Oracle OpenWorld Goers: It’s Time to Recalibrate

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).

Do you remember pinhole projectors? When a solar eclipse approached, a teacher would warn you, “Don’t look directly at the sun or you’ll burn your retinas.” Instead, you’d build a pinhole projector by poking a small hole in a long box. During the eclipse, you’d see a projection of the eclipse inside.

As with a solar eclipse, sometimes the best way to view massive industry shifts is to look at the projection onto adjacent industries. As we move from VMworld to Oracle OpenWorld, it’s an ideal time to look at how hypervisor and application vendors learned to start worrying and love data protection.

Why Care About Data Protection Now?
From the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, backup architectures didn’t change. In response to a service request, the backup team would install an agent on the application server. That agent would then read the data, package it into a proprietary data format, and sends it to the backup target. Recoveries would run in the exact reverse. For the past 20 years, backup software vendors have tweaked that architecture (e.g., incremental/differential backups, elimination of media servers, source dedupe), but the fundamentals haven’t changed. Backup agents still sift through huge pools of data, pack the information into vendor-proprietary formats, and send the resultant blob of data into the dedicated backup infrastructure.

Meanwhile, for nearly 15 years, the data sources (e.g. ,applications, hypervisors) didn’t care about backup. In 2002, I met a backup administrator struggling with backup and recovery windows for his biggest databases. He asked the sales representative from that database vendor how to improve backup performance. The answer, “Upgrade your hardware. Faster server. Faster network. Faster tape drive. Not my problem.”

Then, everything changed. As with any big shift, it’s hard to pin down one cause (more data) because everybody has different drivers (lots more data), and there are so many factors (dear God, there is so much data). As backup and recovery times increased, customers worried about scaling databases and virtualizing business critical application. When backup threatened their revenue streams, the vendors who had ignored backup, suddenly cared very deeply.

Data Protection – Not Just for Backup Vendors
As the data sources (e.g., applications and hypervisors) began to care about backup they noticed:

  • They could make backup and recovery fast. By sitting in the data path, they can track what needs to be protected and recovered. They see every new piece of data as it is written, modified, or deleted. The backup client has no such option; at backup time, it must search through all the data looking for what’s new. While the backup agent wastes hours searching for needles in haystacks, the data source can enable protection to be completed in minutes.
  • They could simplify backup and recovery for their users. When I have a problem, I like to solve it quickly, myself. If I need to learn a new tool, I get cranky. If I need to call or email somebody, I get ornery. When DBAs call the backup team to recover their data, they get downright cantankerous! The application and hypervisor vendors understood that they could add a simple interface to allow their customers to run 99% of their own recoveries.

Of course, any company can dramatically improve a variety of functions. The bigger question is: What innovation delivers the best return on investment (ROI) for the significant investment in innovation? And this is when you can see that transformation of the backup industry extends well beyond the backup vendors:

  • VMware: With their investment in vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP), Changed Block Tracking, vSphere Data Protection, and Site Recovery Manager – VMware has invested heavily in both the data and control paths for data protection.
  • Oracle: With their investment in Oracle Recovery Management (RMAN), Block Change Tracking, and Incremental Merge, Oracle has invested heavily in both the data and control paths for data protection.

I selected these vendors because we’re book-ending their conferences, but Teradata, SAP, Microsoft’s back-office applications, and many more, have invested heavily in data protection. To repeat – data protection has been a top priority for applications with little/no stake in data center infrastructure, limited monetization of protection, and huge opportunity cost vs. enhancing core functionality. Data protection is changing.

What Does This Mean for the Backup Industry?
When you stare at one fairly stagnant item long enough (e.g., grass), even small changes (e.g. grass growing) can seem revolutionary. Sometimes it’s best to look around and re-calibrate your internal measurement of what is transformative. That is certainly true for the backup market.

As the data sources take a more active role in protecting their data, traditional backup architectures won’t survive. Slow agents, proprietary data formats, and dedicated backup infrastructure are relics of the past. Products with those legacy architectures will struggle to adapt to the new world.

However, while the architecture will change, companies still need the value provided by backup teams: managing the protection storage infrastructure, driving policy compliance, cataloging the data, and reporting across the environment. The protection team will continue to deliver this value, just with a more flexible, open architecture.

The backup market is truly transforming, but if you just look at the backup software vendors, you’ll miss the chance to lead. You can best measure the change by looking at the application and hypervisor vendors. Then, you can transform your sense of urgency into selecting a solution. But, I warn you, don’t look directly at the legacy backup software vendors. Watching old stars go supernova and explode can burn your eyes out.

