In the first part of the series, we provided a high-level overview of the PowerFlex 3.6 release. You can read all about it here.

and in the second post, we covered the integration with VMware SRM

Now, let’s dive deeper into the integration of PowerFlex 3.6 with AppSync

Data centers these days, contain a lot of redundant data, IDC forecast that 60% of the data is made of copies.

To improve organizational agility and competitiveness, more copies, more frequently, with more operational self-service across the process cycles are required. Indeed, IDC estimates >60% of enterprise storage is used by such non-production copies.

So, what do customers use data copies for? The three most commons use cases are:


AppSync is a software that enables Integrated Copy Data Management (iCDM) with Dell EMC’s primary storage systems.
The solution provides:

  • Automated copy creation and consumption – no more manual steps or custom scripts

  • Tight integration with host environments, applications and Dell EMC PowerFlex storage and replication

  • Applications owners and storage admins are on the same page with a transparent copy workflow

AppSync simplifies and automates the process of generating and consuming copies of production data. By abstracting the underlying storage and replication technologies, and through deep application integration, AppSync empowers application owners to satisfy copy demand for operational recovery and data repurposing on their own. In turn, storage administrators need only be concerned with initial setup and policy management, resulting in an agile, frictionless environment.

AppSync automatically discovers application databases, learns the database structure, and maps it through the Virtualization Layer to the underlying storage LUN. It then orchestrates all the activities required from copy creation and validation through mounting at the target host and launching or recovering the application. Supported workflows also include refresh, expire, and restore production.

AppSync simplifies and automates the process of generating and consuming copies of production data. AppSync enables application owners to satisfy copy demand for data repurposing, operational recovery and disaster recovery across multiple Dell EMC arrays and applications with a single user interface.

Dell EMC AppSync for PowerFlex provides a single user interface that simplifies, orchestrates and automates the process of generating and consuming DevOps data across all enterprise database applications deployed on PowerFlex.

AppSync for PowerFlex provides simple automated copy creation and consumption, eliminating manual steps or custom scripts. AppSync integrates tightly with host environments and database applications including, but not limited to, Oracle and SQL Server. With AppSync, applications owners, database administrators, and storage administrators get on – and stay on – the same page through a transparent copy workflow.

Dell EMC AppSync for PowerFlex allows you to protect, restore and repurpose application data, satisfying any DevOps requirements.

AppSync version 4.3 enables support for the PowerFlex family – rack, appliance, and ready node consumption options.

AppSync architecture

The architecture of AppSync has three major components:

  • AppSync server is deployed on a Windows server system, either physical or virtual. It controls all workflow activities, manages the alerting and monitoring aspects, and persists internal data in a PostgreSQL database.

  • AppSync host plug-ins are installed on all source and mount hosts. They provide integration with the operating systems and the applications that are hosted on the hosts. These applications include Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server®, Oracle®, SAP HANA, and VMware datastores or other file systems. With VMware datastore replication, there is no host plug-in because AppSync communicates directly with the VMware vCenter® server.

  • AppSync user interface is the web-based UI for the AppSync copy-management feature. AppSync can also be managed using the vSphere VSI plug-in, REST API, or command-line interface (CLI).

Registering the PowerFlex system with AppSync

AppSync interacts with the PowerFlex system by communicating with PowerFlex Gateway using API calls:

On the AppSync console, select Settings > Infrastructure Resources > STORAGE SYSTEMS.  Click ADD SYSTEMS.

Under Select System Type, choose PowerFlex.

Enter the PowerFlex Gateway IP and credentials to configure the storage system.

Review the configurations in the Summary page and click FINISH to register the PowerFlex system.

AppSync service plans

AppSync provides intuitive workflows to set up protection and repurposing jobs (called Service Plans) that provide end-to-end automation of all the steps from application discovery and storage mapping to mounting copies to the target hosts. Service plans can be scheduled with alert emails to easily track their status. AppSync also provides an application protection monitoring and reporting service that generates alerts if SLAs are not met or if a service plan fails.

AppSync supports three types of service plans:

  • Bronze — You can use the Bronze service plan to create local copies of your applications data
  • Silver — You can use the Silver service plan to create remote copies of your applications data
  • Gold — You can use the Gold service plan to create both local and remote copies of your applications data

AppSync features

AppSync Protect

AppSync enables application owners and DBAs to protect, restore. and repurpose their data to satisfy their unique copy requirements. This accelerates and improves processes like test and dev by providing the latest production data for high quality product releases. AppSync’s support for second generation copies (a copy of a copy) allows for required data masking, filtering and obfuscation by DBAs so that end-users of data have access to only the data that they need. At any given point of time, storage admins can get a complete picture of the copy landscape so that they are aware of capacity utilization and the scope for optimization.

AppSync repurposing 

AppSync allows you to create copies of your database and file systems for application testing and validation, test and development, reporting, data masking, and data analytics. AppSync identifies copies that are created from a repurpose action as first-generation and second-generation copies. The source of a second-generation copy is a first-generation copy. You can create multiple second-generation copies from a first-generation copy.

AppSync support for PowerFlex

  • Discovery of PowerFlex Nodes and clusters
    • 3.x versions of code supported
    • AppSync works with any PowerFlex hardware (rack, appliance)
    • AppSync server can be located on any Windows physical box or virtual machine

  • AppSync supports both Bronze Service Plans and local repurposing
  • AppSync supports Silver Service Plans and remote repurposing
    • Utilizes Asynchronous replication
    • Not supported for Microsoft applications

PowerFlex licensing in AppSync

  • Advanced license only, tied to PowerFlex installation ID
  • Based on total raw capacity of PowerFlex system
  • Warning and non-compliance alerts shown if licensed capacity is lower than total raw capacity of the cluster
  • AppSync 90-day free trial can be used before purchase

Dell EMC PowerFlex and AppSync integration Demo

Integrated copy data management with AppSync for SQL Server running on PowerFlex



Integrated copy data management with AppSync for Oracle running on PowerFlex

Integrated copy data management with AppSync for File Systems running on PowerFlex

You can access the AppSync downloads by, clicking the screenshot below

https://dl.dell.com/downloads/DL105036_AppSync-4.3.0.0-(Build-Number%C2%A0PR-4.3.0.0-38)-Software.zip


A guest post by Tomer Nahumi

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