A guest post by Alan NG

In part 1 and part 2, we covered how PowerFlex handle data protection using native features such as asynchronous replication and snapshots. We also showcase a brief walkthrough of how easy it is to make use of these native features to achieve a company’s objectives for data protection. In part 3, we will explore opportunities where a customer has requirement to protect data beyond its native capabilities.

Having native data protection capabilities is important in any storage system. It is in-built, scalable and most importantly, it is “free” to the customers. Replication and snapshots are two of the most common native features offered by most storage vendors. As they are native, they are good enough to meet most customers’ basic requirements. However, for customers who have more demanding requirements that exceed what the native features can offer, they will have to look for 3rd party alternatives.

In an ideal world where internet speed and storage space were unlimited and free, without a doubt, 100% of all customer’s data and applications would be fully redundant and stored in many places. But in reality, because of the limits on internet speed and the cost of storage space, choices have to be made about how much money to spend on keeping data safe compared to how important each piece of data or application is to the business.

To be truly cost-effective, the best data protection strategies would be to incorporate the combination of native capabilities like deduplication, backup, archive, data replication and 3rd party integrated solution like business continuity and workload mobility capabilities. In other words: a complete toolkit to best deliver the right level of data protection for each business application at the right cost.

Backup + Protection Storage

In today’s world, where hacking and ransomware are so widespread, 100% of a customer’s application data needs to be backed up daily for protection. A daily backup is a process where a copy of data is made and saved every day to protect against data loss. This means that if something happens to the original data, such as accidental deletion or corruption, the most recent backup can be used to restore the lost information. By performing backups daily, the amount of data that could potentially be lost is minimized to what was created or changed in the last 24 hours. Recovery time can be minutes if the backup is stored on site, hours or days if it’s stored off site, and weeks if an entire data center needs to be recovered. Daily backups are typically kept for 30 to 90 days, depending on the company’s rules and federal requirements.

Continuous Data Protection

While the percentage of a customer’s applications and data that require more protection than just a nightly backup can vary depending on their specific needs and circumstances, typically we see that 20% of a customer’s applications and data need more protection than just a nightly backup. Depending on the deployment options used and the type of outage event encountered, Replication and Continuous Data Protection can minimize data loss to almost zero. Recovery time can range from minutes to hours.

Having native replication in the system is good starting point, as it complements daily backups for several reasons, replication typically has limited storage, the oldest replications get overwritten by the newest replication, and if a file becomes corrupted and it is detected after the last good replication has been overwritten, the only way to recover is through the use of daily backup, as they are normally saved for 30 – 90 days.

Data Mobility & Continuity Availability

Again, this percentage may vary, but typically we see that 10% of a customer’s application data requires an even higher level of data protection. This 10% can represent 60% of the business value. In most failure modes, near-zero data loss and near-zero application recovery time can be achieved, with recovery taking only the couple of minutes it takes to reboot a server taking over the application workload.

More and more, IT has the requirement to move applications (workloads) from one system to another or one site to another or most recently announced at Dell Technologies World 2023, the new concept of ground to cloud and cloud to ground technologies (this will be further discussed in the coming blogs).

Data protection is NEVER a zero-sum game. There is always a cost that ties to how much data to protect, what technologies to use and how long to keep. As observed from the pyramid diagram, as we moved from the bottom triangle to the top, we noted that the business value of the data increases in contrast to the amount of data to protect meaning to say more sophisticated solution is required to protect this 10% of data which is 60% more valuable. For example, the value of protecting customers’ data is definitely 1000 times more than just protecting a normal excel spreadsheet of all employees in the company, as any compromise of the customers’ data or loss of customers’ data could mean company life and death circumstances.

Hence, in order to meet this 10% data and 60% value protection, customers will have to deploy solutions beyond the storage native capabilities. This is typically done through buying highly customized solutions from vendors who specialize in data protection. These vendors’ portfolios could include backup and recovery, disaster recovery, data archiving, data encryption, and data management solutions. However, most of these data protection solutions will require additional integration efforts, and the level of seamless integration may vary depending on the specific solutions used.

