1 Accelerating Transformation with Smarter Backup An Interview with Stephen Manley, CTO, EMC Backup Recovery Systems
2 In today s data-centric world, backup is no longer just about providing a safety net; it s about delivering value to the business. stephen MANLEY CTO, EMC BACKUP RECOVERY SYSTEMS DIVISION Introduction Data is king. It is the essence of IT and our businesses today. Without data, virtual machines, applications, and storage systems don t do much; however, with data, they can transform your business. Since backups are intended to ensure you have the data you need when you need it, there s more pressure than ever before on backup processes, systems, and teams to do more than make do. Below, EMC Backup Recovery Systems division CTO, Stephen Manley, talks about backup trends, challenges, and concepts, and offers practical steps to improve backup and recovery, accelerate IT transformation, and deliver immediate and long-term business value. How are market dynamics changing backup? The world in which we are living is becoming increasingly data-centric. The numbers are shocking. By 2020, IDC estimates there will be 35 zeta bytes of information out there and all of this data is putting more and more pressure on backup teams to transform their environments. In fact, the limitations of traditional backup environments are curtailing progress. Application owners are scaling back the size of databases; VMware administrators are making smaller virtual machines not bigger ones; and CIOs are putting off, rather than expanding, virtualization plans. They re doing this because they don t trust that their backup environments can protect their data. Backup teams have hit a wall. They can t get backups done efficiently, they can t meet backup windows, and they can t ensure timely recoveries. They can t do more without putting data at risk which directly impacts business. In the case of virtualization, this means businesses are either getting the return on investment (ROI) of virtualization on a much smaller set of applications than they had expected or they re getting a much lower ROI across a broader set of applications. Either way, it s a losing proposition that constrains business growth, and backup is to blame. It s time for backup to step up.
3 How are end-user expectations evolving? A sociological or cultural shift more so than anything technological is driving the notion of IT as a service provider. End-user expectations have changed dramatically over the past decade. IT used to be an intimidating black box and end-users accepted whatever limitations IT departments imposed; they lacked the confidence to challenge IT to do more for them. However, all that has changed. Businesses go from driving 75 mph down the freeway to a near standstill. Backup is the bottleneck, and this must change. End-users today are savvy. They understand what s available in the consumer space and what s possible with the right IT infrastructure. They understand the transformative benefits IT can have on their businesses. This means that the bar is a lot higher for IT in general, and backup in particular. End-users the lines of business expect that when they want something done, it will be, and they expect the time to do it will be near zero. Whether I m talking to the manufacturing arms of large companies, the IT departments at financial institutions, or the backup guys at small enterprises, the number one reason for an unsatisfactory time to is almost universally due to backup. It s the one part of the IT environment that still requires someone to pick up the phone and call someone to get things done, and this increases the time to. The greater the time to the bigger the potential negative business impact. What Is Time To? Whether it s the time to spin up a new application, the time to reach 80 percent virtualization, or the time to analyze a set of complex data, the goal is to be as close to zero as possible. A low time to means a business, or IT environment, is adaptive and agile. Key processes, such as backup and recovery, should be automated and seamless, allowing organizations to grow their business without fear of data loss. The simple, hard truth is that backup is slowing everybody down. With VMware and virtualized storage, a line of business can provision a new virtual machine (VM) without calling IT that is, until it comes time to protect it. To do this, they have to call the backup team to get a client installed, set the backup policy, connect to the right backup network, and ensure that there is enough backup capacity to support the job. Recovery is even more complex. Businesses go from driving 75 mph down the freeway to a near standstill. Backup is the bottleneck, and this must change. What key technology trends are driving the market? Although demands on IT have never been greater, it s really the same three technology trends that continue to drive the backup market as they have for the past five-plus years: 1. Deduplicated disk is displacing tape. 2. Everybody wants more control of their backups. They want to know that their data is protected, and they want to be able to continue to reduce the time to deliver value. 3. Backup and recovery windows continue to drive customer behavior and innovation. This is what organizations think about. They want to know how up-to-date
