EMC Backup: What To Do When More Just Isn’t Good Enough

EMC brought press and analysts to New York for a couple of days of briefings on a major refresh of its Backup Recovery Systems Division product portfolio, but just increasing its already dominant position in this segment was only the tip of the iceberg. Yes, there were a bunch of product enhancements and introductions, but the world’s dominant storage vendor wants to disrupt the backup and recovery (and restore, aka BUR/BURR) market.

Backup is broken, with recent research showing that 57% of companies have experienced data loss in the last 12 months, and 77% of decision makers are not confident they could fully recover, said Rob Emsley, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Backup Recovery Systems Division, EMC. The costs to businesses include 43% loss of employee productivity, 29% loss of revenue, and 29% loss of customer confidence. The company wants to try and move customers from Accidental Architectures — a fragmented set of data protection processes and infrastructure silos, the ownership of which is often unclear — to much more of a structured environment, Protection Storage Architectures, said Emsley, from a task you perform to a service you consume. These new architectures feature data management services (providing policy and storage management, monitoring, analytics and discovery), sitting on top of data source integration (virtual and physical environments, applications and primary storage) and protection storage (consolidated pools of storage for data protection).

The backup blitz is a huge enhancement to EMC’s data protection suite, said David Goulden, President & COO. “It changes the traditional backup mode. It lets you treat backup, archive and disaster recovery together… this is a real game changer.”

Over the last five years EMC has spent $5 billion – a combination of R&D and acquisitions — on backup and recovery, he said. As a result, EMC is the leader in the overall backup market, and accounted for almost 76% of last year’s purpose-built backup appliance (PBBA) market.

However staying on top, especially when you’re saying backup is broken and your new theme is [ital] Backup to the Future, will require change. Much like BYOD, bring your own device, IT has been run over by end users and blindsided, said Guy Churchward, President, Backup Recovery Systems Division, EMC.

“We are starting to disrupt ourselves… as part of this announcement.” The huge data deluge has created BYOB — bring your own backup, and accidental architectures, he said.

The current situation is that when you drive scale up to deal with the rapid growth, complexity and costs also go up, and that’s wrong, said Churchward. “If you get it right, you can drive scale up, but also drive complexity and cost down.”

Part of this getting it right will include a greater focus on open standards, said Stephen Manley, CTO, Backup Recovery Systems Division. There will also be convergence of the Avamar and NetWorker products. For many years backup has failed to keep up with the changes that have gone on elsewhere in the IT ecosystem, and as a result, they now have to run faster than the rest.

Emsley said EMC’s focus will move from individual brands to the Data Protection Suite. “We have plans to develop a converged solution ( Avamar and NetWorker) over the coming years.

This is a journey, said Hugues Meyrath, VP Product Management and Business Development, Backup And Recovery Systems Division, and customers can opt for best-of-breed products or complete solutions. However it’s the architecture which brings everything together, he said.

“What we’re really trying to do is backup-less backup. We’ve made enough progress… we can actually bring all this together from a best-of-breed perspective.”

One way EMC differentiates itself from the pack is not viewing itself as a backup vendor, said Emsley. Its breadth, from primary storage and virtualization (VMware) to information management (i.e. Documentum) and security (RSA) allow it a broader perspective.

Going forward, we see ourselves as having a catalog for all of EMC, not just backup, so becoming a one-stop shop, said Hugues Meyrath, VP Product Management and Business Development, Backup Recovery Systems Division. You have to be the best protection for Isilon, VNX and VMAX, removing the complexities of how we’re going to protect them, manage them.

“Why do backup at all?” What you really need is different copies of your data, said Meyrath, without the operational processes of backup, and the ability to restore information within seconds.



Author: Steve Wexler

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