume, variety, and velocity (the 3 V’s) force backup teams to transform their approach.

  • Volume – As data capacity increases, traditional backup and recovery windows become unmanageable. This is not a new challenge, but big data accelerates the pain. Full backup and recovery become virtually irrelevant when you approach windows of multiple days. Incremental backups will scale only if you leverage intelligence in the data source; on its own, a backup agent cannot find the new data fast enough. Granular recoveries become challenging either due to the size of the objects to recover, or due to the process of sifting through trillions of objects to locate the object. The answer to the volume challenge is versioned replication. Intelligent data sources drive rapid backups to deduplicated disk. The deduplicated disk synthesizes the incremental changes into full, space-efficient, native format backup copies. If a primary system fails, the customer can instantly run that application directly off the backup copy – no need to wait for a full restore. If the customer needs to recover a large object, he can directly access the backup copy. If the backup team is searching for a specific object in the sea of storage, they can rapidly search through the data to find the information. Versioned replication is the only way to scale to meet Big Data’s volume.
  • Variety – As the types of data increase, so do the applications that create and utilize that data. Therefore, it is increasingly difficult for the backup team to deliver a one-size-fits-all centralized solution for all those applications. Backup tools can’t build application-intelligent agents fast enough to cover all the customers’ use cases. Furthermore, the application owners expect more visibility and control over their backups, so they don’t want to be relegated to a bystander role in the protection of their data. The only way to cope with these changes is for the backup team to offer a variety of services to the application teams, to help them meet protection SLAs. In some cases, the backup team will run the backups. In others they will provide the backup storage, cataloging, and reporting. In still others, they may offer only the cataloging and reporting. In other words, they need to transform their backup environment and behave like service providers to their big data customers.
  • Velocity – Big data users want high-performance access large amounts of data, whenever they need it. Therefore, there is no backup window. Backup must minimize its resource impact on the production environment. This is the heart of versioned replication – minimal load on the data source and network, with no moving parts. Second, recoveries must happen quickly. Again, nothing is faster than leveraging protected data directly off the backup storage. Deduplicated disk may not have the I/O performance of primary disk, but can still provide reduced performance access to your data. Ultimately, there’s nothing faster than instantly accessing your data, instead of waiting hours for recoveries to complete.

In other words, Big Data protection is all about versioned replication to deduplicated disk, with the backup team shifting into a service provider role. Not surprisingly, our most successful customers are following that same transformation for their traditional data!

Whether your backup transformation is being driven by building a private cloud, big data, absorbing multiple acquisitions, or just doing more with less the transformation is the same.

Big data is not too big to back up, if you’re willing to change.