EMC Backup and Recovery Buyers Guide

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EMC used to be all about disk arrays. Around 10 years back, it embarked on a strategy to cover the entire storage market, including backup software and recovery. This manifests today in the EMC Backup and Recovery Systems (BRS) division. As well as software, this unit offers deduplication and backup appliances and a whole lot more.

According to BJ Jenkins, BRS Systems president, there are five separate areas in BRS:

  • Data Domain, which is primarily known for deduplication at the target
  • Avamar, known for deduplication at the source
  • NetWorker, for backup software
  • Disk Library, for backup for mainframe environments
  • Disk Protection Advisor (DPA), which is a tool to assess and better manager backup environments

Jenkins noted that deduplication has been steadily eating away at the tape market, which has fallen from an 11.9 percent share of the external storage market in the 1999 to 4.6 percent in 2010, according to IDC. The fastest growing area of the backup market is purpose-built backup appliances, which IDC said have grown into a $1.6 billion market with EMC owning 64 percent. As a result, EMC has risen to No. 1 in backup, ahead of Symantec and IBM.

EMC Disk Library

EMC Disk Library is a heavy-duty VTL product. The DL5200 has a starting price of $400,000. When fully configured at 686 TB, that can rise to over $2 million. The company positions it as enabling the backup of data that does not lend itself to high rates of deduplication due to data structure or retention policies. EMC Disk Library for mainframe (DLm) is a backup system designed for the mainframe environment that leverages Data Domain deduplication technology. The DLm has a starting price of $337,000. When fully configured at 3.8 PB of logical capacity, that can rise to over $2 million.

EMC NetWorker

Networker came to EMC through the Legato acquisition in 2003. It is a traditional backup application that works with hundreds of business apps. Jenkins described it as a full-service backup, combining disk and tape backup capabilities. If you use tape, Networker is the EMC solution to deploy. The Networker brand may go away, however.

“Networker and Avamar are coming together over time,” said Jenkins. “Both use Boost, which came from Data Domain.”

Boost was designed to move the bulk of the work from the target device upstream to the backup media server. It thereby reduces the load on the backup server and frees up more bandwidth. The reason: Previously, an entire backup was transmitted over the network to a deduplication appliance, which then sorted out which files to keep and which ones were already stored. Thus, only data that is going to be stored on a backup appliance is relayed over the wires.

Those using NetWorker backup software now have Boost included as a free addition. Once installed, any Data Domain boxes in the LAN will recognize it. Further, IT administrators can log onto NetWorker and control deduplication and replication directly from the NetWorker console.

More recently, NetWorker’s capabilities were extended to provide high performance and virtual server application protection. NetWorker version 7.6 SP2 provides support for vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP) to integrate with a VMware virtual infrastructure.

NetWorker Module for Microsoft Applications 2.3 also offers support for Exchange and SharePoint Server 2010, plus Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows DR.

EMC Avamar

EMC Avamar is very much a product of a disk-based world. Designed purely for disk, it deduplicates data at the source before it is transmitted to the backup server or storage media.

“Use cases focus on remote office/branch office (ROBO), NAS, backing up of desktops, laptops and VMware environments,” said Jenkins. “It deals mostly in file data.”

He explained that Avamar relieves stress on the network by deduplicating data before you send it anywhere. It is available as software-only or as an appliance.

Recent developments include integration with Data Domain systems, advancements for VMware and VCE vBlock backup and support for the EMC VNX family. The latest hardware version of Avamar known as the Avamar Data Store doubles capacity to 124 TB per system.

EMC Data Domain

Like Avamar, Data Domain was also purpose-built for disk -– this time as a backup appliance. It includes variable deduplication -– what this means is that it can deduplicate files or sections of files down to 8k or 15k segments. That helps a lot in minimizing traffic. If you make a minor tweak to thousands of files, some deduplication products will relay all of each file or a good portion of it. With Data Domain, only the small changed segments are transmitted.

“Not all deduplication is the same,” said Jenkins. “With variable length and inline processing, we have industry leading performance and scale.”

He added that the main use cases for Data Domain are databases, email, transactional processes, large files, Sharepoint and other Microsoft applications, Oracle, and SAP.

There are seven products within the Data Domain family. The DD 610, DD630 and DD670 are deduplication appliances. The DD610, for example, can hold up to 6 TB and has a starting price of $20,000.

The DD860 and DD890 are controller only products. The latter has a starting price of $300,000 and can deal with 384 TB of data. The starting price is $750,000 for a Global Deduplication Array, which can hold up to 768 TB. Data Domain Archiver supports up to 768 TB of raw external storage. It can be configured with up to 128TB of raw storage in the active tier, and the remaining external storage in the archive tier. The entry DD Archiver controller has a U.S. list price of $160,000.

Data Protection Advisor

Data Protection Advisor is a tool to help assess the backup environment. It includes reporting of such items as how long the backup took and if it was a success. In addition, DPA provides scheduling and management features. EMC has integrated DPA with EMC Unisphere, which can be used to manage multiple EMC devices.

“DPA helps you to size the environment, understand the impact of deduplication and see how much capacity you need,” said Jenkins. “It is mainly for larger environments.”

The newest edition of DPA has support for Avamar 6.0 and NetWorker 7.6 SP2, including new reporting features and capacity-based licensing.

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

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Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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