Published: October 5, 2011

Pass the PAS, Please

Virtualization is an abstraction of reality; turning physical assets into a pool of independent logical assets or de-coupling utilities and services from physical infrastructure. Today, we virtualize everything from servers, to storage, to networks. Heck, we virtualize people when you think about it ... removing the physical limitations of location to deliver services. Who knew the concept would have such far-reaching effects on everything in IT?

Yesterday, Actifio announced it is virtualizing data management in its Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) platform. Here's why it matters:

Companies maintain production data. As an insurance policy, we make one or more copies of that data. Then we make another copy and send it offsite, just in case there's a disaster and anything happens to the site where the production data and first backup copy are stored. Making one copy per day may not be enough to meet RPO requirements, so we make multiple copies during the course of a day. If data is very critical (i.e., no downtime can be experienced), we may mirror data for IT/business continuity purposes (I've already lost track of how many copies we're up to). And that's just for data protection. In parallel, there may be copies made for test/development or business intelligence/mining purposes. There also may be copies kept long-term for archive/records retention, e-discovery, or compliance purposes. You get the gist. Lots of copies equal lots of data. What a mess.

What if we could make logical copies from a physical copy and apply it to all of the aforementioned use cases? What if we could, in essence, virtualize data management by decoupling the management of data from storage, server, and network infrastructure? Then we could eliminate the multiple silos of data, simplify infrastructure requirements, and reduce storage requirements. This would drive down costs-significantly.

Actifio's Virtual Data Pipeline (VDP) appliance captures unique data once and repurposes it for various business requirements that need a copy. Users only have to worry about policies for each workload-specifically, the service level agreements (SLAs) associated with application/data sets. Simple.

PAS is a radical departure from the status quo, and yet it makes so much sense. As virtualization takes hold in more pockets of IT, many organizations may be asking to "pass the PAS, please."

Read more of Lauren's blog entries at Data Protection Perspectives.

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