Includes Backup/Recovery, Archiving, DPM, VTL, CDP, Data De-duplication, DRM.
Data is the lifeblood of an enterprise. And yet data has been protected in essentially the same fashion over the past two decades, i.e. by backing it up to tape and sending the tapes offsite. This method alone is no longer adequate and a spade of new technologies has become available in the last five years. These new technologies are already transforming the way data is protected, how long it is kept online, how it is archived. Recovery Management has emerged as a new discipline focused on recovering data rather than copying data. The new compliance requirements are essentially requiring companies of all sizes to upgrade their data protection infrastructures or be subject to huge fines. The level of innovation in this space is torrid. Taneja Group covers this space from end to end and has defined many of the new categories that now are considered the norm. The analysts that cover this space have deep industry backgrounds in developing and marketing these technologies.
Hyperconvergence has come a long way in the past five years. Growth rates are astronomical and customers are replacing traditional three-layer configurations with hyperconverged solutions at record numbers. But not all hyperconverged solutions in the market are alike. As the market matures, this fact is coming to light. Of course, all hyperconverged solutions tightly integrate compute and storage (that is par for the course) but beyond that similarities end quickly.
One of the striking differences between SimpliVity’s hyperconverged infrastructure architecture and others is the tight integration of data protection functionality. The DNA for that is built in from the very start: SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure systems perform inline deduplication and compression of data at the time of data creation. Thereafter, data is kept in the “reduced” state throughout its lifecycle. This has serious positive implications on latency, performance, and bandwidth but equally importantly, it transforms data protection and other secondary uses of data.
At Taneja Group, we have been very aware of this differentiating feature of SimpliVity’s solution. So when we were asked to interview five SimpliVity customers to determine if they were getting tangible benefits (or not), we jumped at the opportunity.
This Field Report is about their experiences. We must state at the beginning that we focused primarily on their data protection experiences in this report. Hyperconvergence is all about simplicity and cost reduction. But SimpliVity’s hyperconverged infrastructure also eliminated another big headache: data protection. These customers may not have bought SimpliVity for data protection purposes, but the fact that they were essentially able to get rid of all their other data protection products was a very pleasant surprise for them. That was a big plus for these customers. To be sure, data protection is not simply backup and restore but also includes a number of other functions such as replication, DR, WAN optimization, and more.
For a broader understanding of SimpliVity’s product capabilities, other Taneja Group write-ups are available. This one focuses on data protection. Read on for these five customers’ experiences.
There are a lot of game-changing trends in IT today including mobility, cloud, and big data analytics. As a result, IT architectures, data centers, and data processing are all becoming more complex – increasingly dynamic, heterogeneous, and distributed. For all IT organizations, achieving great success today depends on staying in control of rapidly growing and faster flowing data.
While there are many ways for IT technology and solution providers to help clients depending on their maturity, size, industry, and key business applications, every IT organization has to wrestle with BURA (Backup, Recovery, and Archiving). Protecting and preserving the value of data is a key business requirement even as the types, amounts, and uses of that data evolve and grow.
For IT organizations, BURA is an ever-present, huge, and growing challenge. Unfortunately, implementing a thorough and competent BURA solution often requires piecing and patching together multiple vendor products and solutions. These never quite fully address the many disparate needs of most organizations nor manage to be very simple or cost-effective to operate. Here is where we see HPE as a key vendor today with all the right parts coming together to create a significant change in the BURA marketplace.
First, HPE is pulling together its top-notch products into a user-ready “solution” that marries both StoreOnce and Data Protector. For those working with either or both of those separately in the past in conjunction with other vendor’s products, it’s no surprise that they each compete favorably one-on-one with other products in the market, but together as an integrated joint solution they beat the best competitor offerings.
But HPE hasn’t just bundled products into solutions, it is undergoing a seismic shift in culture that revitalizes its total approach to market. From product to services to support, HPE people have taken to heart a “customer first” message to provide a truly solution-focused HPE experience. One support call, one ticket, one project manager, addressing the customer’s needs regardless of what internal HPE business unit components are in the “box”. And significantly, this approach elevates HPE from just being a supplier of best-of-breed products into an enterprise-level trusted solution provider addressing business problems head-on. HPE is perhaps the only company completely able to deliver a breadth of solutions spanning IT from top to bottom out of their own internal world-class product lines.