4 their backups are and how quickly they can recover their data if they need to. Remember, data is king. These trends reflect today s new service-type mentality. Organizations are looking to make IT transparent to the business, and to do this, they need to ensure that they have the right IT infrastructures in place. From a backup perspective, deduplicated disk provides the flexible, scalable foundation to support this type of infrastructure. You could say deduplicated disk democratizes backup by eliminating the idiosyncrasies of tape interfaces that have made it difficult for non-experts to manage backups over the years. Deduplicated disk enables more layers in the software stack (e.g., hypervisor, application, and storage), which allows administrators of different types to drive their own backups and recoveries. This has a direct positive impact on backup and recovery windows and SLAs, and should really open the door to more and better innovation. Yes, backup and recovery windows continue to spur innovation in this industry, but the big difference today is that innovation is no longer just happening within IT departments, and by backup vendors alone, but by hypervisor, application, and storage vendors too. what is the connection between the cloud and backup? Here again, this really comes down to the concept of time to deliver. Organizations go to the cloud because they want to improve their responsiveness to business needs. Remember, a fully virtualized cloud environment enables organizations to deliver IT as a Service. But as much as the industry likes to talk about technology the fastest new processor, the newest flash memory, etc. the biggest thing that slows organizations down on this journey is the communication between two human beings on different teams not network speed, processor speed, or disk speed. As one customer told me, I have more bandwidth between an oil rig and my data center than I have between two administrators in adjacent cubicles. Backup teams need to pull themselves out of the muck that has become daily backup. In doing so, they will gain the trust of application owners and position themselves to provide value. Remember, backup teams have the power to accelerate or decelerate business initiatives. So, to be able to hit time to objectives and to accelerate the journey to, or within the cloud, to the point where IT as a Service is possible, things have to happen automatically. Backup has to happen automatically. If an organization has to pick up the phone to set up a backup or run a recovery, it has compromised its journey. Backup has to become an integrated, seamless part of the journey to the cloud, and to do this successfully, backup teams need to transform their environment, to be more flexible, integrated smarter. why is backup transformation needed and what does it look like? One of the primary jobs of an IT organization is provide end-users with the infrastructure and services they need to continue to evolve their businesses, and this includes the backup environment. The trouble is, traditional backup and recovery infrastructures fall way short, lacking the flexibility, agility, and scale to support a services-oriented approach.
5 What s needed is a new architecture one that is designed for a rapidly changing landscape, across people, process, and infrastructure. Think of it as an internal backup cloud or protection cloud. This type of environment gives end-users and application owners visibility and control over the data that they require, plus it gives the backup team the platform it needs to automate key tasks, federate management, and provide a rich set of value-added services to data owners. These services include things like centralized reporting, backup policy management, cataloging/indexing, and storage management (e.g., replication, encryption, and long-term retention). In addition, as with any service offerings, users can leverage different services, depending on their specific requirements and SLAs: A complete protection solution with integrated backup software and storage. Protection storage services to extend the life of legacy software backup infrastructure. Protection storage services for zero-touch backups (e.g., Oracle RMAN writing directly to protection storage). While this type of architecture represents a new way of thinking and doing backup, it works with and within existing backup infrastructures; it doesn t impose any one-size fits all lock on end-users or application owners; and it doesn t require organizations to rip and replace infrastructures. Rather, it gives organizations the freedom to use the mechanisms they are comfortable with while benefiting from a new centralized disk back-end. Regardless of the level of services provided, this type of approach entices end-users by delivering value versus trying to centralize backup via executive order.
