There are a lot of game-changing trends in IT today including mobility, cloud, and big data analytics. As a result, IT architectures, data centers, and data processing are all becoming more complex – increasingly dynamic, heterogeneous, and distributed. For all IT organizations, achieving great success today depends on staying in control of rapidly growing and faster flowing data.
While there are many ways for IT technology and solution providers to help clients depending on their maturity, size, industry, and key business applications, every IT organization has to wrestle with BURA (Backup, Recovery, and Archiving). Protecting and preserving the value of data is a key business requirement even as the types, amounts, and uses of that data evolve and grow.
For IT organizations, BURA is an ever-present, huge, and growing challenge. Unfortunately, implementing a thorough and competent BURA solution often requires piecing and patching together multiple vendor products and solutions. These never quite fully address the many disparate needs of most organizations nor manage to be very simple or cost-effective to operate. Here is where we see HPE as a key vendor today with all the right parts coming together to create a significant change in the BURA marketplace.
First, HPE is pulling together its top-notch products into a user-ready “solution” that marries both StoreOnce and Data Protector. For those working with either or both of those separately in the past in conjunction with other vendor’s products, it’s no surprise that they each compete favorably one-on-one with other products in the market, but together as an integrated joint solution they beat the best competitor offerings.
But HPE hasn’t just bundled products into solutions, it is undergoing a seismic shift in culture that revitalizes its total approach to market. From product to services to support, HPE people have taken to heart a “customer first” message to provide a truly solution-focused HPE experience. One support call, one ticket, one project manager, addressing the customer’s needs regardless of what internal HPE business unit components are in the “box”. And significantly, this approach elevates HPE from just being a supplier of best-of-breed products into an enterprise-level trusted solution provider addressing business problems head-on. HPE is perhaps the only company completely able to deliver a breadth of solutions spanning IT from top to bottom out of their own internal world-class product lines.
In this report, we’ll examine first why HPE StoreOnce and Data Protector products are truly game changing on their own rights. Then, we will look at why they get even “better together” as a complete BURA solution that can be more flexibly deployed to meet backup challenges than any other solution in the market today.
This Field Report was created by Taneja Group for Nutanix in late 2014 with updates in 2015. The Taneja Group analyzed the experiences of seven Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform customers and seven Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Vblock customers. We did not ‘cherry-pick’ customers for dissatisfaction, delight, or specific use case; we were interested in typical customers’ honest reactions.
As we talked in detail to these customers, we kept seeing the same patterns: 1) VCE users were interested in converged systems; and 2) they chose VCE because VCE partners Cisco, EMC, and/or VMware were embedded in their IT relationships and sales. The VCE process had the advantage of vendor familiarity, but it came at a price: high capital expense, infrastructure and management complexity, expensive support contracts, and concerns over the long-term viability of the VCE partnership (see an opinion of the DELL/EMC merger at end of this document). VCE customers typically did not research other options for converged infrastructure prior to deploying the VCE Vblock solution.
In contrast, Nutanix users researched several convergence and hyperconvergence vendors to determine the best possible fit. Nutanix’ advanced web-scale framework gave them simplified architecture and management, reasonable acquisition and operating costs, and considerably faster time to value.
Our conclusion, based on the amount of time and effort spent by the teams responsible for managing converged infrastructure, is that VCE Vblock deployments represent an improvement over traditional architectures, but Nutanix hyperconvergence – especially with its web-scale architecture – is an big improvement over VCE.
This Field Report will compare customer experiences with Nutanix hyperconverged, web-scale infrastructure to VCE Vblock in real-world environments.
Full Database Protection Without the Full Backup Plan: Oracle’s Cloud-Scaled Zero Data Loss Recovery
Today’s tidal wave of big data isn’t just made up of loose unstructured documents – huge data growth is happening everywhere including in high-value structured datasets kept in databases like Oracle Database 12c. This data is any company’s most valuable core data that powers most key business applications – and it’s growing fast! According to Oracle, in 5 years (by 2020) most enterprises expect 50x data growth. As their scope and coverage grow, these key databases inherently become even more critical to our businesses. At the same time, the sheer number of database-driven applications and users is also multiplying – and they increasingly need to be online, globally, 24 x 7. Which all leads to the big burning question: How can we possibly protect all this critical data, data we depend on more and more even as it grows, all the time?
