A Car Without a Seatbelt

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.

Imagine you’re driving down the highway rocking out to Kelly Clarkson (don’t worry, I won’t tell) and all of a sudden the person in front of you hits their brakes and you quickly slam yours to try not to hit them.  Your heart is now racing, but unfortunately you weren’t able to brake fast enough and you end up getting into an accident.  Fortunately for you, you have a seatbelt on, so you didn’t lose anything more than your bumper.   The key point here is that you were protected because you bought a car with a seatbelt – but who wouldn’t?

Certainly your life is precious and needs to be protected, but isn’t your company’s data as well?  So just like you wouldn’t buy a car without a seatbelt, why would you buy protection storage without data integrity checking?  When something goes wrong with your primary data like a corrupted database (the equivalent of an accident on a highway), you want to ensure your data can be quickly and reliably recovered, right?

Unfortunately, since the standard backup and archive storage medium for decades was tape, your standards may be significantly lower than necessary.   The good news is they don’t have to be – protection storage should be built as the storage of last resort and put the integrity of your data above all else.  The bad news is that not all disk systems are created equal – just because its disk doesn’t mean it’s better than tape.  For example, standard NAS systems were built for primary storage – not for protection and do not ensure recovery.

So how can you tell your backup and archive storage is built for protection?  Ask how the storage platform verifies the integrity of data as it’s written to disk.  Ask how it will continuously ensure data stays correct and how it corrects errors before they become a problem.  Finally, ask how the system will ensure data that’s recovered is identical to the data that was originally stored.  To save you some time, we’ve done some of the homework for you. Check out this paper and video that explore how Data Domain systems meet these requirements with the Data Domain Data Invulnerability Architecture.

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……

Backup and Archive are BFFs – Don’t Keep Them Apart!

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.

By Caitlin Gordon, Senior Product Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

One of my first assignments at EMC was to learn and deliver the Centera customer presentation – an overview of the company’s most successful archiving platform to date.  At the time, as a new employee, I had no perspective on why it was important and certainly had no idea that the topic would be even more relevant 7 years later!

Check out this vintage slide (Note: yes, that’s my maiden name)

Today, working in the Backup Recovery Systems division at EMC, I find myself discussing archiving with customers again.  That’s for one simple reason – you’re not satisfied with your current archive solution or you don’t have one at all.  One of the main reasons is that, to date, backup and archive have been treated like acquaintances – they know each other and say “hi” in the hall, but have their own friends and keep to themselves.  However, in reality, backup and archiving are actually BFFs (“best friends forever” for those of you who don’t have teenage daughters) and they should be treated that way.  Backup and archiving are meant to be together, so don’t keep them apart!

All metaphors aside, the reality is that traditionally you’ve had little choice but to keep backup and archive data in separate silos storage.  Although this enables you to meet requirements for both workloads, it requires a lot of overhead – something no one can afford.  However, that’s all changed with Data Domain systems, which enable you to store backup data alongside both governance, as well as compliance, archive data on the same system! That means you eliminate silos of storage and reduce overhead significantly with 10 to 30x reduction in backup and archive storage requirements.  To learn more about this, check out this whiteboard video and webcast.

Furthermore, consolidating backup and archive onto a single platform is just one consideration in deploying an effective archiving solution.  There are, in fact,  7 key strategies:

  1. Clearly Define The Roles Of Backup And Archiving
  2. Adopt A Disk-Based Archive
  3. Converge Backup And Archive Storage
  4. Use Storage and Application Intelligence to Classify Information
  5. Adopt Value-Based Retention
  6. Enable Enterprise-wide Defensible Deletion
  7. Plan for Today and the Future

To learn more about these best practices for effective archiving, check out this recent analyst report.

When I first discussed this topic with customers, backup was a completely separate conversation.  One thing that’s clear to me now is that archiving and backup go hand-in-hand and must be considered together. Although most everyone has a backup strategy in place (thousands using Data Domain), many haven’t implemented robust archive strategies to complement backup.  The good news for you is that EMC is a leader in both backup and archive and Data Domain systems enable you to keep these two together – like all BFFs should be…

For the record, Luigi’s gotta be archiving…

The Heat Is….ON!

Sherry Davenport

Sherry Davenport

I started in the IT industry over 30 years ago — it sure doesn’t feel like that long! I worked my way through the ranks starting at the old Digital Equipment Corporation in software sales support, sales training, channel training, product management and, ultimately, marketing. My background includes digital imaging, team productivity software, Alta Vista (remember that?), storage management, storage networking and most recently backup and recovery software. While I love my job, I love cooking and wine appreciation even more.

By Sherry Davenport, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Networker

Well, it’s going on three months since we launched NetWorker 8.0 on that fateful day of July 10, 2012.  While engineering was busy tying the bow on a two-year development effort, Marketing went into high gear (pun intended!!) to demonstrate the excitement we were feeling around this product launch.

Hopefully, you were able to join us online for the interactive launch event.  If not, you can go to the NetWorker Online Community to watch the replay and read the Q&A transcripts.  Or, if you can’t carve time out of your busy day to do that (it’s about 45 min. long J), please enjoy some of the separate videos that we broke out for quick viewing and hardcopy assets posted.  While you are in the Community, if you join the conversation and tell everyone what excites you the most about the new NetWorker, you will be rewarded with a memento of the launch event!

If it’s not obvious by now, I want to keep the heat up about NetWorker.  NetWorker has had a great history (view the NetWorker Retrospective video!) with over 23,000 customers to date and this new version breathes another decade-plus into its underlying architecture so that it may continue to grow with you.

Let me help you get some creative juices flowing and remind you of the most important things we want you to remember about NetWorker 8.0.  There were four major pillars to the announcement:

  1. NetWorker 8.0 Helps #ACCLR8 Your Backup Transformation With Greater Performance And Scale—NetWorker underwent an overhaul of the architecture which will help you meet your requirements for scale for the decade to come (…And how fast are they saying data is growing??  Can you say exabyte?).  The upgrade is simple and well-documented.  The enhancements were mainly focused around performance for backup to disk workflows, including a feature called Client Direct.  Client Direct increases the speed of your backup by removing the hop to the Storage Node, thus sending your backup data directly to your storage target.
  2. Deeper Integration With EMC Data Domain—More customers are recognizing the value of adding NetWorker for unified management for Data Domain systems.  NetWorker now delivers Data Domain Boost with the NetWorker client and, by doing so, protects all data (file systems, data bases, and enterprise applications) supported with NetWorker.  Data Domain Boost can be used with Client Direct as well, enabling you to turbo-charge your backup even further with deduplication, speeding it up by 50% or more.  NetWorker and Data Domain are like peanut butter and jelly or wine and cheese—a solution with value greater than the sum of its parts.
  3. Expanded Enterprise Application Support—Lots here!  Suffice to say that the overall intent is to ensure your life is easier.  Not a small challenge given the “Backup Beast!”  We added support for SQL Server 2012 including support for DD Boost.  NetWorker 8.0 also supports SQL AlwaysOn Availability Groups with backup from either the primary or any secondary server in the Group.  We added wizards, Granular Level Recovery, and more.  Take a look at the ‘What’s New’ deck in the NetWorker Online Community to learn more.
  4. Enhanced Management and Security—We added some cool features here, including multi-tenancy management which enables isolation of tenant data to help facilitate a private or hybrid cloud.  Integration with LDAP v3 and Active Directory ensures users can be added quickly and easily with the right level of permissions mapped to a role within NetWorker.  Again, lots here and I hope I’ve whetted your appetite enough to take a closer look.  The net/net is enabling you to increase your productivity.

Now is the time to download NetWorker and give it a test drive!  I hope you agree that this release will help you accelerate your backup transformation while laying a foundation that will keep you speeding ahead–easily navigating the road of faster and more reliable backup and recovery–for years to come.

Want more information?  Listen to the replay of the EMC Live session ‘Solving Enterprise Backup Challenges—What’s New In NetWorker’ or read the IDC White Paper ‘The Reality of Data Protection and Recovery and Accelerating Transformation.’