6 What steps can I take today to start transforming my backup environment? As we ve discussed, backup has the power to accelerate or decelerate business initiatives. Too often, however, organizations look for silver bullet technologies. While choosing the right technology is important, success is also largely dependent on the backup team s ability to: 1. Stop worrying about daily troubleshooting. The right tools, technologies and processes are put in place to minimize daily management activity. The backup team stops worrying about loading tapes, maintaining complex backup schedule spreadsheets, and performing constant fire drills to improve backup success rates. Now, they have time to think about the bigger business picture. Transformation is all about creating a scalable service offering that delivers what organizations need when they need it seamlessly and efficiently. 2. Win-over application owners and users. It s amazing how quickly other teams will leverage a centralized backup service if they get the performance, reliability, and visibility they crave. After all, they all have challenges beyond backup that they would love to address. 3. Automate backup. Backup stops becoming something that organizations even think about. There is an innate expectation that their data is going to be available whatever version they need, whenever they need it, and however they need it. This is the key step for improving time to. Once the application and virtualization teams know they ve got a scalable, reliable safety net, they ll accelerate their own journeys to the cloud. Why? They know that, even if they make a mistake, their backups are there to keep them safe. What cool stuff does a transformed backup environment do? Transformation is all about creating a scalable service offering that delivers what organizations need when they need it seamlessly and efficiently. End-users the lines of business simply sign up for what they need, and they get it. It just works. It s not about ripping and replacing existing backup infrastructures. However, the biggest benefit of a transformed backup environment is speed the all-important time to deliver business value. As end-users spin up new applications, the protection is already in place. There is no waiting, no worrying, and no need to pick up the phone. End-users focus on doing what s right for the business. Because they know their data is safe, they are free to think about leveraging technology to enhance their business. For example: A financial services company is using transformed backups to accelerate expansion into worldwide operations because they know their data, wherever it is, is safe. With EMC Data Domain deduplication storage systems as a foundation, this company not only trusts that its local backup will succeed but also protects again site loss.
7 A technology company is using transformed backups to improve product development cycles. Traditionally, they had constrained the size of NAS shares to limit backup/ recovery exposure. The company artificially split projects into smaller pieces, which complicated the development process and irritated developers. With EMC Avamar deduplication software and systems driving an order of magnitude performance transformation, they can now share all project data on one central share which drives productivity. A retail organization is using transformed backups to improve customer profiling and accelerate business. Historically, all database backups ran through the backup team. The DBAs had no visibility into whether their databases were truly recoverable, and they had to depend on the backup team to run all of the recoveries from row to table to database. As a result, the DBAs were extraordinarily adverse to change. When the backup team offered Data Domain systems as a service for the DBAs to run their own backups, the entire culture changed. The team was confident in their ability to protect and recover the databases. They became more aggressive at implementing database changes enabling them to better analyze customer data, which improved business. When an organization truly believes in its backup infrastructure, it can truly leverage its IT to drive the business and that s powerful. How do I get started? It is very rare that someone gets to walk into an IT department with a clean sheet of paper and build the perfect backup solution from scratch. However, there are steps backup teams can take to transform their existing environments: ü Step 1: Find and implement the right disk platform: a purpose-built backup appliance. Remember, it s all about getting the backup team out of the weeds out of the daily troubleshooting and thinking more strategically. To do this, the backup team needs to find a disk-based platform to anchor its environments. This is the single, fastest way to create a worry-free backup environment, and droves of organizations are doing it.
8 The right disk platform eliminates common tape problems (e.g., not having enough tape media slots, multiplexing, etc.), removes common bottleneck issues, and makes it possible to perform quick recoveries while backups are running. This may seem like a simplistic, obvious step one that organizations have been taking for a decade. However, if you haven t done it yet, it s the easiest way to make any backup environment healthier without making any changes to backup software or backup policies, or needing to hire new staff. ü Step 2: Start working with the biggest pain point users and find solutions to their biggest problems. Look for the group that is the most dissatisfied with backup and win them over. It s that simple. In doing so, they become the biggest advocates for the backup team internally and with this support, the backup team can replicate the success across other lines of business. Generally, the biggest pain point users are either the high-end application user (read: your most-challenging DBA), the high-end virtualization administrator, or in some cases, the NAS administrator. In any of these cases, understand their challenges and find a backup mechanism that enables them to protect their environment more efficiently. Discuss backup issues, processes, and goals, and talk about specific technologies or solutions to address these problems. ü Step 3: Add value-added services and share them across your environment. This is really the fun part of the job. At this point, the backup team has proven itself to its customers. Now, the team can start to add extra value. I have seen the valueadd range from: Charge-back Ensuring that each team is paying for what they protect; bringing transparency to the business. Security Encryption and replication services to ensure that data never ends up in the wrong hands. Compliance Centralized reporting to prove SLAs are being met and there is compliance with the ever-increasing array of regulations. Disaster recovery Moving data offsite; in some cases supporting rapid VMware and application recovery. Long-term retention Ensuring that backup and archival data remain accessible for regulatory or e-discovery purposes. Breadth of coverage Remote offices? Desktops/laptops? Perhaps these were always on the to-do list. Now you can roll out the solutions quickly and efficiently. Data protection management Allowing realtime reporting and analysis to proactively intercept problems before they occur, and manage overall costs.