In this report, we’ll examine first why HPE StoreOnce and Data Protector products are truly game changing on their own rights. Then, we will look at why they get even “better together” as a complete BURA solution that can be more flexibly deployed to meet backup challenges than any other solution in the market today.
Full Database Protection Without the Full Backup Plan: Oracle’s Cloud-Scaled Zero Data Loss Recovery
Today’s tidal wave of big data isn’t just made up of loose unstructured documents – huge data growth is happening everywhere including in high-value structured datasets kept in databases like Oracle Database 12c. This data is any company’s most valuable core data that powers most key business applications – and it’s growing fast! According to Oracle, in 5 years (by 2020) most enterprises expect 50x data growth. As their scope and coverage grow, these key databases inherently become even more critical to our businesses. At the same time, the sheer number of database-driven applications and users is also multiplying – and they increasingly need to be online, globally, 24 x 7. Which all leads to the big burning question: How can we possibly protect all this critical data, data we depend on more and more even as it grows, all the time?
We just can’t keep taking more time out of the 24-hour day for longer and larger database backups. The traditional batch window backup approach is already often beyond practical limits and its problems are only getting worse with data growth – missed backup windows, increased performance degradation, unavailability, fragility, risk and cost. It’s now time for a new data protection approach that can do away with the idea of batch window backups, yet still provide immediate backup copies to recover from failures, corruption, and other disasters.
Oracle has stepped up in a big way, and marshaling expertise and technologies from across their engineered systems portfolio, has developed a new Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance. Note the very intentional name that is focused on total recoverability – the Recovery Appliance is definitely not just another backup target. This new appliance eliminates the pains and risks of the full database backup window approach completely through a highly engineered continuous data protection solution for Oracle databases. It is now possible to immediately recover any database to any point in time desired, as the Recovery Appliance provides “virtual” full backups on demand and can scale to protect thousands of databases and petabytes of capacity. In fact, it offloads backup processes from production database servers which can increase performance in Oracle environments typically by 25%. Adopting this new backup and recovery solution will actually give CPU cycles back to the business.
In this report, we’ll briefly review why conventional data protection approaches based on the backup window are fast becoming obsolete. Then we’ll look into how Oracle has designed the new Recovery Appliance to provide a unique approach to ensuring data protection in real-time, at scale, for thousands of databases and PBs of data. We’ll see how zero data loss, incremental forever backups, continuous validation, and other innovations have completely changed the game of database data protection. For the first time there is now a real and practical way to fully protect a global corporation’s databases—on-premise and in the cloud—even in the face of today’s tremendous big data growth.
One of the biggest storage trends we are seeing in our current research here at Taneja Group is that of storage buyers (and operators) looking for more functionality – and at the same time increased simplicity – from their storage infrastructure. For this and many other reasons, including TCO (both CAPEX and OPEX) and improved service delivery, functional “convergence” is currently a big IT theme. In storage we see IT folks wanting to eliminate excessive layers in their complex stacks of hardware and software that were historically needed to accomplish common tasks. Perhaps the biggest, most critical, and unfortunately onerous and unnecessarily complex task that enterprise storage folks have had to face is that of backup and recovery. As a key trusted vendor of both data protection and storage solutions, we note that HPE continues to invest in producing better solutions in this space.
HPE has diligently been working towards integrating data protection functionality natively within their enterprise storage solutions starting with the highly capable tier-1 3PAR StoreServ arrays. This isn’t to say that the storage array now turns into a single autonomous unit, becoming a chokepoint or critical point of failure, but rather that it becomes capable of directly providing key data services to downstream storage clients while being directed and optimized by intelligent management (which often has a system-wide or larger perspective). This approach removes excess layers of 3rd party products and the inefficient indirect data flows traditionally needed to provide, assure, and then accelerate comprehensive data protection schemes. Ultimately this evolution creates a type of “software-defined data protection” in which the controlling backup and recovery software, in this case HPE’s industry-leading Data Protector, directly manages application-centric array-efficient snapshots.
