EMC Data Protection Suite: What’s New in EMC Avamar 7.1

Last week, as part of our Redefining Data Protection webcast event, we introduced updates across the EMC Data Protection Suite. Lots of great new features to support your organization’s business and IT transformation. Here’s my list of the top 7 new features of EMC Avamar 7.1 as well as a few links to some great demos and whiteboard videos.

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Phil George

Phil George

Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division at EMC
Working with customers and partners (like VMware) to develop leading backup solutions makes every day very interesting; helping them optimize their backup architectures for virtualized environments is what really energizes me. Over the past 25 years, I’ve held senior engineering, marketing and sales roles within the technical software industry. This gives me a good vantage point to recognize technical challenges, see emerging trends and propose new solutions. I hold a BSEE from Cornell University and a Masters in Computer Engineering from Boston University. I currently reside with my wife and two children in Massachusetts.

EMC Data Protection Suite: What’s New in EMC Avamar 7

Data Protection SuiteSo many new features … so little room on this BLOG space.  Instead of posting a one-hundred-page What’s New BLOG, I thought I provide a few highlights along with a number of links to various resources, including some really cool DEMOS and WHITEBOARD VIDEOS by Alex Almeida (@alxjalmeida).

 

So here’s my TOP 7 … based on a very scientific survey ;-)

 

# 1 Avamar now sends file system data and NDMP workloads to Data Domain systems. Now all your data center workloads can be sent to the industry’s leading deduplication storage system, streamlining your enterprise data protection.

Data Domain

# 2 Isilon deduplicated backups through Avamar NDMP acceleration. Avamar 7 provides the most efficient unstructured file system backups for Isilon, VNX, Celerra and NetApp, so you will never miss a backup window.

NAS

# 3 VM Instant Access adds a new recovery capability to Avamar, to complement its industry leading Changed Block Tracking for Restore. Avamar 7 can boot and run a VM image-level backup stored on a Data Domain system in under two minutes. While the VM is running, Avamar uses VMware’s Storage vMotion to move the VM back to the production environment. WATCH THIS DEMO

VM

# 4 Avamar is integrated into vSphere Web Client, so now VMware admins can quickly and easily manage image-level backup and recovery without leaving vSphere. Watch the DEMO

vSphere

# 5 Centralized protection policy management for VMware VMs, through Avamar Dynamic Policies. As new VMs are added to groups, they automatically inherit the backup policy – making sure any new VMs never go unprotected, while adding consistency to VM protection. In this example, VM3 will automatically inherit the backup policy for the Engineering Group.

1Apply Policy =>2Add VM =>          3                                       

# 6 The Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE), the industry’s first virtual backup appliance, has been expanded to 4TB of deduplicated capacity. This diagram illustrates how you can deploy an AVE for meta-data storage, while all backup data is sent to a Data Domain system.

AVE

# 7 Avamar extends its leadership position in backup and recovery for virtual environments by adding support and advanced capabilities for Microsoft Hyper-V 2012. Avamar’s new Hyper-V 2012 over Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) proxy support can backup all Hyper-V servers in the CSV cluster simultaneously. Watch the Whiteboard Video to learn more.

Hyper-V

OK OK … so I know I stated 7, but I just couldn’t resist adding one more ;- )

# 8 Avamar adds advanced visibility and control for Microsoft applications, including support for SQL Server 2012, Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013. Avamar’s integration with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) enables a SQL DBA to set backup preferences for Always On Availability Groups right from SSMS. Now the backup administrator can leverage the SQL DBA’s requirements automatically. Watch the Whiteboard Video to learn more.

SQL

Well there you have it, my TOP 8 for Avamar 7. Please visit http://www.emc.com/backup-and-recovery/avamar/avamar.htm for more information, and be sure to contact EMC Backup Recovery Systems Specialists.

Follow us Twitter (@PhilGeorgeV) and Alex (@alxjalmeida) to catch the latest breaking news on EMC Avamar (and a few other tasty bits)!