Five Reasons to Choose EMC Backup for VMware

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.

future and pastAs much as VMware has been instrumental in the course of data protection over the past few years, all signs indicate we haven’t seen anything yet.

While backup and recovery performance will continue to be important, integration, application support, management and architectural flexibility will become the new measuring sticks for data protection in the software-defined data center and cloud.

So, it’s important to ask vendors about these metrics now. Get them to share  specific proof points of how their solutions are translating into IT and business benefits, and then compare.

To help you get started, below are five reasons to choose EMC Backup for VMware. (Oh, and if you’re a visual person, check out this infographic; the data points paint a compelling story.)

  1. Accelerated backup and recovery: EMC doesn’t just promise faster backup and recovery, we deliver it. Our software Data Protection Suite and Purpose-Built Backup Appliances (PBBAs) are proven to reduce VMware backup by 90%, speed recoveries by 30x, as well as provide VM Instant Access. Also, because our solutions identify unique changed blocks, we move less data, which reduces resource contention and network traffic. DR is faster and more efficient.
  2. Accelerated savings: We understand the importance of integrating with VMware, and we do it better than anyone else. Not only do we integrate with VMware vCenter and VMware vStorage API for Data Protection, but we’re also the only vendor to support VMware Changed Block Tracking for both backup and restore. Plus, because we integrate with  vSphere Web Client, we’re able to give VMware admins better visibility and control for deduplicated backup and recovery. You can expect to reduce storage requirements by 10-30x and administration time by 80%, netting a 7-month average return on investment. That’s savings your business will love.
  3. Accelerated transformation: No vendor can help your organization accelerate IT transformation faster than we can. Our Protection Storage Architecture provides a flexible foundation for years to come. Our PBBAs provide cost-optimized, consolidated storage for backup and archive data; our Data Protection Suite simplifies management and provides a clear, easy pathway for delivering data protection services; and integration with VMware and leading business-critical applications from Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and IBM. Plus, we can help you optimize your converged infrastructure—whether it’s VCE Vblock or EMC VSPEX—so you’ll see more benefits sooner.
  4. Market leadership: We are the largest backup company in the world, #1 in backup and storage for VMware and leaders in IT transformation. This gives us a distinct advantage in the market in terms of solution development and solution delivery. In fact, VMware’s vSphere Data Protection (VDP) is powered by EMC Avamar.
  5. Proven services: With hundreds of backup and recovery specialists and thousands of VMware-trained engineers across the globe and an extensive partner network, we have the expertise to optimize your environment. We’ll guide you every step of the way.

For more information about VMware backup, transformation and EMC backup and archive solutions, go to

Backup to the Future with VSPEX

Mark Doncov

Mark Doncov

I’ve spent most of the seven years I’ve been at EMC on backup. Currently, I work on category and solution marketing initiatives in EMC’s Backup Recovery Systems division. In short, this means I focus on the “why” for EMC Backup, not the “what”; I leave the bits and bytes to the product teams. Over the years, I’ve seen big changes in the backup world. I will be looking at these – and the even bigger ones that lie ahead - here on The Backup Window and other social channels.

Our Backup to the Future launch event was awesome. More than 23,500 of you (and counting) have viewed the event since  July 10, and many of you have asked questions of our experts.

And what’s great is that all the products we announced, including the new midrange Data Domain Systems and the updates to EMC Data Protection Suite (Avamar 7, NetWorker 8.1) will be available with VSPEX Proven Infrastructures this quarter.


Why is this important?

EMC backup supercharges the VSPEX value prop. You’ll be able to complete backups within windows (up to 90% less time required) and data will be recoverable (via our Data Invulnerability Architecture).

Without backup as a bottleneck (or worry), you’ll have the confidence to go full speed with virtualization – and do more. More virtualization… more app rollouts… more IT projects that drive revenue. And this means more free time for you. Win-win!

One last thing…

Customers who deploy EMC Backup see onaverage a 7 month payback and if they’ve consolidated backup and archive workloads on DataDomain, a 6 month or less payback.

That’s real money that keeps accruing to the bottom line after just two quarters. It’s a backup future anyone can like.


The Future Is Now: Data Protection Worthy of Your Data

Lady Backup

Lady Backup

Lady Backup’s career in IT dates back before the time of the Spice Girls. Initially I started in high tech journalism in the US and eventually transitioned to become an industry analyst. My analyst years also coincided with my education – during this period of my life I was working on my MBA. After 7 years of going to school at night, I graduated with distinction with an Information Age MBA degree from Bentley University (at the time it was still Bentley College) located just outside of Boston. With degree in hand, what’s a restless girl to do next? This is where networking with fellow classmates led to a job at EMC. Starting our Hopkinton headquarters, I moved outside of the US with EMC International when I felt it was time for my next change. Today, Lady Backup is an American on the loose in the world. Living outside the United States has been a fascinating experience. For the moment I call England home. But I’m feeling my next wave of restlessness coming. Here are two hints: I love sunshine and I’m improving my Spanish.