Factory-integrated Solution

Dell EMC has been in the market long enough to understand the pain points of such ad hoc or add-on solutions, as most of these solutions are an afterthought which is easier said on paper than done practically. In contrast, Dell EMC provides a comprehensive range of data protection solutions that can meet the data protection needs of most customers, regardless of their size or industry. Dell EMC’s PowerFlex Integrated Data Protection solution, however, stands out from the rest. Unlike other data protection solutions that may require additional integration efforts, PowerFlex Integrated Data Protection is engineered and designed to be built-in as part of an overall data lifecycle management for PowerFlex Rack and is factory-fitted. This means that customers can enjoy seamless integration, offload customer network, lower risk, and simplified management without the need for additional integration efforts and simplified annual upgrade.

The best part of this solution is that it is so flexible that the customer has the option to deploy PowerFlex Rack without the data protection components at project commencement but can easily integrate them into the PowerFlex Rack solutions if they decide to do so in the future, whether it’s the next day, next week, next year, or sometime later. As an engineered solution, all inter-dependencies have been sorted through the Recommended Components Matrix (RCM) and customers don’t have to worry about inter-operability. Customers can start deploying production data on PowerFlex and at the same time incorporate data protection upon handover of the system at the end of the deployment cycle with relevant knowledge transfer. Another plus point in term of support, there is only one number to call!!

Retire Existing Backup Network

Another advantage of PowerFlex Integrated Data Protection Solutions is that for customers who currently have a dedicated backup network, it is no surprise that at least 50% of their network cost is used to manage this backup network. Hence, with PowerFlex Integrated Data Protection Solutions, customers can save up to 50% (on bandwidth and manpower) by gradually phase out this backup network by transferring applications that were backed up onto PowerFlex Integrated Data Protection solutions.

Data Protection Offering

There are four main offerings for PowerFlex Integrated Data Protection, each catering to the different requirements and need of the customer:

  • Standalone Avamar backup solution
  • Avamar with PowerProtect DD backup solution
  • PowerProtect Data Manager with PowerProtect DD backup solution
  • RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines

Standalone Avamar backup Solution

The standalone Avamar backup solution offers a complete backup and recovery solution that utilizes data deduplication technology to reduce the amount of data that needs to be backed up and stored. This results in decreased storage requirements and improved backup performance. Avamar is a versatile solution that can be deployed as a virtual appliance, physical server, or software-only solution, giving organizations the ability to select a deployment option that best suits their specific needs. It is an excellent choice for organizations seeking fast, reliable, cost-effective, and secure backup and recovery of critical data.

Avamar with PowerProtect DD Backup Solution

Avamar with PowerProtect DD backup solution combines the strengths of both technologies to deliver fast, scalable, and efficient backup and recovery with Avamar, and scalable and reliable storage for backups with PowerProtect DD. It’s highly scalable, making it an ideal choice for large enterprises with complex IT infrastructures. Plus, it provides advanced data security features such as encryption and compression of backup data to ensure that sensitive data is protected against unauthorized access. While the Avamar with PowerProtect DD backup solution offers higher scalability and performance capabilities than the standalone Avamar backup solution, it may be more expensive due to its advanced features. But when it comes to protecting your critical data, it’s worth the investment.

Avamar and PowerProtect DD integration gives faster and more efficient backups that reduces:

  • Network bandwidth usage up to 98%
  • Backup storage up to 36 times
  • Backup time up to 50%

PowerProtect Data Manager with PowerProtect DD backup solution

PowerProtect Data Manager with PowerProtect DD backup solution is a comprehensive data management solution that provides backup, recovery, replication, and analytics capabilities for enterprises. This solution provides a unified view of your data environment, enabling you to manage data efficiently across multiple systems and platforms. It also includes advanced data protection features such as data deduplication, encryption, and compression to ensure that your data is secure and recoverable in the event of a disaster. It’s an ideal choice for organizations that require a comprehensive data management solution that can scale as the organization grows. While it may be more expensive than standalone Avamar backup solution and Avamar with PowerProtect DD backup solution due to its advanced features and capabilities, it’s worth the investment for the peace of mind it provides.

RecoverPoint for VMs

RecoverPoint for VMs provides continuous data protection and recovery for virtualized environments. This solution uses replication and virtualization technologies to ensure that your virtual machines and their data are continuously protected and recoverable in the event of a disaster or data loss. It also includes advanced features such as instant VM recovery, automated disaster recovery testing, and support for VMware and Hyper-V environments. RecoverPoint for VMs is the ideal choice for organizations that require continuous data protection and fast recovery times for their virtualized environments.

To learn more about PowerFlex Integrated Data Protection and other features of PowerFlex, please visit our website or contact us today.

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