IT Pay Rises As Roles Shift from Back Office to Boardroom

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.

pay-raise

Up, up and away…IT salary and compensation plans are up 5% year-over-year, and are slated to rise another 5% this year, according to TechTarget’s 2013 IT Salary and Careers Survey, released in  December.

Yes, yet more proof that as IT’s center of gravity shifts from the back office to the board room, its value to the business also changes. IT professionals are seen less as cost centers and more as business drivers, and as this happens, IT compensation trends upward.

Fewer companies are “pegging compensation strictly to job position,” writes Linda Lucci, executive editor for SearchCIO. Instead, they are being determined by more traditional business metrics (e.g., economics, industry, culture and ‘financial affordability’ factors), she explains.

In other words, salaries are being tied to business outcomes. This bodes well for IT professionals who get it (i.e., those who understand that their role is strategic first; tactical, second); not so much for those who don’t.

EMH Healthcare‘s IT organization gets it. Walgreen’s CFO gets it. What about you? How do you measure success?

Are you like 18% of TechTarget survey respondents who say they measure success by achieving ROI on projects and technology purchases or are you like the 47% who base success on their ability to help achieve a business goal or outcome?

And what about your company? What business value does it expect from IT/technology projects this year? Is it focused downstream on employee productivity, customer service delivery, etc., or is it focused upstream on product and service creation or delivery?

Do you get it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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…

DD Boost; Turbo-Charged Backup & Recovery

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.

Guest Post by Chuck Dufresne, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems

In the automotive industry, the word, “boost” is “a loose term for turbo or supercharger.” It describes positive manifold pressure in automobile engines that increases horsepower and performance. If you have ever driven a car with a turbo you can attest to the dramatic acceleration experienced when the turbo kicks in.

There are times when we all would like a boost and experience the exhilaration of accelerating past our limitations and increasing our performance. With the explosion of data that needs to be managed and protected, storage and backup administrators are looking for an extra edge that will help them accelerate their backup workloads so that they can satisfy their SLAs despite shrinking backup windows. EMC Data Domain Boost software provides the special sauce needed to accelerate your backups and turbo-charge your recovery point and recovery time objectives without disrupting your existing backup infrastructure.

With the recent announcement of DD Boost for Oracle Recovery Manager EMC expanded the growing collection of DD Boost enabled backup solutions with DBA controlled, accelerated Oracle backup, recovery and disaster recovery.

In a nut shell, DD Boost extends the optimization capabilities of Data Domain systems and significantly increases backup performance by distributing parts of the deduplication process to the backup server or application client so that only unique data segments are sent to the Data Domain system. Since it takes fewer server resources to perform distributed deduplication  than it does to push all backup data across the network, DD Boost saves valuable resources on the backup or application server and precious network bandwidth. DD Boost also simplifies disaster recovery by integrating with Data Domain Replicator software to automatically and transparently copy only unique and compressed data across existing network links to the remote system, for faster, “time-to-DR” readiness.

In addition to performance, DD Boost increases the reliability of the backup to ensure recovery through the Data Domain Data Invulnerability Architecture by generating checksums on the data before it is sent to the Data Domain system. As the Data Domain system ingests the data, it computes a new checksum and compares it to the values from DD Boost to ensure end-to-end verification of the data. The checksums are stored alongside the unique data that lands on disk for continuous online verification, continuous fault detection and healing and other resiliency features (see blog from March 14th for more information).

You would think this would be enough, but there is more… DD Boost also improves reliability and performance with advanced load balancing and link failover. Multiple 1GbE or 10GbE links can be aggregated from a backup or application server to the Data Domain system so that backup and restore jobs are automatically distributed and balanced on multiple ports on the Data Domain system. Should an interface fail, in-flight jobs on failed ports are automatically and transparently moved to healthy network links.

EMC Data Domain Boost is available for the majority of the backup software market – EMC Avamar, EMC NetWorker, and Symantec NetBackup and Backup Exec – and leading database utilities – Oracle RMAN and EMC Greenplum.

