It’s that time of year again, and, no, I’m not talking about the time to make resolutions. You should have already done that. (And if you’re surprised that it’s 2012, put down the DLT IV tape cartridge, turn off the Chumbawamba CD and walk outside.) It’s the time of year when bloggers use the “reflections and predictions” theme as a crutch for a post or two. (And trust me, anyone still using ‘Chumbawamba’ punchlines needs any crutch he can find.)
For those of us who have watched customers flock to disk-based data protection solutions like a phototropic plant bending toward light, 2011 marked the end of a remarkable 10-year run. The shift to disk started slowly with low-cost ATA disk arrays and burst into hyper-drive with deduplication. Within the last 10 years, the question shifted from – “Why would I put disk in my backup infrastructure?” to “You don’t have a dedupe backup appliance?!?”
As deduplicated disk accelerated its inexorable march (would that now make it a relentless double march?) to displace other backup media, we tracked three key emerging trends.
Versioned replication – it ain’t just for storage anymore. For the last decade, storage vendors have waxed eloquently about versioned replication between two of their storage arrays. “You can back up only changed data and storing each version as a space optimized full!” In 2011, non-storage vendors embraced versioned replication, to customer acclaim. Versioned replication has finally moved from niche to mainstream. Users aren’t asking “should they implement it” but “how or where they should implement it” – at the backup, storage, application or virtual sever layer?
Going tapeless – less talking and more tossing. We’ve had discontent with tape, catchy slogans and explosive growth in backup appliances. Still, prior to 2011, most customers saw truly “going tapeless” as an aspiration, not a plan. And, in 2011, many companies crossed the tipping point. They proved the stability of dedupe disk, bought new cost-effective disk-based solutions for long-term archival (e.g., Data Domain Archiver) and drove pragmatic negotiations to set sensible retention policies (“keep it forever” being the business equivalent of renting multiple apartments to hold all your old People magazines). The result? Many companies have rolled tape straight out the door (see video below).
One ring will not rule them all; a federation will unite them. Backup teams stopped fantasizing about exercising absolute control by consolidating onto one centralized backup solution that they own. With complex legacy environments, mergers/acquisitions, a broad constituency of stakeholders (e.g., storage, application, and hypervisor admins) and new workloads (e.g., big data), the goal isn’t one-size-fits-all homogeneity. Instead, successful groups provide centralized backup storage services that can serve their broad and distributed backup constituency. Once they’ve regained control over the actual backup data, they use data protection management tools (e.g., EMC Data Protection Adviser) to gain visibility into their federated protection environments. This insight enables them to provide even better services for their customers.
For some of you, the trends of 2011 may be your 2012 future. For those who have already taken those steps, we have some predictions about what’s awaiting you in 2012. But you’ll have to tune in next week to find out. By then, we will have – “Chumbawamba – Where are They Now?” for you. (We would do “Tape – Where is it Now?” as well, but I made a New Year’s Resolution to avoid dark, depressing places.)
The Right Architecture Is Priceless, Part IEvolving data protection technology and expanding requirements have completely transformed the backup industry. Unfortunately, with such rapid change, many organizations have fallen into the chaos of an accidental architecture.