Today marks an important day in the history of our division and for EMC as we announce new capabilities across major parts of our protection storage and software portfolio. While the launch headline is “Backup to the Future,” I’m taking it a step further to include archiving as well. As you know, LadyBackup is equally as passionate about archiving as backup. What does it mean – the future is now? Continue Reading…

Real Life Solutions for a Real World Architecture

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).

aprimo banner final - liveThe Protection Storage Architecture is EMC’s North Star for data protection. With loosely integrated modules for protection storage, data source integration and data management services, it provides the road map for the journey to backup transformation. It guides our product development. It anchors our customer discussions around backup transformation. We have Protection Storage Architecture pictures, posters, t-shirts, and refrigerator magnets. I’m considering buying a face tattoo of the architecture… for one of my employees.

Therefore, it’s a great day when we deliver product that fills in the Protection Storage Architecture. That’s why we’re excited to announce new releases of EMC EMC Data Domain, EMC Avamar, and EMC NetWorker. In doing so, we build out all layers of the Protection Storage Architecture.

  • Protection Storage: Data Domain is not merely making bigger, faster Purpose Built Backup Appliances; it is defining the new class of storage that will finally meet the industry’s need for scale – Protection Storage. In the last decade, backup performance has fallen so far behind data growth that we need an entirely new approach to scaling.Therefore, we’re proud to announce the new Data Domain systems with 4x performance and 10x capacity of their predecessors. More important, however, is that the systems redefine protection scalability. Instead of simply storing traditional backup images, Data Domain now consolidates storage for all protection data. Key benefits include:
    • Versioned Replication – full data center support for incremental forever backups (synthesized into full backups).
    • Archive – support for over 20 leading applications, with the ability to store dramatically more objects/files at an even lower cost.
    • Disaster Recovery – instantly access VMs off the Data Domain in the event of a disaster, and storage vMotion them to primary storage at your convenience.
  • Data Source Integration: We’re not merely “supporting” all backup sources; we integrate deeply into their data and management layers. The data sources have both the intelligence to optimize protection performance and the user interfaces through which their users want to view their protection. This is especially important as we move into Big Data and Cloud. Therefore, we have extended our “application direct” backups to Data Domain to include SAP, SAP HANA and Oracle Exadata. Further, Avamar has extended its industry-unique NAS backup optimizations to Isilon – delivering backup performance that scales with the largest NAS environments. Finally, we have developed a vCenter management plugin that connects VMware’s vSphere Data Protection Advanced(VDPA), which is built on Avamar technology, to our full Avamar and NetWorker solutions. Built on the same technical foundation, customers have a natural migration from VDPA to Avamar or NetWorker.
  • Data Management Services: We are changing the way protection storage management, catalog, policy management, and consolidated is done and providing unmatched visibility:
    • We simplify protection storage management in two ways. First, all Avamar data center backups (VMs, applications, files) can target a Data Domain. While customers can continue to use their Avamar Data Stores, they no longer need to have two protection storage solutions for Data Center Protection. Additionally, NetWorker can now run Data Domain BOOST-optimized backups over Fibre Channel, simplifying the management of the protection storage environment.
    • We enhance the protection storage cataloging with the ability to track storage-layer protection (VMAX snapshots, VNX snapshots, RecoverPoint) and Oracle Flash Recovery Area (FRA) Backups. Therefore, if an Oracle DBA runs an FRA backup, NetWorker can automatically discover, catalog, and enhance the policy around that backup.
    • We deliver policy management for protection. Customers have struggled to ensure all their VMs are protected. Now, when a VM is created, it will automatically inherit a baseline backup policy – ensuring that everything is protected, without picking up the phone or sending an email to the backup team!
    • We are simplifying the management of backup. In this release, you can see the common VM protection capabilities between Avamar and NetWorker. That is no accident. This is the most concrete technical proof that EMC is bringing together our backup software into a unified offering.

Providing Real Customer Value

How can these solutions help you? How do they shift entire markets? Where do we go from here? Check out this link to watch our special webcast event and this  link to get answers to all these questions and more from our team of experts, customers and analysts.

By the way, if you want to sign up for that tattoo of the architecture, let us know – #backuptothefuture, @EMCBackup. We’ll get you some counseling… after we take a picture of the tattoo and post it on Twitter. Join us in our journey to backup transformation with the Protection Storage Architecture.