Phil George

Phil George

Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Data Protection and Availability Division at EMC
Working with customers and partners (like VMware) to develop leading backup solutions makes every day very interesting; helping them optimize their backup architectures for virtualized environments is what really energizes me. Over the past 25 years, I’ve held senior engineering, marketing and sales roles within the technical software industry. This gives me a good vantage point to recognize technical challenges, see emerging trends and propose new solutions. I hold a BSEE from Cornell University and a Masters in Computer Engineering from Boston University. I currently reside with my wife and two children in Massachusetts.

It’s a Microsoft (TechEd) World After All…

I will start out by re-assuring my readers, I will do my best to avoid getting the Disney song of a similar title into your head!  On the other hand, I know that for some of you that particular attraction brings back some great childhood memories! So, if you want, go ahead and hum it to your self right now wherever you are.  Go ahead… Now, did that make you feel better? Is your neighbor in the next cube looking at you over your cube wall like you’re insane yet?!? ;) For those of you that didn’t hum, is the song stuck in your head? Thought so… Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

All of these Disney World/Orlando references before the week of June 11th to the 15th can only mean one thing in an Enterprise Technology Blog Post;  Microsoft TechEd 2012!

This year, EMC’s Backup and Recovery portfolio has greatly enhanced support for all things Microsoft. In particular, the proven industry leader in backup and recovery for virtualized environments is now available for Hyper-V. This provides Hyper-V administrators with the capabilities to perform incredibly fast and application consistent image backups of critical Microsoft applications. Applications such as Microsoft SQL Server 2012, which are quickly migrating to virtualized Hyper-V platforms as the journey to the cloud accelerates.

For the all important data recovery, industry proven flexibility and reliability can now be leveraged by Hyper-V backup admins. From federated Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) Hyper-V image backup to flexible out-of-place VM image recovery, EMC engineers have worked closely with Microsoft to assure incredibly tight integration for the best possible efficiency and ease of use.

EMC Avamar also added multi-streaming and together with its integration to EMC Data Domain systems, you will see performance improvements in this recent release that are up to 4X faster Microsoft SQL Server Database backups. As the mountain of data we are continuing to service in these databases grows, these performance improvements are a relief to the “tea cup ride” managing backup windows can be.

I will be in Orlando next week. No, not riding the teacups, but at the convention center with all of you folks getting into some incredible conversations concerning all things backup and recovery for Microsoft! I will be located in the EMC Booth (#205) – so be sure to stop by. I hope to meet many of you and would be more than happy to talk with you and show you some demos on the newest features greatly enhancing backup and recovery for Microsoft Platforms and Applications. If you stop by, be sure to look for me, and identify yourself as a reader of The Backup Window blog to any of the EMC Booth Staff.

Finally, if you are attending Microsoft TechEd 2012, and EMC Avamar has truly changed the way you do backup in your enterprise, please be sure to sign in with your “MyTechEd login” and vote for Avamar in the Backup & Recovery category for “Best of TechEd Award”.

See you all in Sunny Florida!

Alex Almeida

Alex Almeida

Technology Evangelist, Data Protection and Availability Division
My passion for technology started at an early age and has never stopped. Today, I find myself immersed in data protection. Yep, I live, breathe and tweet backup, availability and archive. In fact, nothing short of fully understanding how things work will keep me from digging deeper. But when I’m not evangelizing on the benefits of backup or technology in general, I can be spotted at a New England Revolution game, behind the lens of a camera or listening to my favorite albums on vinyl. In addition to blogging for The Protection Continuum, you can find me on the EMC Community Network. Also, I'm a member of EMC Elect 2014, and I'm active in the New England VMware User Group (NEVMUG) and the Virtualization Technology User Group (VTUG). Let's get technical!

What Would You Be Willing to Do If Your Life Depended on It?

By Deanna Hoover, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery System

Last weekend I was able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful snow capped mountains around where I live.  The intent was an exhilarating back-country ski that would be emotionally relaxing.  However, the group I was with decided to discuss a rather heavy topic. The question we were discussing was: How you would react if forced to make a life or death decision, with the life decision resulting in more physical and emotional pain than you can imagine? The specific suggestion was to consider the need to perform self amputation of a body part.

