Archive for the ‘Cloud Storage’ Category

Tips for Running a Database as a Service

Yoav Eilat

Director of Product Marketing, Dell EMC
Yoav is Director of Product Marketing at Dell EMC, driving the marketing efforts for database and application solutions. He joined the EMC XtremIO team from Oracle, where he spent several years in the applications, middleware and enterprise management product teams. Yoav has an extensive background in enterprise software and data center technologies, and holds a B.Sc. in mathematics and computer science from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Latest posts by Yoav Eilat (see all)

Database as a Service (DBaaS) is becoming another one of those industry buzzwords that can mean almost anything. Obviously it has something to do with running databases in a cloud model. But technology vendors don’t hesitate to apply that term to any product that’s even remotely related to that topic. Database software? Yep, that’s DBaaS. Storage arrays for your database? That’s DBaaS too. A coffee machine? Probably!

For a serious discussion about DBaaS, it’s useful to look at the state of databases today. Data is the foundation on which modern businesses are built, and much of it lives in commonly used databases such as Oracle Database or Microsoft SQL Server. Database sprawl and the resultant explosive growth of database copies represent an enormous challenge for enterprise IT teams. In an IDC survey, 77% of enterprise IT decision makers said they have more than 200 instances of Oracle Databases or Microsoft SQL Servers in their data centers.

db-as-a-service

Source: IDC Data Management Survey for EMC, November, 2015

In the same survey, more than 80% said they have more than 10 copies of each given production instance, typically for development, testing, data center operations, analytics, data protection or disaster recovery. While database copies are critical for these business activities, database administrators have often been reluctant to expand the number of database copies, due to the hardware, software and administrative costs involved.

And it’s not just about costs: these databases are typically not standardized, and comprise of a wide range of versions, patch levels and configurations. This sprawl and lack of standardization make it challenging to manage governance and compliance, and to meet service-level agreements. Inefficient management tools and a lack of visibility into the copy infrastructure can exacerbate these challenges.

So how can databases be made available to critical business activities while keeping costs under control and delivering quick service and time to market? How do you set up an efficient cloud environment that will reduce complexity, ensure data availability and accelerate business processes? Let’s go through a checklist for making sure your DBaaS initiative is a success.  (more…)

5 Reasons to Consider Cloud-Ready Storage

Nicos Vekiarides

Vice President of Cloud Technology
Former co-founder and CEO of TwinStrata, Nicos Vekiarides is now Vice President of Cloud Technology following the acquisition of TwinStrata by EMC. In his 20+ years of experience, Nicos has led teams focused on revolutionizing storage virtualization, data replication and cloud storage.

Latest posts by Nicos Vekiarides (see all)

With proclamations of 2016 as the year of all flash storage, you may be tempted to think flash drives are the main consideration when choosing a storage array. However, a storage array has a variety of attributes that influence the purchasing decision, including a trusted brand, interoperability, availability, copy services and many others.

Cloud-readiness, or the array’s native ability to attach to cloud/object storage, is an attribute of storage arrays that is gaining prominence as part of the selection criteria. This is for a good reason, as cloud storage can balance the continuous need for on-premises and off-premises storage capacity with economics that make it viable.

cloud-ready-june-16

If you are wondering whether cloud-readiness should be part of your selection criteria, consider the following: (more…)

Data Recovery Versus Restoration: When it comes to SaaS Backup, Restore is Everything

Mat Hamlin

Director of Products for Spanning by Dell EMC
Mat is the Director of Products for Spanning by Dell EMC. He is responsible for the overall direction and strategy for Spanning's suite of SaaS backup and recovery solutions. His career in technology spans five startups and two large organizations, all in Austin, TX. Mat started out in product support and training, then engineering leadership and for the past nine years has been focused on product management and product marketing. Prior to joining Spanning, Mat served as Sr. Product Manager for SailPoint Technologies and Sun Microsystems, contributing to their market-leading enterprise identity management solutions.

As more organizations are moving their critical data to the cloud and leveraging SaaS applications like Google Apps, Office 365, and Salesforce, we’re witnessing a simultaneous evolution in the backup industry. These forward-thinking organizations are focusing not just on creating backup copies of data for safekeeping, but they’re also considering what it takes to maintain all facets of data protection, including business continuity, accessibility, and compliance. These goals require a new breed of backup. As we like to say at Spanning: Backup is one thing. Restore is everything. It won’t do you much good to just have your SaaS data backed up and stored somewhere unless you can get it back into your SaaS applications (along with metadata and customizations) quickly, easily, and accurately.

