Maintaining Business Continuity with Disk-Based Backup and Recovery Solutions

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1 I D C V E N D O R S P O T L I G H T Maintaining Business Continuity with Disk-Based Backup and Recovery Solutions March 2008 Adapted from Worldwide Data Protection and Recovery Software Forecast: The Focus on Compressing Recovery Requirements by Laura DuBois, IDC # Sponsored by Hewlett-Packard As midsize and large enterprises continue to create, use, and store digital information, demand for more efficient data backup and recovery solutions is growing. An explosive increase in data, as well as the need to cut costs, is forcing companies to reassess their approach to backup and recovery and consider disk-based solutions and associated software. This Vendor Spotlight describes the growing need for data backup and recovery solutions, the advantages of disk-based systems, and the software required to manage these systems. The paper also looks at the role of Hewlett-Packard's (HP's) Data Protector software in this strategically important market. Introduction: Reassessing Data Protection The continued exponential growth of data and longer retention requirements have created a new set of challenges for IT managers and business owners. More data created and stored translates into more data to be protected. When storage requirements are combined with the push for greener IT, the problem no longer can be solved by adding capacity reassessment of the data protection architecture, technologies, and processes must take place to achieve desired results. According to an IDC study, the amount of data created and stored has increased fiftyfold over a three-year period. At the same time, backup windows either have not changed or have contracted. The explosive growth of digital data is occurring in organizations of every size. In addition, increased regulatory and legal pressures have contributed greatly to the upsurge of data that is maintained for an extended period of time. Enterprises are struggling to answer questions such as, "What happens if an outage causes data loss?" and "How can an organization maintain regulatory compliance and business continuity in spite of data growth?" The expansion of operations globally, increased online customer communications, and use of offshore resources have put pressure on IT to decrease planned and unplanned downtime and deliver more stringent recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs). In the event of a disaster, there is tremendous pressure to recover data, and the processes that depend on that data, as quickly as possible. Organizations are beginning to realize that they will be faced with a data protection crisis unless they take proactive steps in addressing evolving challenges. The deluge of data in need of protection, the shrinking backup windows, and the emerging complexities in storage environments are driving managers to consider new approaches to data protection and management as a way to tame the data beast. Additional demands for granular recovery of critical applications have forced IT managers to consider emerging technologies that deliver near-continuous data protection with smaller intervals between recovery points. IDC 635

2 Though business owners demand faster recovery and fewer downtimes, they are not willing to spend significantly more and often look to do more with less. Activities such as consolidation, technology refreshes, and implementation of tiered storage are initiatives that are driven by costs. As a result, organizations are looking for solutions that simplify data management and enable businesses to ensure operational continuity, data protection, and compliance and litigation support without putting strain on the bottom line. Tape Versus Disk Solutions Unfortunately, the costs associated with replacing existing backup systems or updating infrastructure are forcing enterprises to look for solutions that leverage existing assets and deliver the greatest impact for every dollar spent. Tape-based systems have served as the primary target and repository for data backups, but emerging challenges are driving many managers to consider augmenting tape with disk systems. There are significant inherent issues with physical tape related to performance, recoverability, and reliability. Tape-based environments often experience delays due to robotics, risk failure as a consequence of lack of redundancy, suffer from the effects of "shoeshining," and expose data to security breaches at the time of manually transporting cartridges offsite. Disk-based backup for digital data frequently has better performance than tape drives, which rely on the physical movement of the recording medium or the reading head. "Shoeshining" is what can happen when a linear tape drive runs out of data kept in its buffer and has to slow down or stop and wait until more data arrives. Today's tape drives spin very fast; having to slow down or stop takes time, causing the head to jump too far ahead on the media. Before resuming writing of data, the head must rewind the tape and reposition itself. This forward and backward motion is referred to as "shoeshining" and causes degradation in performance and reliability (through wear and tear) of the drive. Unlike tape drives, disk drives are random access media and don't succumb to performance penalties as a result of inconsistent data flow. Backup streams can write to disk as fast or slow as possible. Aggregating data through multiplexing can make restoring data via the tape drive even more time consuming; jobs can become fractured and written in segments intertwined with other jobs along the tape, requiring numerous stop, forward, and read motions to recover a single file or data set. The random access nature of disk eliminates this problem. Disk drives also allow faster recovery of data because the process is not limited to a linear operation as when using a tape drive. Regardless of the order in which data was written, access to that data in a recovery scenario is instant. Integrating disk systems into a backup environment requires a change in the architecture. A few approaches have helped mitigate the impact of adding disk. One such technology is virtual tape library, or VTL. VTL software emulates physical tape drive and cartridge characteristics, fooling the backup application into thinking it is writing to physical tape and not disk. This approach makes adding disk less disruptive. VTL also addresses the need to share storage resources across the media and backup servers; this issue can also be addressed with a network-attached storage (NAS) interface. Finally, using VTL and NAS has made it possible to deploy capacity optimization technologies that were not available on SCSI, FC, or iscsi attached storage. Initially, optimization was delivered as data compression, similar to compression available on physical tape drives. Recently, another form of capacity optimization has become available on VTL and NAS systems. Deduplication removes redundant data sets, enabling superior space utilization. Datacenter consolidation enhances the challenges already being experienced by enterprises due to data growth and increasing complexity of the infrastructure. The adoption of disk systems as part of the data protection solution is viewed as instrumental in addressing emerging problems. New technologies will initially become available as standalone offerings but will be integrated into legacy systems providing flexibility in defining recovery levels based on applications IDC

3 Data Protection with Disk There are a number of ways disk can be used for data protection purposes. The following are just a few ways disk has been used:! Disk to disk (D2D) with backup application (NAS, deduplication, VTL). The most common approach to inserting disk into an existing backup system is to allocate a LUN on a storage array. There have been some challenges with this approach, initially resulting in the adoption of VTL. VTL simplifies the implementation of disk in a backup system with limited disruption to the existing flow and yet achieves the benefits of disk such as performance, reliability, and replication. Other approaches that help make disk a feasible solution include NAS. Recently, a new feature has been added to both VTL and NAS deduplication. Though compression has been available on VTL for some time, deduplication achieves superior optimization results and can be deployed on NAS, VTL, or block storage. Deduplication enables enterprises to store more data on disk for a longer period of time without incurring the penalty of higher power and cooling consumption as well as the need for more facilities.! Replication and snapshots. Disk can be applied in a number of ways to provide data protection. Many array systems offer snapshotting and mirroring capabilities. These capabilities are at the block level most commonly, but are more frequent than a traditional backup, allowing for faster restores of data in case of corruptions, viruses, and deletions. When mirroring is implemented across distances (replication), it allows for the moving of data offsite for business continuity enablement. With snapshots and replication, enterprises can protect their data assets from recent corruptions, deletions, or viruses. But there are limitations. System snapshots are not application or file system aware, except when Microsoft Visual SourceSafe (VSS) is applied, making recovery of an individual file impossible without the recovery of the whole volume. For longer retention, snapshots and replication are expensive approaches, making storing backups online inefficient and costly.! Continuous data protection. This is a combination of snapshots and replication with a separate storage system. Many continuous data protection solutions provide data protection on disk on a continuous basis, reaching zero RPO. The challenges are that the more sophisticated solutions in the market support only Windows, require a third-party deployment application that's not managed by the umbrella backup system, and can be costly to deploy. There are near-continuous data protection solutions that are either standalone or part of an existing backup software. The near-continuous data protection approach offers a more frequent snapshot of the data, but not on a continuous basis. The implementation of near-continuous data protection is not as disruptive or costly as the implementation of continuous data protection. These approaches can be deployed individually or as part of the overall data protection system and are not exclusive, requiring the deployment of one or the other. The approach selected by an organization will depend on the application, systems, business requirements, and personnel skills available IDC 3

4 Considering Hewlett-Packard Data protection challenges are great, and HP is addressing these challenges in line with the requirements provided by businesses. The company's combination of software and hardware products is intended to answer the need for data protection, disaster recovery, and business continuity. HP's solutions are designed to help enterprises increase data availability and security as well as meet regulatory and compliance obligations. According to HP, its disaster and recovery products help customers manage explosive growth of business-critical data by stretching capacity, multiplying storage management productivity, and reducing application downtime. HP's portfolio of storage solutions includes open, standards-based software that supports heterogeneous storage and adds value to specific HP StorageWorks hardware. This portfolio includes data protection and recovery, storage resource management, archiving, replication, and device management software. The software also fully integrates with the HP OpenView management solutions, enabling data management and protection to be an essential element of overall IT service and support. The HP StorageWorks disk-based solutions include storage area network (SAN) and NAS products. HP Data Protector A key component of HP's disaster and recovery software product line is HP Data Protector backup and recovery software. This software automates high-performance backup and recovery, both locally and remotely, to enable 24 x 7 business continuity and improve IT resource utilization. HP Data Protector is scalable, enabling an organization to grow its continuous backup and recovery operations using a single product. In addition, the software allows centralized data management to enable multisite changes and real-time adaptation to changing business requirements. It is used by mediumsized and large enterprises. HP Data Protector features tight integration not only with HP OpenView but also with the entire HP StorageWorks software portfolio that includes storage resource management, archiving, replication, and device management software. The software lets the manager decide on RPOs and RTOs. HP Data Protector reportedly provides the functionality that makes it possible to achieve desired protection levels seamlessly:! If RPOs or RTOs need to be met, HP Data Protector offers several levels of disk-based protection, from online backup, to backup to VTL or disk, to zero impact backup and restore using array-based replication.! If an organization needs to move data offsite or attain better performance, HP provides virtual tape solutions with compression and deduplication, replication capabilities, and snapshots on the HP StorageWorks platform. Market Challenge An important challenge HP faces is convincing non-hp customers that HP Software solutions will provide support for customer environments equal to that of third-party software providers. However, solutions such as HP Data Protector are vendor-agnostic and offer a broad spectrum of features that address the need for protecting databases, files, , and other data sets that represent a company's information assets IDC

5 Conclusion Companies face the challenge of protecting ever-increasing amounts of data without incurring exponential increases in costs. Enterprises must take time to determine the goals they need to attain, understand the resources available to manage any given solution, and then evaluate options in the market that address these predefined requirements. In the long run, IDC expects that a major transition to next-generation data protection software architectures will occur, but this transition will happen over the long term. Next-generation data protection architectures will need to provide features such as content awareness, indexing and search, sophisticated policies, recovery-oriented service-level tracking, data and content security, and the ability to meet various RTOs and RPOs. However, IDC finds that data protection and recovery is, and will continue to be, an essential component in securing a firm's increasingly valuable data from physical or logical failures. HP has been focused on delivering a solution for any requirement. The challenges HP faces moving forward are to educate the market and the channel about the technologies it can deliver and how these technologies translate into solutions that address the preidentified needs and to facilitate policy-driven management that is centralized and standard across all technologies. Based on its successful track record and ability to overcome its challenges, HP should be considered by any medium-sized to large organization looking to supplement or improve its backup and recovery solutions. A B O U T T H I S P U B L I C A T I O N This publication was produced by IDC Go-to-Market Services. The opinion, analysis, and research results presented herein are drawn from more detailed research and analysis independently conducted and published by IDC, unless specific vendor sponsorship is noted. IDC Go-to-Market Services makes IDC content available in a wide range of formats for distribution by various companies. A license to distribute IDC content does not imply endorsement of or opinion about the licensee. C O P Y R I G H T A N D R E S T R I C T I O N S Any IDC information or reference to IDC that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from IDC. For permission requests, contact the GMS information line at or Translation and/or localization of this document requires an additional license from IDC. For more information on IDC, visit For more information on IDC GMS, visit Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA USA P F IDC 5

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