 The discussion started because we had recently watched a documentary about a man who was faced with making a life or death decision during what he anticipated to be a “walk in the park”.   In the end he paid a pretty hefty price.  The group discussion of the day was really about how most people react when dealing with what appears to be an impossible situation. The consensus of our group was that by digging deep enough inside will we do everything possible to survive.  We also agreed that we make better decisions when brainstorming with others, and we find comfort in knowing we have access to the appropriate resources and tools in time of crisis.

Yes, this blog does tie into some decisions you may encounter when planning and managing your NetWorker environment.

Let me start by giving you the example of one man who dug deep inside to save his own life after a multi-day entrapment in the bottom of a remote slot canyon in the Greater Canyonlands area of southern Utah, all alone!

You will find in this discussion how the decisions made during the time of a personal life altering situation come into play when, as a backup administrator, you must make mission critical business decisions.  For examples, what tools does the administrator have in the survival kit, what are the best tools for the task at hand, does anyone else in the company realize the magnitude of the problem, and is there anyone that can be contacted for help?  Plus, we should never forget that being the only one that knows the details of our plans can be detrimental.

The story:  In 2003, Aron Ralston http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aron_Ralston  went out for an easy day hike in Utah’s remote Blue John Canyon. Not only was he alone, but he had told no one about the details of his planned trip.  All of the information on his adventure was kept solely in his head.  And remember, this was a day hike so he had only planned on being out for a few hours.  After a series of mishaps, and while climbing into a slot canyon, his hand became pinned between the canyon wall and an 800-pound boulder.  Ralston was a well seasoned mountaineer, independent and self-sufficient, until that one unpredictable moment.  Ralston desperately needed to find a way to unpin his arm or he would die in the canyon without anyone knowing his whereabouts.

Ralston’s mishaps were unpredictable and unfortunate.  Given the circumstances he faced, there was no way that he could have carried all the tools he needed to walk out of the canyon unscathed.  However, we must ask one question:  If Ralston had decided not to go solo, but to tell others about his trip, would he have suffered the same excruciating pain that he was forced to endure over those long days?

My goal is to help you think through the future of your backup environment. Are your backup environment plans taking advantage of all the available resources, and are you leveraging others to validate your decisions?   Is your data protection journey heading down the path to an unfortunate situation which may end in a disaster to the company and/or your career?

Below I will talk about how Ralston’s resources parallel those of a backup administrator.  I will also provide information on a few NetWorker modules that are commonly used for data protection.

Ralston was alone and there was no cell coverage.  A mobile device is something almost everyone uses and often takes for granted. In the business world Microsoft Applications are heavily used and always having access to the data created with these applications is expected. The NetWorker Module for Microsoft Applications provides data protection for Hyper-V, SQL, Active Directory and Exchange and SharePoint?

Ralston’s trip information was stored only on devices he had with him.  Your company financials and other critical information  required to allow your company to continue moving forward is often times stored in databases and applications such as  Oracle and SAP. The NetWorker Module for Databases and Applications (NMDA) and the NetWorker Module for SAP bring value in this market. These modules support the most important cross-platform non-open source applications, in alphabetical order: DB2, Informix, Lotus, Oracle, SAP and Sybase.

Ralston was traveling light and carrying only the resources he felt necessary for short day journey. Traveling light also means making the trip a little faster and easier.  What ended up being Ralston’s most important resource was a small tool used to save his life.  In business we tend to take for granted those millions of small files created by printer servers, content servers, emails, CAD/CAM and the like.  The NetWorker SnapImage Module takes a file system snapshot, builds a block list and then streams the data blocks as virtually one large file. This leads to successful, lightweight and quick backups.

Ralston could have benefited by having additional water and food, a redundancy of sorts.   Most backup administrators will talk about disaster recovery, or at least realize they need to replicate important company assets (backups).  NetWorker makes the backup replication easy.  We can leverage NetWorker cloning (copying) as well as hardware snap shot technology and replication- All managed by NetWorker and available within the EMC portfolio.

