Transforming Backup into a Business Accelerator

Data backup has transformed from “low-value, high-cost insurance policy” to “business accelerator.” Unfortunately, most organizations struggle with the complexity and cost of a jumble of disconnected backup technologies.

In fact, what began as the EMC Backup and Recovery Systems Division’s internal development architecture now steers our customers as well. We all face the same challenge―with a multitude of protection technologies, how can you get everybody to pull in the same direction? The Protection Storage Architecture drives both our product strategy and our customers’ success.

It also helps transform the backup team into a data protection service provider.

The architecture comprises three components. First, select core protection storage with the capacity, performance and flexibility to support all of your protection workloads (backup, disaster recovery and archive). Second, integrate the protection storage and the data sources (applications, hypervisor, and primary storage) to improve performance and user visibility of the protection. Third, provide data management services (reporting, policy management, data catalog and protection storage management). This architecture helps transform the backup team’s approach from, “Here’s how we run backup, take it or leave it” to “How can I help you accelerate the business?” The result is data protection consolidation, user confidence and business acceleration.

Our new releases focus on core enhancements in the Protection Storage Architecture framework:

  • Protection Storage – Scale. For a decade, data protection did not keep pace with data growth. Protection storage systems are closing the performance and capacity gap for backup and archival. Recovery, however, demands a new approach. Recent disasters have demonstrated that traditional brute-force multi-TB restores do not meet the needs of large virtual environments. During an outage, they need instant access to run their critical VMs on the protection storage. They can move those VMs to the primary storage after the crisis has passed.
  • Data Source Integration – Big Data and Cloud. Backup has become the “long pole” for Cloud and Big Data, so application and storage vendors are building optimized protection tools into their products. Application and storage administrators are becoming “Do it Yourself” backup engineers. Unfortunately, when teams go rogue, it is expensive, unreliable, and unmanageable. We need to connect DBAs and NAS administrators with the backup team – leveraging the intelligence in the data sources with consolidated protection storage and management.
  • Data Management Services – Consolidate and Simplify. Backup teams need visibility into everything from storage protection copies (e.g. snapshots, clones, replicas) to application-driven copies (e.g. Oracle FRA) to traditional backups to archives. Meanwhile, VM environments demand policy-driven protection – the organization cannot delay VM deployment waiting for manual backup configuration! Finally, the backup team needs to eliminate excess moving parts in their environment and consolidate on the core architectural components.

The enhancements to the Protection Storage Architecture deliver true business value.

  • NAS Flexibility – Customers complain, “My NAS vendor has me totally locked-in. I protect my data only by replicating to another of their systems. My processes are built around their workflows and APIs. I would like to try other NAS appliances, like Isilon, but I’m stuck.” With Avamar’s high performance NAS data protection, we separated their data protection from their primary storage. They are now evaluating other NAS solutions and getting better pricing than they’ve seen in years.
  • Scale Databases – Backup and recovery performance commonly prevents customers from consolidating and scaling their databases. This is especially painful as they try to operate against Big Data using SAP HANA and Oracle Exadata. With Data Domain’s expanded database integration, customers see dramatic improvements in protection performance and scalability, which enables them to grow their databases with confidence.
  • Accelerate VM deployment – During a customer meeting, the backup team proclaimed, “We protect 1200 VMs.” Turning pale, the server virtualization lead said, “But we have 2600 VMs in production.” With the new policy-based VM backups in NetWorker, customers can ensure all new VMs are automatically protected. One Beta customer raved that it eliminates the final barrier to automated self-provisioning. They can now deploy new applications at the speed of business.

With the right protection solution, the virtualization, application and storage, teams can reduce costs, accelerate development, and unlock new innovation. The Protection Storage Architecture can transform your backup into a business accelerator. I should know; I’m not only the CTO, I’m also a client.

About the Author: Stephen Manley