9 do only large enterprises benefit from transforming their backup environments? Definitely not. In fact, backup transformation is as important to commercial and smaller companies as it is to the largest enterprises. Unlike larger shops, commercial and smaller companies don t have an army of specialists to throw at the backup problem. They don t have the resources to hire consultants to band-aid the problem for them. They have to fix the problem themselves. In fact, they hope to take share from bigger companies by leveraging their data and technology to innovate. To do this, they need to know their data is safe. Regardless of size, organizations still benefit from a centralized backup environment that can provide services. However, for the smaller shops, end-users may be interested in backup, archival, long-term retention, and disaster recovery services. Also, because smaller companies often don t have a secondary site, they may need a way to send data off-site for disaster recovery purposes. What these shops really need to do is back up locally and then replicate to a trusted provider for offsite DR. To do this, they need bandwidth-efficient, secure, and reliable replication that integrates with their service providers of choice. What makes EMC s approach to backup smarter? The idea of a services-oriented backup approach is not unique to EMC; remember, it is traced to three long-standing technology and market trends. However, EMC is executing on this approach in a way that clearly differentiates it in the market. As we ve discussed, one of the core technologies of this type of model is the disk backup layer, and not any disk will do. Backup teams need a disk backup infrastructure that is going to give them the short-term wins we discussed above, while providing a foundation for agile growth in the future. No one can create a faster path to transformation than EMC can. Not only does EMC have the market-leading purpose-built backup appliances to do this, but we also have the backup software technology that s needed to manage this type of environment easily and efficiently, which is essential to a services-oriented approach to backup. Finally but equally important EMC provides an easier route to integrate with the data mover and data management mechanisms that end-users want. EMC has leading client backup software; we have primary storage with which we will continue to integrate; we have deep integration with Oracle (as well as integration with Greenplum and Teradata) on the application side; and we have a natural affinity with VMware that we will continue to enhance. For these reasons, we believe our approach is more effective. We have the right pieces, the right organization, and the best talent in the industry. No one can help organizations create a faster path to backup transformation than we can.
10 EMC Has You Covered The most-critical first piece of a services-oriented approach to backup is a flexible, scalable, disk back-end. Some customers choose to begin with EMC Data Domain integrated with their existing backup application like EMC NetWorker. Others may choose to begin with EMC Avamar to address specific challenges within their virtualized, file server/nas, or remote office environments. Either way, the deduplication-optimized disk layer will deliver immediate value and create a foundation for long-term value-add. Add EMC Data Protection Advisor for automated analysis and alerting for your entire environment. EMC also has the technology stack to enable the backup team to deliver value-added services: centralized reporting (via EMC Data Protection Advisor); centralized policy management and cataloging (via EMC Avamar and EMC NetWorker); and centralized storage management (via EMC Avamar and EMC Data Domain). Contact Us To learn more about how EMC products, services, and solutions can help solve your business and IT challenges, contact your local representative or authorized reseller or visit us at
11 EMC 2, EMC, the EMC logo, Avamar, Data Domain, Greenplum, and NetWorker are registered trademarks or trademarks of EMC Corporation in the United States and other countries. VMware is a registered trademark of VMware, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. Copyright 2012 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. Published in the USA. 4/12 Handout H9739 EMC believes the information in this document is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice.