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EMC battles rogue backups

Joab Jackson | July 10, 2013
EMC is providing new controls that will allow its storage systems to handle backup, archiving and disaster recovery.

With a new set of hardware and software releases, EMC is promising to simplify its customers' storage infrastructure by combining different types of operation into a single EMC system.

"We see this convergence of storage with modern systems, where you can think about backup, archiving and disaster recovery as an integrated process, rather than three separate processes," said David Goulden, president and chief operating officer of EMC.

On Wednesday, the company will unveil a new midrange tier of Data Domain storage systems, updates to its Avamar and NetWorker backup software, and an update to its Mozy data storage service. The updates are part of a new approach to storage EMC is developing, one it says will allow its customers to use their primary storage systems to execute backup, archiving and disaster recovery functions as well.

"You can't just keep backing up data the way you did before. You need more intelligence in the backup system," Goulden said. "Backup software is moving up a level, and is becoming more of a catalogue and journaling of all the things in the protection storage tier."

When it comes to storage, many organizations have what Goulden calls an "accidental architecture." Part of the problem stems from how organizations run their backup networks separately from their storage networks, Goulden said. The backup systems have their own policies about when they back up material and how quickly they provide a copy when the original is compromised.

Many program managers have opted to create their own backup systems, either in the cloud or using an additional on-premise system. As a result, many organizations have, in effect, rogue backup systems that can drive up IT costs and potentially create architectural complexity and security issues.

EMC's pitch is to integrate the backup and archiving functions within the storage infrastructure itself, rather than to run each as a stand-alone system, Goulden explained.

Most organizations have used EMC storage for their primary storage. The company is now working to provide controls for widely used third-party applications that would allow administrators to manage backups from directly within the applications themselves.

"We see that traditional backup industry transitioning. Backup is becoming a feature, not a product," Goulden said.

As part of this week's launch, EMC has introduced the Data Domain DD2500, DD4200, DD4500 and DD7200 systems. For this set of Data Domain releases, EMC has developed plug-ins for SAP HANA and Oracle Exadata systems that would offer administrators of these programs the option of backing them up to Data Domain. The company has also created integration points with archiving applications from OpenText, IBM and Dell.

While tape backups are often seen as a less expensive alternative to disks, Goulden argued that disk-based systems can bring a return on the additional investment. Data Domain systems, for instance, have deduplication technologies that can cut storage requirements by as much as 30 percent. An organization can also use the disk backups as the basis of a disaster recovery system, which would eliminate the cost of running a separate system for that functionality, Goulden said.


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