Give yourself and your backups a boost up with EMC Data Domain Boost turbo-charged backups!

For more information on EMC Data Domain Boost visit this web page.

Does Your Over-Confidence Put You or Others at Risk?

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

Summer has arrived!   Most of my weekends are spent participating in activities filled with adrenaline and a little touch of risk.

This weekend we were rock climbing in an area that is very popular and filled with experienced climbers.  While waiting for a route we were observing climbers in other groups.

One thing that I found shocking was the unnecessary risks the experienced climbers chose to take.  We watched a guy take a fall of 25 feet.  His confidence and experienced allowed him to make the decision to limit the protection he placed in the rock. During his fall he smacked his head on the rock (luckily he was wearing a helmet) and only suffered from a few scrapes and bruises.   In the end he managed to walk away from the fall.

After speaking with other climbers in his group we learned the climber had completed the route successfully multiple times in the past and on this day was over confident and took safety for granted.

How does the climbing story and over confidence play into the life of a backup administrator?  Well, let’s talk about this for a minute.

How many times have you completed the same task over and over again, taking the steps for granted, being confident in the outcome and not rethinking your plan? For example: How many times have you checked the backup console, found the backups and the DR copies were successful, and later found you could not recover data from tape?  Did your confidence and past experience allow you to move through the familiar steps with confidence, only to realize later that you should have spent more time with validation?

Like the climber I met last week, backup administrators have the option to lessen the chances of “taking a fall.” For example, we can always reduce our risk of data loss by being more diligent about checking the status of our DR tapes (to avoid the over confident factor). We could randomly re-load backup tapes and verify their validity.  How feasible is this really? We all know that validating backups will take a back seat to the day-to-day fire-drills that we all encounter; and even if they are verified, a tape could still fail on the next read pass.

So for those of you who are experienced and confident backup administrators – Let me ask you, are you sure that your experience and over confidence is not placing a risk on your ability to recover data?

I was recently on a call with a customer talking about this exact scenario. Management had full confidence in the backup administrators, and the backup administrators had full confidence in their backup software and hardware.  There was little to no validation of their backups.  This lack of attention to detail and an unreliable tape-based infrastructure resulted in the inability to restore important data. The root cause was that the disaster recovery tapes could not be read.

Customer’s before scenario:

  • Backups were not completing within the available backup window.
    • Full backups for remote offices ran for 3 days.
  • The backup software was linited in its ability to validate the status of the backup and the cloning process.
  • They had no reporting capabilities.
  • The backup  target was tape for both primary and secondary (DR).
  • Tapes were sent off-site manually to a vaulting location.
    • There was no internal tracking of the off-site tapes.
    • Backup tapes were rarely sent off-site, even though the company policy was to have then sent off-site nightly.
  • Restores were slow and unreliable.

 Customer’s Next Generation Backup (implemented today):

  • EMC NetWorker provided centralized management and reporting of backup, cloning and recovery.
  • Data Domain is the backup target complete with replication managed to a remote Data Domain through NetWorker.
    •  The customer is running with a tape-less backup environment.
    • Clone Controlled Replication makes it very easy and quick to test recovery of the data from the remote Data Domain appliance.
  • The three day backups were noe completing in a few hours.
    • High data Deduplication rates of 40X.
  • DR data is automatically replicated and easily monitored within the NetWorker Management.
    • Data replication efficiency – increased by 100%
  • Restore rates are now down to seconds and extremely reliable.

To find out more on how you can legitimately feel confident that your backup environment is meeting your business needs check out the links on EMC NetWorker and Data Domain

Reach out to the EMC NetWorker Community and collaborate with your colleges: www.emc.com/networkeronline  

To see a complete list of NetWorker modules: http://www.emc.com/backup-and-recovery/networker/networker.htm

A full list of the EMC backup and recovery portfolio: http://www.emc.com/backup-and-recovery

Plan on attending the backup and recovery sessions at EMC World: http://www.emcworld.com/