What about the products, what’s new?
Data protection storage systems (e.g. Data Domain)
Building off of previously announced Backup Recovery Solutions (BRS) including Data Domain operating system storage software enhancements, EMC is adding more application and software integration along with new platform (systems) support.
Data Domain (e.g. Protection Storage) enhancements include:
- Application integration with Oracle, SAP HANA for big data backup and archiving
- New Data Domain protection storage system models
- Data in place upgrades of storage controllers
- Extended Retention now available on added models
- SAP HANA Studio backup integration via NFS
- Boost for Oracle RMAN, native SAP tools and replication integration
- Support for backing up and protecting Oracle Exadata
- SAP (non HANA) support both on SAP and Oracle
Data in place upgrades of controllers for 4200 series models on up (previously available on some larger models). This means that controllers can be upgraded with data remaining in place as opposed to a lengthy data migration.
Extended Retention facility is a zero cost license that enables more disk drive shelves to be attached to supported Data Domain systems. Thus there is a not a license fee, however you do pay for the storage shelves and drives to increase the available storage capacity. Note that this feature increases the storage capacity by adding more disk drives and does not increase the performance of the Data Domain system. Extended Retention has been available in the past however is now supported via more platform models. The extra storage capacity is essentially placed into a different tier that an archive policy can then migrate data into.
Boost for accelerating data movement to and from Data Domain systems is only available using Fibre Channel. When asked about FC over Ethernet (FCoE) or iSCSI EMC indicated its customers are not asking for this ability yet. This has me wondering if it is that the current customer focus is around FC, or if those customers are not yet ready for iSCSI or FCoE, or, if there were iSCSI or FCoE support, more customers would ask for it?
With the new Data Domain protection storage systems EMC is claiming up to:
- 4x faster performance than earlier models
- 10x more scalable and 3x more backup/archive streams
- 38 percent lower cost per GB based on holding price points and applying improvements
EMC Data Domain data protection storage platform family
Data Domain supporting both backup and archive
Expanding Data Domain from backup to archive
EMC continues to evolve the Data Domain platform from just being a backup target platform with dedupe and replication to a multi-function, multi-role solution. In other words, one platform with many uses. This is an example of using one tool or technology for different purposes such as backup and archiving, however with separate polices. Here is a link to a video where I discuss using common tools for backup and archiving, however with separate polices. In the above figure EMC Data Domain is shown as being used for backup along with storage tiering and archiving (file, email, Sharepoint, content management and databases among other workloads).
EMC Data Domain supporting different functions and workloads
Also shown are various tools from other vendors such as Commvault Simpana that can be used as both a backup or archiving tool with Data Domain as a target. Likewise Dell products acquired via the Quest acquisition are shown along with those from IBM (e.g. Tivoli), FileTek among others. Note that if you are a competitor of EMC or simply a fan of other technology you might come to the conclusion that the above may not be different from others. Then again others who are not articulating their version or vision of something like the above figure probably should be also stating the obvious vs. arguing they did it first.
Data source integration (aka data protection software tools)
It seems like just yesterday that EMC acquired Avamar (2006) and NetWorker aka Legato (2003), not to mention Mozy (2007) or Dantz (Retrospect, since divested) in 2004. With the exception of Dantz (Retrospect) which is now back in the hands of its original developers, EMC continues to enhance and evolve Avamar, Mozy and NetWorker including with this announcement.
- Deeper integration with primary storage and protection storage tiers
- Optimization for VMware vSphere virtual server environments
- Improved visibility and control for data protection of enterprise applications
Additional Avamar 7 enhancements include:
- More Data Domain integration and leveraging as a repository (since Avamar 6)
- NAS file systems with NDMP accelerator access (EMC Isilon & Celera, NetApp)
- Data Domain Boost enhancements for faster backup / recovery
- Application integration with IBM (DB2 and Notes), Microsoft (Exchange, Hyper-V images, Sharepoint, SQL Server), Oracle, SAP, Sybase, VMware images
Note that Avamar datastore is still used mainly for ROBO and desktop, laptop type backup scenarios that do not yet support Data Domain. Also see Mozy enhancements below).
Avamar supports VMware vSphere virtual server environments using granular change block tracking (CBT) technology as well as image level backup and recovery with vSphere plugins. This includes an Instant Access recovery when images are stored on Data Domain storage.
