Let’s face it, tools for backing up your data have become ubiquitous. Everyone can do it. It provides peace of mind, especially for small businesses (think law or a doctor’s office) who don’t have IT pros on staff. “All my data is backed up somewhere so if something bad happens, I’m covered.” Unfortunately backup is only a piece of the data protection puzzle. How do you get the backed up data back into production if something goes wrong? How long will it take to get up and running again? And the killer question: How will it impact my small business if it takes a long time to recover? Recovery is just as important as backup, and probably MORE important.
Backup is the first line of defense, and if you’re like most organizations, you do some kind of backup daily, weekly, and monthly. To get the most out of your infrastructure and IT staff, you want to spend as little time and effort as possible on backup, but still be ready to restore fast.
Imagine you’re running IT for a major retail chain and you need to pick the best storage solution to be deployed at every branch office across the country. What would be on your requirements list? It would have to be easy to deploy and manage – gradually rolling out across every location. It would definitely have to perform well. Ideally, application downtime would be as close to zero as possible. If something went wrong, I would have to be 100% positive I did not lose any customer data. I would want a solution with as small a hardware footprint as possible to help minimize cost. Speaking of cost, let’s keep that as low as possible. Good luck finding all that with a traditional storage solution.
An exceptional desktop virtualization end-user experience is essential to the success of such projects, and is more challenging than ever before. The VSPEX reference architecture using EMC XtremIO and Brocade networking is designed to eliminate planning and configuration burdens and deliver in a big way on both IT and end-user requirements.
We know the benefits that cloud storage can offer organizations - flexibility, agility, and elasticity more efficiently at lower costs. And that’s really just the start. Once you factor in the potential to address business continuity and productivity concerns with instant backup, archive, and disaster recovery plans, it’s turning into a no brainer.
I’m a huge proponent of HTML 5 – it’s sleek, responsive, and meant for the modern, mobile world. It’s not surprising that more and more consumer-based websites have made the transition, especially with the explosion in mobile device usage in the recent years. The one area where I would love to see more adoption though is in IT, specifically around infrastructure management.
Many organizations are so intent on identifying new malware that they are failing to address or in some cases even recognize advanced evasion techniques (AETs) that can enable malware to circumvent their security defenses. AETs pose a great threat because most security solutions can’t detect, much less stop them. Security professionals and executive managers need to wake up to this real and growing threat.
As usual ESG had a strong analyst representation at this year’s EMC World, held last week in Las Vegas. Watch this 6 minute video blog, to get a flavor of the event and to hear the key “takeaways” and initial high level insights from a broad spectrum of ESG experts – on the storage ‘beat,’ there’s Terri McClure and myself, for data protection there is Jason Buffington, and you can also see and hear from Kevin Rhone (channels/partners) and Kerry Dolan (ESG Lab).
Virtual desktop environments can present one of the most challenging workloads an infrastructure must deal with. Random, shifting I/O and bottlenecks in the storage domain will have a significant impact on performance. Delivering an exceptional user experience is essential to the success of desktop virtualization deployments because users are becoming conditioned to the performance of flash drives in their business and personal computers. Users demand performance equal to or better than what they already have.
So what do we know about flash? It used to be really expensive. It had limited implementation options in IT environments. Oh, let’s not forget the screaming performance you can expect when it’s implemented correctly.
Violin has their all-flash storage array. Microsoft has their latest OS, Windows Server 2012 R2, loaded with storage features like Storage Spaces, SMB, and SMB Direct. It’s quite natural for the two to come together, right? RIGHT! In a recent announcement, the two companies have teamed up to jointly develop a new solution called the Windows Flash Array, which combines the best of both worlds: Violin storage hardware and Microsoft storage software.
I’ve been fortunate in my role as an ESG Lab Analyst in that I’ve been able to be hands-on with a mix of companies that range from new, emerging startups to mature, proven companies. Specifically in the “Big Data” space, the exposure to the new products and technology has been just enough that I really want to wrap my head around everything there is to know. My ultimate goal at a high-level is to provide clarity where it’s needed - clarity in a cloudy (pun intended), confusing big data ecosystem. What do I need to fix my problem? Who does what? How do they do it? And the big question for me right now: Who really does what they say they do?
How many work-related documents, images, and videos do you interact with on a daily basis? Before you answer, include the number of e-mails you send and receive. Tens? Hundreds? Maybe thousands? And that’s just you.
Since leaving EMC and becoming part of the ESG team, I have been exposed to various VCE products and most recently we tested the Vblock Specialized Systems for High Performance Databases. My first thought was “Wow, VCE has come a long way.”
This past April, I travelled to Sin City (for the first time in my life) to attend the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS). Being my first trip to Vegas I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and of course I was not let down by the pure extravagance of everything. People, food, entertainment, gambling…I swear this place was designed by a group of people with the worst forms of ADHD. The fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it) part was that I was there for a tech conference, so my experience was a little less overwhelming.
Using flash to accelerate virtual desktops is a hot topic, but at what cost? ESG Lab is testing Fusion ioVDI and is seeing some pretty exciting results. So if you want to hear how to run thousands of FAST desktops without breaking the bank, read on!
So you’re going to fix all your company’s virtualization woes with your new architecture. You’re going to be the IT hero. The parts for the new solution show up on your loading dock and you start putting the pieces together, only to find out that the NIC cards you ordered don’t support a required protocol. Or worse yet, the expensive network gear you already ordered is missing a critical feature your users depend on. You persevere, scaling back your design, and exchanging components. It never seems to be an even exchange, but at least you are still within budget.
A lot of organizations think the cloud can help them save money and improve IT service delivery. And they’re right—for many, it can transform operations. But often the biggest questions are “How the heck do I get there? Where do I begin? What will it actually get me?”
A good place to start answering those questions is to see what companies with successful clouds have done. ESG has been following EMC on its cloud voyage since 2004, and we recently completed our IT Audit on the topic. While the first two were more about the journey, this last one focused on their achievements—which are, quite frankly, stunning.
I recently completed my first phase of Server 2012 testing focused primarily on the new and improved storage and networking features. More specifically, I played with Storage Spaces, the Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 protocol, Deduplication (yes, it's part of the OS now), Chkdsk, and Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX).
Your pager goes off and wakes you at 4:00 AM to let you know that the power is back on at the office, and you think, “Oh Great.” You look out the window and see the ground covered with snow as you fire up the home computer to see if you can send an e-mail - nothing. The drive to the office is quicker than usual, because there’s no traffic. It’s dark as you walk down the hall past the empty cubes, swipe your security card past the reader and open the big steel door. Ah, the familiar sound of cooling fans as you flip on the lights and walk to one of the many computer racks in the room. You jiggle the mouse in front of the console, and it lights up with a blue screen and a half booted system. The only option is to hit the power button.