What’s the difference between recovery and restore?
Recovery simply means you get your data back – not that you get it back exactly the way it was. In the event of a data loss, you may be dismayed to find that your existing backup and recovery solution or provider defines recovery as exporting all versions of your backed-up SaaS application data and delivering them to you in a zipped folder containing nothing but a massive CSV file. That means your IT team will probably have to expend a lot of time and effort manually identifying precisely what data was lost, rebuilding your file structure the way you had it before, importing or restoring the data back into the application, and then validating it so everyone can finally get back to work. Data recovery is like someone handing you a giant stack of photos with a rubberband around it for you to recreate a scrapbook you had lovingly put together in chronological order with notes, decorations, and keepsakes for each photo.

data recovery

data recovery

Restore, on the other hand, means having that scrapbook returned to you in mint condition with all your memories perfectly intact – even if the original copy was completely destroyed. Translation? Data restoration means accurately and automatically returning your data directly back into your SaaS application, exactly the way it was before you lost it. Excellent backup and restore solutions will restore data from any point in time with file structure, metadata, and labels intact, while providing the flexibility to restore exactly what was lost – whether a single file from yesterday or an entire account from last year. Some solutions even make this process easy enough that an end user can do it in a few clicks without IT intervention. (more…)

Get a Snow Blower for Your Cold Data

Parasar Kodati

Product Marketing Manager
Parasar Kodati has more than ten years of experience in product management and marketing spanning scientific computing, embedded software development, and data acquisition technologies. When not working he may be found plotting with his mischievous daughter, cooking Indian street food or reading eastern philosophy.

I think it is safe to say that this past winter in the Boston area has been more like Spring. Unlike my three year old who is fond of using her shovel (the blue one pictured below) I and my back did not miss the snow. Nevertheless I was prepared with my arsenal to tackle snow on the car, drive way and the back yard. Here they are basking in the 70s in in a picture taken on March 10.

shovel

Cold Data is Accumulating much Faster than You Think
Cold data is something like a more normal snow fall in New England. We clear the car and drive way of the snow but can’t get rid of it completely. What is cold data? Data that is rarely accessed is referred to as cold data. Other names include static data or inactive data. While the chances of access of cold data are very slim, cold data however just sits around occupying valuable primary storage (which is rapidly becoming all flash!). For certain applications data starts to lose value quickly but still needs to be stored for a certain time frame.  A simple example is archive mail boxes. Another example is the rapid accumulation of device data, say from IoT sensors. Let us also note that archival data that is beyond short term back up also presents the same challenge. Whatever the context may be, cold data is simply a consequence of rapid data growth.

Pain Points when Dealing with Cold Data
Now just like we shovel away snow storage administrators spend a lot of time and effort moving this cold to lower tier arrays or to tape. Time and effort aside, in the rare event that access is needed to this data, retrieval is once again a challenge with time consuming processes to load this data back onto the storage network. If you add the cost of your primary storage that is being used up by inactive data, the time and resources it takes to move the cold data out of the primary storage and the recovery costs you will quickly see the inefficiencies of the cold data management chewing up your resources. (more…)

Taken In for Questioning: How Crime Statistics Can Help Spotlight SaaS Data Loss Risk

Lori Witzel

Product Marketing Manager, Spanning by EMC
Lori Witzel is a Salesforce MVP, has worked with and for SaaS companies since 2005, and has been sharing info with, listening to, and learning from tech users ever since. She is currently PMM for Spanning Backup for Salesforce, as well as PMM for Spanning Backup for Google Apps. Prior to Spanning Backup, Lori worked for various early-stage Cloud start-ups, mid-sized middleware providers, and ed tech firms, and she’s always eager to learn more. Lori's profile on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/loriwitzel

How can the approach taken by the brilliant statisticians at FiveThirtyEight start to make sense of confusing, contradictory crime statistics and help you raise awareness within your organization among those ignoring SaaS and cloud data loss risks? Can you help them take their assumptions in for questioning?

 crime scene statistics

Before I answer those questions, let me start with this one: what’s FiveThirtyEight? If you’re following the US Presidential primaries, you might be familiar with their work; if you follow sports, you may even use their predictions to help you win the office football pool. Nate Silver’s FiveThirty Eight was founded on March 7, 2008 as a polling aggregation website, and has since been a source of information for many, including the New York Times. Silver characterizes FiveThirtyEight as “a data journalism site,” and they have more than 2 million viewers.

The crime of “ransomware” and the need for backup have become a hot topic well beyond the IT security community, due in part to a recent ransomware attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. In current news, Mac users are now vulnerable to ransomware. Given that, it’s not too far a stretch to look at a meta-analysis of crime statistics by FiveThirtyEight for insights you can use.

So how might we use FiveThirtyEight’s meta-analysis to persuade those within your organization who think SaaS vendors have data loss risk under control, to think again? Let’s look at four statements from FiveThirtyEight’s article, and correlate them to IT and SaaS scenarios. (more…)

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