The Box of Cables

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.

Box of Cables

It happened while searching for the power cable to charge the little camera – the one that is alright to get muddy and wet.  Oops, wrong cable – that’s the one for the full frame DSLR that is best for family and fast action photos. Soon I had discovered a treasure trove of cables, adapters, splitters and other colorful gizmos that time forgot. If that can happen at a single house, just imagine what treasures are amassed across offices worldwide!

Over time, enterprise IT departments accumulate a wide range of data, hardware, software, user manuals and yes – cables. When it comes to data, industry analysts confirm that the amount of unstructured data is significant and it is growing much faster than other data types. Just think of all the documents, presentations, and photos that you create and share every week…. and that’s the tip of the iceberg. In many cases, unstructured file data is stored on NAS systems that users access via the network. So how can organizations best protect their treasure of unstructured data? Let’s take a look….

At the end of the day, backup administrators like to feel confident that data can be quickly recovered when needed. For that to happen, backup jobs must complete within the allocated backup window and recovery must be easy and efficient. EMC Backup, Recovery, and Archive Solutions provide companies with solutions that are fast, efficient, and scalable across the entire enterprise. For example, by deploying the EMC Avamar for NAS backup and recovery solution administrators can implement the industry leading Avamar NDMP Accelerator for fast, daily full backups via existing IP network links. And single step recovery eliminates the hassle of restoring the last good full backup along with subsequent incrementals to reach the desired recovery point.

EMC also has solutions for larger NAS environments, including large scale EMC Isilon deployments. For example, EMC NetWorker can also be utilized for backup and recovery depending upon your recovery point and recovery time objectives. And for enhanced backup performance and scalability, Avamar and NetWorker can integrate with EMC Data Domain systems. Backup data can also be replicated offsite daily via existing IP networks for disaster recovery – eliminating the hassle, cost, and risk associated with shipping tapes.

So if you are looking for the best way to protect unstructured data on EMC VNX, Isilon or even NetApp NAS systems, you need to take a look at EMC. With the peace of mind that comes from knowing your data can be quickly recovered when needed, you can get back to discovering the next treasure trove of goodies.

Fifth Day of Blogmas: What’s New in Our Family

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).

2013 Launch

With 2013 now squarely in the rear-view mirror, we can take a step back and look at what we’ve accomplished from a product launch perspective this year. That’s why the fifth day of Blogmas is dedicated to recapping this year’s launch highlights for EMC Avamar, EMC NetWorker, and EMC Data Domain systems – including the most popular blogs for each, chosen by you!

Reacquaint yourself with the EMC Data Protection Suite to simplify the purchase, implementation, and use of EMC backup and archive software while lowering costs and protecting investments.

Then, read about our TOP 8 launch features for Avamar 7 here, and about the breadth of new capability in NetWorker 8.1 here as examples of how you can leverage the Data Protection Suite software.

And, we certainly can’t forget to pay homage to our Protection Storage Architecture – rediscover why Data Domain systems  are bigger, better, faster and stronger  in this blog post.

Themes of #the12daysofblogmas, 2013.

Themes of #the12daysofblogmas, 2013.

Fourth Day of Blogmas: Purdue Pharma and EMC Backup Transform IT

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).

Third Day of Blogmas: The Right Architecture Is Priceless

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).

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.”

Themes of #the12daysofblogmas, 2013.

Themes of #the12daysofblogmas, 2013.

 

Second Day of Blogmas: Will Your Decisions Stand the Test of Time?

Guy Churchward

Guy Churchward

President, Data Protection and Availability Division
I'm an enterprise infrastructure hack. Really, if you think of my career as a building, I’ve spent it underneath in the sewer lines and the electric plumbing, making sure things work. Invariably, my businesses end up being called boring. But that’s okay. It means they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do, which means their customers can do what they need to do. I come to EMC by way of BEA Systems, NetApp and most recently LogLogic, and my mission is to lead EMC Data Protection and Availability Division's efforts to deliver a protection storage architecture that leaves us all in better shape for the next guy, or gig, that comes along. Oh, and make no mistake about it, I want everyone to know who’s number one in backup, and why.

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Being crammed into a metal tube more than 30,000 feet in the air seems to release the mind to wander aimlessly through the archives of fragmented memories, half facts and interesting tidbits you’ve picked up along your journey.

Perhaps it’s a sleep deprivation thing. Perhaps it’s the first sign of madness. Whatever the cause, I’ve come to understand that these thoughts are subconscious beacons, rather like an inner voice laying breadcrumbs to an “aha” moment.

My latest pondering has been centered on the fragility of time: How many of the things we witness or decisions we make have life well beyond the window in time in which they occur. A comet, the twinkle of a fading star, a serendipitous encounter, the “luck” in being in the right place at the time.

Even our careers are seldom planned; we think hard, work hard and aim well, but how much of our journey has really been about the action of “carpe diem”? At a specific historical moment, we remember making a decision and living with the consequences. For me, things like signing up to move to the U.S., making a bet on Mr. Manley as a classy CTO and less successful decisions like that black run I decided to attempt on my ATV, come to mind.

So, where do these breadcrumbs lead?

To the question of how to recognize the difference between fad and trend. Fads tempt your impulse gene but likely have no sustain. A trend may feel the same, but the journey takes a very different path and has very different consequences.

A decision in “data protection” should never be taken lightly; whatever we sign up to has ramifications far beyond our sphere of accountability or involvement. I’m guessing for backup architecture, decisions come around maybe once every 5-10 years.

Careers and life are more transient than we’d like to admit. Likely speaking, in a couple years’ time you’ll have moved onto some new project and so, too, will the sales teams that assisted you in the decision-making process; the only constant will be the solution you invested in for your company.

So, what do you want your legacy to be? How do you mitigate risk and yet deliver results that will be celebrated as your legacy?

Choose wisely, correlate the facts, seek sage advise and, importantly, bet on technologies you’re confident will stand the test of time. And, above all, make sure you surround yourself with vendors that do the same. Fads won’t be there with you at the finish line!

May the force be with you!

Themes of #the12daysofblogmas, 2013.