We just can’t keep taking more time out of the 24-hour day for longer and larger database backups. The traditional batch window backup approach is already often beyond practical limits and its problems are only getting worse with data growth – missed backup windows, increased performance degradation, unavailability, fragility, risk and cost. It’s now time for a new data protection approach that can do away with the idea of batch window backups, yet still provide immediate backup copies to recover from failures, corruption, and other disasters.
Oracle has stepped up in a big way, and marshaling expertise and technologies from across their engineered systems portfolio, has developed a new Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance. Note the very intentional name that is focused on total recoverability – the Recovery Appliance is definitely not just another backup target. This new appliance eliminates the pains and risks of the full database backup window approach completely through a highly engineered continuous data protection solution for Oracle databases. It is now possible to immediately recover any database to any point in time desired, as the Recovery Appliance provides “virtual” full backups on demand and can scale to protect thousands of databases and petabytes of capacity. In fact, it offloads backup processes from production database servers which can increase performance in Oracle environments typically by 25%. Adopting this new backup and recovery solution will actually give CPU cycles back to the business.
In this report, we’ll briefly review why conventional data protection approaches based on the backup window are fast becoming obsolete. Then we’ll look into how Oracle has designed the new Recovery Appliance to provide a unique approach to ensuring data protection in real-time, at scale, for thousands of databases and PBs of data. We’ll see how zero data loss, incremental forever backups, continuous validation, and other innovations have completely changed the game of database data protection. For the first time there is now a real and practical way to fully protect a global corporation’s databases—on-premise and in the cloud—even in the face of today’s tremendous big data growth.
One of the biggest storage trends we are seeing in our current research here at Taneja Group is that of storage buyers (and operators) looking for more functionality – and at the same time increased simplicity – from their storage infrastructure. For this and many other reasons, including TCO (both CAPEX and OPEX) and improved service delivery, functional “convergence” is currently a big IT theme. In storage we see IT folks wanting to eliminate excessive layers in their complex stacks of hardware and software that were historically needed to accomplish common tasks. Perhaps the biggest, most critical, and unfortunately onerous and unnecessarily complex task that enterprise storage folks have had to face is that of backup and recovery. As a key trusted vendor of both data protection and storage solutions, we note that HPE continues to invest in producing better solutions in this space.
HPE has diligently been working towards integrating data protection functionality natively within their enterprise storage solutions starting with the highly capable tier-1 3PAR StoreServ arrays. This isn’t to say that the storage array now turns into a single autonomous unit, becoming a chokepoint or critical point of failure, but rather that it becomes capable of directly providing key data services to downstream storage clients while being directed and optimized by intelligent management (which often has a system-wide or larger perspective). This approach removes excess layers of 3rd party products and the inefficient indirect data flows traditionally needed to provide, assure, and then accelerate comprehensive data protection schemes. Ultimately this evolution creates a type of “software-defined data protection” in which the controlling backup and recovery software, in this case HPE’s industry-leading Data Protector, directly manages application-centric array-efficient snapshots.
In this report we examine this disruptively simple approach and how HPE extends it to the virtual environment – converging backup capabilities between Data Protector and 3PAR StoreServ to provide hardware assisted agentless backup and recovery for virtual machines. With HPE’s approach, offloading VM-centric snapshots to the array while continuing to rely on the hypervisor to coordinate the physical resources of virtual machines, virtualized organizations gain on many fronts including greater backup efficiency, reduced OPEX, greater data protection coverage, immediate and fine-grained recovery, and ultimately a more resilient enterprise. We’ll also look at why HPE is in a unique position to offer this kind of “converging” market leadership, with a complete end-to-end solution stack including innovative research and development, sales, support, and professional services.