A Replication Feature is NOT a Disaster Recovery Plan

A few years ago, I blogged that “your-replication-is-not-my-disaster-recovery/index.html" target="_blank" title="Jason's previous blog post on "Replication vs. Disaster Recovery"">Your Replication is not my Disaster Recovery” where I lamented that real BC/DR is much more about people/process than it is about technology.

To be clear, I am not bashing replication technologies or the marketing folks at those vendors … because without your data, you don’t have BC/DR, you have people looking for jobs.

Topics: Data Protection Information and Risk Management Jason Buffington disaster recovery

EMC’s 2014 MegaLaunch - a Tour de Force? (Includes Video)

Last week EMC held the fourth of what it has now established as its “MegaLaunches.” The scale of the events that surround these launches is consistent with the range of announcements that are included. EMC has never been a company that can be accused of being backwards about coming forwards, but even its most vociferous critics and ardent competitors would – albeit no doubt reluctantly! – have to concede that the substance that was delivered to the market last week had some real weight and value. Of course with so much to cover and comment upon it’s hard to do justice in one blog: however, with the help of my colleagues Terri McClure and Jason Buffington, I hope that this video blog will do a darned fine job of not only covering the announcement highlights but also giving you a flavor of the event. While the video itself is longer than we usually produce, I would – with all due humility – commend it to you as a great overview, as I think it feels way shorter than its 8 minute run time.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Protection Jason Buffington Isilon

EMC Announces Another Step Towards Backupless-backups

Last week, in London, EMC made several announcements – many of which hinged on the VMAX3 platform – but the one of most interest to me was ProtectPoint, where those new VMAX machines will be able to send their backup data directly from production storage to protection storage (EMC Data Domain) without an intermediary backup server.

I mentioned this in workload-enabled-data-protection-is-the-future-and-that-is-a-good-thing/index.html" target="_blank" title="Workload-enabled Data Protection is the future">my blog last week as an example of the fact that, while “backup” is evolving, those kinds of evolutions require that the role of both the Backup Administrator (which should not be thought of as a Data Protection Manager/DPM) and the Storage Administrator (or any other workload manager that is becoming able to protect their own data) need to evolve, as well. Enjoy the video:

Topics: EMC Data Protection Information and Risk Management Jason Buffington

Workload-enabled Data Protection is the Future … and that is a good thing

When asked “what is the future for data center data protection?” my most frequent answer is that DP becomes less about dedicated backup admins with dedicated backup infrastructure … and more about DP savvy being part of the production workload, co-managed by the DP and workload administrators.

  • In the last few years, we’ve seen a few examples of that with DBAs using Oracle RMAN to do backups that aren’t rogue outside of corporate data protection mandates, but in concert with them – and stored in the same deduplicated solution as the rest of the backups (e.g., DDboost for Oracle RMAN).
  • More recently, we are seeing more examples of VMware administrators getting similar functionality, including not only VMware’s own VDPA/VDPA+, but also traditional backup engines that are being controlled through vCenter plug-ins to give the virtualization admin their own solution.

EMC’s announcement of ProtectPoint is another step in that evolutionary journey, enabling VMAX production storage to go directly to Data Domain protection storage, thereby giving yet another group of IT Pros more direct control of their own protection/recovery destiny, while at the same time extending the agility and sphere of influence of data protection professionals.

To be clear, as workload owner enablement continues to evolve, the role of the “Data Protection Manager” (formerly known as the “backup administrator”) also evolves – but it does not and cannot go away. DPMs should be thrilled to be out of some of the mundane aspects of tactical data protection and even more elated that the technology innovations like snap-to-dedupe integration, application-integration, etc. create real partnerships between the workload owners and the data protection professionals. And it does need to be a partnership, because while the technical crossovers are nice, they must be coupled with shared responsibility.

If the legacy backup admin simply abdicates the role of protecting data to the workload owner, because she now has a direct UI, many backups will simply stop being done – because the tactical ability to back up and the strategic mindset of understanding business and regulatory retention requirements are very different. The “Data Protection Manager” should be just that, the role that manages or ensures that data protection occurs – regardless of whether they enact it themselves (using traditional backup tools) or enable it through integrated data protection infrastructure that is shared with the workload owners.

Some naysayers will be concerned that as the workload owners gain tools that enable their own backups, the DP admin role diminishes – but there is a wide range of behaviors that are enabled by this evolution:

Some workload owners will wholly take on the DP mantle, but the DP manager will still need to “inspect what they expect” so that corporate retention and BC/DR mandates still happen.

Some workload owners will be grateful to drive their own restore experiences, but happily rely on the DP managers to manage the backups beforehand.

Some workload owners will recognize that they are so busy managing the workloads, the DP admins will continue to do the backups and restores – but now with better backups/snaps that continue to be even more workload-savvy.

And there are likely other variations of those workload owner/DP Manager partnerships beyond these. But any way that you look at it, the evolution and collaboration of workload-enhanced data protection that can be shared between the workload owner(s) and the data protection managers is a good thing that should continue.

Topics: EMC Data Protection Information and Risk Management Jason Buffington

Data Protection Impressions from the Dell Analyst Conference 2014

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Dell Annual Analyst Conference (DAAC), where Michael Dell and the senior leadership team gave updates on their businesses and cast a very clear strategy around four core pillars:

Topics: Backup Data Protection Information and Risk Management Dell Jason Buffington

Wrap-Up on Backup from EMC World 2014 -- Part II, Strategy

Last week, I published wrap-up-on-backup-from-emc-world-2014/index.html" target="_blank" title="Wrap-up on Backup -- part one">a video summary of the data protection product news from EMC World 2014, with the help of some of my EMC Data Protection friends. To follow that up, I asked EMC's Rob Emsley to knit the pieces together around the Data Protection strategy from EMC:

Topics: Backup EMC Data Protection Information and Risk Management Jason Buffington emc world

Wrap-Up on Backup from EMC World 2014 -- Part I, Products

During EMC World 2014 in Las Vegas last month, I had the chance to visit with several EMC product managers on what was announced from a product perspective, as well as overall data protection strategy. Enjoy the video:

Topics: Backup EMC Data Protection Information and Risk Management Jason Buffington emc world

vBlog: How to Ensure the Availability of the Modern Data Center

When you really boil down the core of IT -- it's to deliver the services and access to data that the business requires. That includes understanding the needs of the business, its dependencies on things like its data, and then ensuring the availability of that data.

Topics: Backup Data Protection VMware Information and Risk Management Jason Buffington Virtualization

EMC World 2014 – Initial ESG Analyst Impressions (Video)

EMC World has always been a cornerstone event for the storage industry; driven roughly equally by EMC’s leadership position in the market and by its strong marketing abilities. At this year’s event (held last week in Vegas) there was an important new wind of change as the storage focus was noticeably expanded with EMC trading its customary [and sometimes over-stretched] thematic emphases of prior years for a fresh look at IT market and user directions and where the “Federation” (that is traditional EMC, plus VMware, Pivotal, and RSA) intends to play.

Topics: Storage EMC IT Infrastructure Data Protection Information and Risk Management Jason Buffington emc world

How to Plan your Data Protection Spectrum [video]

Continuing on the theme that we started last year that “Data Protection” is the umbrella theme that encompasses a broad range (spectrum) of IT behaviors, including “Backup, Snapshots, Replication, etc.”:

Topics: Backup Data Protection Information and Risk Management Jason Buffington