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EMC's New Backup Capabilities Can Boost Efficiency

At EMC World in Orlando, EMC announced new capabilities that can help accelerate backup efficiency. Backup is a fundamental data protection process and responsibility for virtually every organization and subject to the same overarching issues that affect the rest of IT. These include the need to control costs, the need to reduce complexity and the need to meet third-party-imposed compliance requirements.

EMC's data protection vision consists of three tenets that address the challenges of 1) cost, 2) complexity and 3) compliance. Information growth, combined with the environmental constraints on space, power, and cooling, leads to costs that EMC focuses on via the first tenet in its data protection vision -- efficiency through capacity optimization. The complexity of data protection practices that arises from technology proliferation and data silos can be dealt with through the company's second tenet -- simplicity through integration. Compliance requires business assurance (i.e., you have to able to demonstrate that you are doing what you need to do -- such as backup -- correctly). EMC feels that it can achieve this goal through its third visionary tenet -- business assurance through data protection management.

A vision has to be turned into a strategy, then that strategy needs to be turned into reality through products and services. EMC correctly states that the first step in its strategy is to help clients effectively archive data. Data that is no longer changing -- static data -- can be put into active production archives, such as EMC's Centera CAS (content-addressable storage) or its Celerra NAS (network-attached storage) solution. The data can still be accessed but after necessary copies are made, it can be removed from ongoing backup processes. (Backup is best for data for which the presumption is that it might change.)

Other parts of EMC's strategy translate into enhancements and new capabilities for its products and services. Three of the key products in the EMC backup family are NetWorker, Disk Library and Avamar. EMC announced a number of new backup capabilities to accelerate efficiency through expanded deduplication, easier deployment and enhanced management.

NetWorker -- Data deduplication is all the rage today, and in a backup/restore context, deduplication leads to the ability to store backup data very efficiently on disks and to speed restores. EMC leverages these features by expanding NetWorker's source-based deduplication to key applications, notably Microsoft's Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint, as well as Oracle. EMC's well-proven Avamar deduplication technology offers the means to achieving this goal. Even though NetWorker is often used in enterprise-class environments, it can be used for mid-size environments, as well, with NetWorker Fast Start. EMC has made some enhancements to this mid-market solution, including support for SharePoint and Hyper-V, deduplication and push client install, which deploys software on new servers without manual effort.

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