Can you imagine how different the story would be if Ralston had been traveling with another competent hiker? Much, if not all, of the physical and emotional load would have been removed from Ralston.   Within our data protection environments we have the powerful option of using EMC Data Domain Boost to take a load off the application and NetWorker servers.

Are you now thinking, “oh great, more modules, more money!”? You may be pleasantly surprised after looking at the capacity-based module pricing now available with EMC NetWorker.  You essentially have full access to every module available within NetWorker, all at one price.

To get back to Ralston’s story, it ends in a positive note, but the outcome could have been much better.  After five days and no food or water left, Ralston’s only option was to cut off the hand that was pinned under the boulder. He performed the amputation with his multipurpose tool.  Raltson then hiked for a little over four hours to a helicopter rescue.

Like Ralston, as backup administrators we stand the chance of paying a higher price for not thinking through our plans and collaborating with others.  With NetWorker you have all the resources required adequately protect the data and applications that are mission critical to your company.

Below you will find a list of NetWorker resources, including a site that allows you to collaborate with your NetWorker peers.

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

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.

Can Backup Administrators Get Excited About the Microsoft SQL 2012 Release?

By  Alex Almeida, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager

Sometimes those DBAs seem like they get all the fun – don’t they? Backup Admins never get a chance to be excited about anything, and when they do, DBAs just yawn, or give us weird looks. And to hurt you even more, it seems that database application developers never really think fully about backup and recovery when they are architecting their platforms. This just makes your job that much harder while they seem to give the DBA as much time in the sun as possible. Well, I think the Microsoft SQL Server team has realized this and decided that enough was enough. It’s time for the Backup Admins to reap some benefits as well! Oh, and about those looks you get from the DBAs, trust me, they go away the minute you successfully perform a restore for them.

What I am referring to is one of the key features of the SQL 2012 (Codename “Denali”) release, called AlwaysOn Availability Groups (AAG).   Availability Groups…. Availability Groups… where have I heard that before? Ah, yes! Microsoft Exchange! While named differently, they deliver essentially the same functionality with the exception of some very minor differences that we backup administrators don’t really need to worry about. (If you would like to learn more about Exchange Database Availability groups, see my previous blog post on the subject which also has a recorded demonstration.)

Like Exchange’s Database Availability Groups (DAG), the ability to be able to have multiple “passive copies” of your production database can have some unrealized advantages when it comes to managing backup workloads and their effect on transaction response time for your production database. With the ability for any node in an SQL Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) Cluster to access and perform aggregated read-queries from the passive copies, we can completely isolate the burden of backup I/O from the production database volume and server. That standby replica, and corresponding SQL node servicing backup I/O, can even be in a different physical location from the primary replica. All options which allow greater flexibility in implementing your Database High Availability and Recovery architectures. When we start talking about numerous SQL database backups and the corresponding replica I/O spread across multiple sites and nodes of a SQL implementation, we begin to quickly see the real power and efficiencies EMC backup software and Purpose-Built Backup Appliances (PBBA) can provide by leveraging these new capabilities from Microsoft.

The day has finally come for Backup Administrators to get excited about Database Server Features!

Alex Almeida

Alex Almeida

Technology Evangelist, Data Protection and Availability Division
My passion for technology started at an early age and has never stopped. Today, I find myself immersed in data protection. Yep, I live, breathe and tweet backup, availability and archive. In fact, nothing short of fully understanding how things work will keep me from digging deeper. But when I’m not evangelizing on the benefits of backup or technology in general, I can be spotted at a New England Revolution game, behind the lens of a camera or listening to my favorite albums on vinyl. In addition to blogging for The Protection Continuum, you can find me on the EMC Community Network. Also, I'm a member of EMC Elect 2014, and I'm active in the New England VMware User Group (NEVMUG) and the Virtualization Technology User Group (VTUG). Let's get technical!