The scramble is on to solve recovery puzzle: virtual tape, MAID, SRM are some leading solutions.
If you took a poll, the most popular buzzword A term that refers to the latest technology or a term that sounds catchy. If not a flash in the pan, new technologies become mainstream. For example, Java was a hot buzzword in the 1990s, but should remain a major topic for decades. in the mass storage industry would be "information lifecycle management Information Lifecycle Management refers to a wide-ranging set of strategies for administering storage systems on computing devices. Specifically, four categories of storage strategies may be considered under the auspices of ILM. ." But with all the developments that we have seen in storage--disk-to-disk backup, disk-to-disk-to-tape backup and archival, storage resource management software, virtualization An umbrella term for enhancing a computer's ability to do work. Following are the ways virtualization is used.
Partitioning the computer's memory into separate and isolated "virtual machines" simulates multiple machines within one physical computer. solutions, better connectivity--the issue of recovery continues be a primary concern in the data center. This is true for the enterprise, the small-to-medium enterprise, and the increasingly popular small-to-medium business segment of potential storage consumers.
Regular readers already know that the management of storage is the management of complexity. The management of recovery is absolutely the same. As veteran Gartner analyst Carolyn di Cenzo says: "Recovery is getting more complex as more options are made available. It's hard to keep track of what the best recovery vehicle is if you take advantage of all these new things."
From Replica to Virtual Tape
Areas that seem to bear watching are the replication and virtual tape spaces. Historically, replicas are volume-level recovery tools, and in a disaster recovery scenario this kind of replication is important. But it is a waste of time and effort to restore a single file from a volume. The trick is to provide volume-level replication with file-level recovery. Di Cenzo points at the work that Network Appliance (1) A specialized device for use on a network. For example, Web servers, cache servers and file servers can be implemented as general-purpose computers with the appropriate software or as network appliances, which are computers dedicated to a single function and cannot do anything and Sybase have been doing. Sybase, especially, offers their V21 Protector, which is a bare metal 1. bare metal - New computer hardware, unadorned with such snares and delusions as an operating system, an HLL, or even assembler. Commonly used in the phrase "programming on the bare metal", which refers to the arduous work of bit bashing needed to create these basic tools recovery product. It is possible to create the bare metal images while the server is live--no shutdown. The image can be updated incrementally. It also does single file recovery.
Virtual tape libraries (VTLs) also offer a popular alternative with such companies as IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries) , Quantum, Overland Storage Overland Storage was founded in 1980 in San Diego, California. Known as Overland Data until June 2002, the company is a manufacturer of robotic tape libraries and related data storage equipment. Overland originially manufactured IBM compatible 9 track tape drives. , and FalconStor participating. With virtual tape solutions, data is backed up on a nearline disk array (usually SATA (Serial ATA) A serial version of the ATA (IDE) interface, which has been the de facto standard hard disk interface for desktop PCs for more than two decades. The original Parallel ATA (PATA) interface was launched in 1986. disks) and then later moved to tape. Nearline storage Nearline storage (where Nearline is a contraction of Near-online) is a term used in computer science to describe an intermediate type of data storage. It is a compromise between online storage (constant, very rapid access to data) and offline storage (infrequent offers higher transfer rates, but typically not with the economy of a tape solution. One of the questions that an end user might ask an integrator is whether the VTL See virtual tape library. solution will support all the agents that are required to do a complete server backup. Di Cenzo brings up the example of Avamar, which does file backup, but doesn't have agents for Exchange or Oracle.
Perhaps the most appealing thing that VTL brings to the data center is familiarity. Backup to tape is a known quantity, with years of use in almost every installation. A user gets the disk speed advantages, but there is no need to reinvent backup for the data center. Recovery may be from disk, but the operation has the look and feel of mounting a tape. They can clone to a real tape for offsite storage. If the user clones the data, the backup software See backup program.
(tool, software) backup software - Software for doing a backup, often included as part of the operating system.
Backup software should provide ways to specify what files get backed up and to where. remembers that you have the clone--an advantage of media management.
Speed is often of the essence, especially with the backup window shrinking to extinction. Companies such as Arkivio address this crucial problem.