In this report we examine this disruptively simple approach and how HPE extends it to the virtual environment – converging backup capabilities between Data Protector and 3PAR StoreServ to provide hardware assisted agentless backup and recovery for virtual machines. With HPE’s approach, offloading VM-centric snapshots to the array while continuing to rely on the hypervisor to coordinate the physical resources of virtual machines, virtualized organizations gain on many fronts including greater backup efficiency, reduced OPEX, greater data protection coverage, immediate and fine-grained recovery, and ultimately a more resilient enterprise. We’ll also look at why HPE is in a unique position to offer this kind of “converging” market leadership, with a complete end-to-end solution stack including innovative research and development, sales, support, and professional services.
Flash technology has burst on the IT scene within the past few years with a vengeance. Initially seen simply as a replacement for HDDs, flash now is triggering IT and business to rethink a lot of practices that have been well established for decades. One of those is data protection. Do you protect data the same way when it is sitting on flash as you did when HDDs ruled the day? How do you take into account that at raw cost/capacity levels, flash is still more expensive than HDDs? Do data deduplication and compression technologies change how you work with flash? Does the fact that flash technology is injected most often to alleviate severe application performance issues require you to rethink how you should protect, manage, and move this data?
These questions apply across the board when flash is injected into storage arrays but even more so when you consider all-flash arrays (AFAs), which are often associated with the most mission-critical applications an enterprise possesses. The expectations for application service levels and data protection recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) are vastly different in these environments. Given this, are existing data protection tools adequate? Or is there a better way to utilize these expensive assets and yet achieve far superior results? The short answer is yes to both.
In this Opinion piece we will focus on answering these questions broadly through the data protection lens. We will then look at a specific case of how data protection can be designed with flash in mind by considering the combination of flash-optimized HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, HP StoreOnce System backup appliances, and HP StoreOnce Recovery Management Central (RMC) software. These elements combine to produce an exceptional solution that meets the stringent application service requirements and data protection RTOs and RPOs that one finds in flash storage environments while keeping costs in check.
Backup and recovery, replication, recovery assurance: all are more crucial than ever in the light of massively growing data. But complexity has grown right alongside expanding data. Data centers and their managers strain under the burdens of legacy physical data protection, fast-growing virtual data requirements, backup decisions around local, remote and cloud sites, and the need for specialist IT to administer complex data protection processes.
In response, Unitrends has launched a compelling new version of Unitrends Enterprise Backup (UEB): Release 9.0. Its completely revamped user interface and experience significantly reduces management overhead and lets even new users easily perform sophisticated functions using the redesigned dashboard. And its key capabilities are second to none for modern data protection in physical and virtual environments.
One of UEB 9.0’s differentiating strengths (indeed, the entire Unitrends product line) is the fact that in today’s increasingly more virtualized world, they still offer deep support for physical as well as virtual environments. This is more important than it might at first appear. There is a huge installed base of legacy equipment in existence and a lot of it has still not been moved into a virtual environment; yet it all needs to be protected. Within this legacy base, there are many mission-critical applications still running on physical servers that remain high priority protection targets. In these environments, many admins are forced to purchase specialized tools for protecting virtual environments separate from physical ones, or to use point backup products for specific applications. Both options carry extra costs by buying multiple applications that do essentially the same thing, and by hiring multiple people trained to use them.
This is why no matter how virtualized an environment is, if there is even one critical application that is still physical, admins need to strongly consider a solution that protects both. This gives the data center maximum protection with lower operating costs, since they no longer need multiple data protection packages and trained staff to run them.
This is where Unitrends steps in. With its rich capabilities and intuitive interface, UEB 9.0 protects data throughout the data center, and does not require IT specialists. This Product in Depth assesses Unitrends Enterprise Backup 9.0, the latest version of Unitrends flagship data protection platform. We put the new user interface through its paces to see just how intuitive it is, what information it provides and how many clicks it takes to perform some basic operations. We also did a deep dive into the functionality provided by the backup engine itself, some of which is a carryover from earlier versions and some which are new for 9.0.