Instant Access enables a VM that has been protected using Avamar image level technology on Data Domain to be booted via an NFS VMware Datastore. VMware sees the VM and is able to power it on and boot directly from the Data Domain via the NFS Datastore. Once the VM is active, it can be Storage vMotion to a production storage VMware Datastore while active (e.g. running) for recovery on the fly capabilities.
Instant Access to a VM on Data Domain storage
EMC NetWorker 8.1 enhancements include:
- Enhanced visibility and control for owners of data
- Collaborative protection for Oracle environments
- Synchronize backup and data protection between DBA and Backup admin’s
- Oracle DBAs use native tools (e.g. RMAN)
- Backup admin implements organizations SLA’s (e.g. using Networker)
- Deeper integration with EMC primary storage (e.g. VMAX, VNX, etc)
- Isilon integration support
- Snapshot management (VMAX, VNX, RecoverPoint)
- Automation and wizards for integration, discovery, simplified management
- Policy-based management, fast recovery from snapshots
- Integrating snapshots into and as part of data protection strategy. Note that this is more than basic snapshot management as there is also the ability to roll over a snapshot into a Data Domain protection storage tier.
- Deeper integration with Data Domain protection storage tier
- Data Domain Boost over Fibre Channel for faster backups and restores
- Data Domain Virtual Synthetics to cut impact of full backups
- Integration with Avamar for managing image level backup recovery (Avamar services embedded as part of NetWorker)
- vSphere Web Client enabling self-service recovery of VMware images
- Newly created VMs inherit backup polices automatically
Mozy is being positioned for enterprise remote office branch office (ROBO) or distributed private cloud where Avamar, NetWorker or Data Domain solutions are not as applicable. EMC has mentioned that they have over 800 enterprises using Mozy for desktop, laptop, ROBO and mobile data protection. Note that this is a different target market than the Mozy consumer product focused which also addresses smaller SMBs and SOHOs (Small Office Home Offices).
EMC Mozy enhancements to be more enterprise grade:
- Simplified management services and integration
- Active Directory (AD) for Microsoft environments
- New storage pools (multiple types of pools) vs. dedicated storage per client
- Keyless activation for faster provisioning of backup clients
What does this all mean?
Data protection and backup discussions often focus around disk vs. tape or cloud arguments, although this is changing. What is changing is growing awareness and discussion around how data protection storage mediums, systems and services are used along with the associated software management tools.
Some will say backup is broke often pointing a finger at a media or medium (e.g. tape and disk) about what is wrong. Granted in some environments the target medium (or media) destination is an easy culprit to point a finger to as the problem (e.g. the usual tape sucks or is dead) mantra. However, for many environments while there can be issues, it is more often than not the media, medium, device or target storage system that is broke, instead how it is being used or abused.
This means revisiting how tools are used along with media or storage systems allocated, used and retained with respect to different threat risk scenarios. After all, not everything is the same in the data center or information factory.
Thus modernizing data protection is more than swapping media or mediums including types of storage system from one to another. It is also more than swapping out one backup or data protection tool for another. Modernizing data protection means rethinking what different applications and data need to be protected against various threat risks.
What this has to do with today’s announcement is that EMC is among others in the industry moving towards a holistic data protection modernizing thought model.
In my opinion what you are seeing out of EMC and some others is taking that step back and expanding the data protection conversation to revisit, rethink why, how, where, when and by whom applications and information get protected.
This announcement also ties into finding and removing costs vs. simply cutting cost at the cost of something elsewhere (e.g. service levels, performance, availability). In other words, finding and removing complexities or overhead associated with data protection while making it more effective.
Some closing points, thoughts and more links:
There is no such thing as a data or information recession
People and data are living longer while getting larger
Not everything is the same in the data center or information factory
Rethink data protection including when, why, how, where, with what and by whom
There is little data, big data, very big data and big fast data
Data protection modernization is more than playing buzzword bingo
Avoid using new technology in old ways
Data footprint reduction (DFR) can be help counter changing data life-cycle patterns
EMC continues to leverage Avamar while keeping Networker relevant
Data Domain evolving for both backup and archiving as an example of tool for multiple uses
Ok, nuff said (for now).
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