One newer approach addressing the issue comes from Massachusetts-based Sepaton. This company offers a synthetic full backup See backup types. by dramatically reducing the time it takes to perform a full backup operation. Unlike other approaches, this application runs on the SEPATON S2100 data protection platform and integrates with currently deployed backup/restore infrastructure. By leveraging the S2100's ContentAware architecture, synthetic full backup builds full-backup datasets in minutes versus days by removing the time-consuming step of physically copying data to build the new backup. This breakthrough allows end users to have off-site replications of their data days before it would be available using traditional processes.
Another high-powered disk appliance leveraging virtual tape comes from Copan, who has partnered with FalconStor software. The value in this appliance is that it is partitioned and managed in such wise that it is easier to use in a backup application.
Copan uses a MAID-based technology that allows Serial ATA See SATA.
Serial ATA - Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) disks in an array to be started and stopped when access to a particular piece of data, on a specific drive, is needed. Copan thinks it can deliver a fast, reliable disk-based solution for backup and recovery at a tape-competitive cost. Their array architecture is designed to prolong the life of SATA drives, which were never designed to spin continuously, at SCSI SCSI
in full Small Computer System Interface
Once common standard for connecting peripheral devices (disks, modems, printers, etc.) to small and medium-sized computers. SCSI has given way to faster standards, such as Firewire and USB. duty cycles.
SRM (1) (Storage Resource Management) The management of the storage resources in an organization in order to avoid duplication of files and to determine space utilization across all servers. Needs Cross-Platform Performance
Storage resource management (SRM) software is often looked at as a solution for the problems of recovery. This makes sense when you consider that the resources that lend themselves to fast recovery are evaporating. Business executives that know more about distressing budgets than storage management are telling administrators that they will have to manage more terabytes with the same number of people. They have not yet realized that "doing more with less" is a myth that can only cause less efficiency in the data center rather than more.
To even flirt with a solution requires greater abilities to manage automation. And that is a vision of SRM. But until recently, effective integration of backup/restore with resource management has been anything but on the fast track. Anders Lofgren, vice president of BrightStor product management at Computer Associates, sensibly notes that: "Traditionally, SRM looked basically at disk, and didn't consider backup at all."
This is true. The thrust of SRM has been discovery, monitoring and reporting the allocation of storage resources to a variety of applications and business processes. "What's been lacking is integration," says Lofgren. That integration includes backup and restore strategies.
CA is addressing the problem with BrightStor r11.1. This new version delivers a common view--including full path visualization and critical path analysis--across distributed and mainframe assets via integration with BrightStor Storage Resource Manager (BrightStor SRM), BrightStor SAN Manager and BrightStor CA-Vantage SRM. This helps ensure optimum use of enterprise resources and boosts staff productivity through close collaboration with major storage hardware manufacturers including EMC (1) (EMC Corporation, Hopkinton, MA, www.emc.com) The leading supplier of storage products for midrange computers and mainframes. Founded in 1979 by Richard J. Egan and Roger Marino, EMC has developed advanced storage and retrieval technologies for the world's largest companies. , HP, Hitachi Data Systems See HDS. , IBM, Network Appliance, Inc. and Sun Microsystems, Inc. The company reports that BrightStor r11.1 enables users to select best-of-breed hardware, while providing the integrated enterprise view of their storage environment that is necessary to optimize resource utilization and minimize operating costs. BrightStor ARCserve Backup r11.1 enables customers to manage backup/recovery operations across heterogeneous environments, improving the efficiency of those operations and helping to ensure effective protection of all critical data assets. Databases and applications supported include Advantage Ingres, DB2, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server A relational DBMS from Microsoft that is a major component of the Windows Server System. It is Microsoft's high-end client/server database and is closely integrated with Microsoft Visual Studio and the Microsoft Office System. , Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP R/3 and Sybase.
CA reports that integration between BrightStor SRM and BrightStor ARC serve Backup enables IT managers to make smarter, business-driven decisions about data backup. Managers can better allocate staff resources and storage hardware based on the business value of the data--thereby reducing costs without compromising protection.
Being able to avoid compromises in protection is crucial. But part of that protection is the ability to readily recover data in a form that can be used. Virtual tape represents a current tactic in the battle for efficient recovery. And as SRM tools develop that emphasize cross-platform operation, file-level recovery capability and ease of use, perhaps it may be possible to reduce recovery-based concerns in the data center. It is very much a work in progress.