Let me know what you think?
Yes, But ...Here's where I would agree with the thought.
At an industry level, it's pretty clear that efficient use of disk is starting to replace (or augment) tape for just about everyone. Disk technology is getting far cheaper and far more efficient, and replacing tape at a surprising rate.
You see evidence of this everywhere. I remember someone showing me how the enterprise tape library market has started its free-fall from a significant product category to an interesting niche over just the last few years.
Second, much of the industry's thinking around data protection (specifically backups) has clear roots in tape-based models. Full vs. incrementals. Tape volumes and rotation schedules. We're talking many decades of process and thinking around tape. And that doesn't change overnight.
But, to be clear, at some point, the fact that we're copying information from one hunk of random-access storage media to another form of random-access storage media begs the question of how much of that legacy thinking do we need to leave by the wayside as we go forward?
This leads to a view that -- over time -- the preferred data protection model will probably be "versioned replicas" -- time-stamped images of what has changed, all stored very efficiently. Whether we call these snaps, clones, remote replicas, continuous data protection, or even the underlying dedupe capabilities of DataDomain and Avamar – you can see that line of thinking across our portfolio.
So far, we're all in agreement.
Now, let's throw some real-world considerations into the mix.
Not Everyone Is Up For Process Change
When any new technology shows up, there are those enterprises that are in a position to change their processes and models around the technology, and those that aren't. EMC learned long ago that for any new technology to be successful, you shouldn't insist on an immediate process change.
In this world, "no immediate process change" means "backup to disk" in all of its various forms. Still use what looks like a traditional backup model, just do it with faster/better media and software that understands the differences.
The net? Customers get a big hunk of benefit without significant process change, which can be deferred to later.Orchestration Matters
Regardless of how you're protecting your information, you want it to be a well-managed process: jobs are scheduled, workflows automated, media managed, results logged, exceptions noted, trend lines reported on, and so forth.
Ideally, this orchestration level would be relatively agnostic to how the underlying copying was being done: traditional, snaps, replication, etc. The job of assuring "all the data is protected, and I can prove it" should be somewhat independent of the underlying mechanisms.
Besides, there's only so much you can do with scripts :-)
The Continuum Matters
If you think about it, the whole backup discussion -- while reasonably broad -- is actually sandwiched between the topic of business continuity on one side, and long term archiving on the other side.
Not to oversimplify, but shorten your RTOs and RPOs and add distance -- it's a business continuity discussion. Lengthen your RTOs and RPOs, it ends up looking more like an archiving discussion.In any decent-sized enterprise, there will be clear calls for all three discussions -- business continuity, more traditional backup-oriented data protection, and longer-term archiving.
The implication for me is clear -- if at all possible, have the backup and data protection discussion in the context of the other two -- common platforms, processes, etc. And, fortunately, we're seeing more of that sort of thinking every day.
I think Storagebod put it best -- the general thinking here is a preference for solutions that are loosely-coupled with storage arrays, rather than ones that are tightly coupled.
This isn't for any real technical issue per se, it's just the unpleasant thought of not being able to change your storage supplier without completely revisiting your overall approach to backup and data protection.
Besides technology coupling (loosely or otherwise), there's the more obvious need to put your recovery copies on something other than the physical device where the primary copies live. Yes, this stuff is very reliable, but things fail: hardware, software, people, data centers, etc. -- and it's generally thought of as bad juju to keep your primary *and* all of your backups on the same physical device.
Let's face it -- you wouldn't consider copies of your files on the same laptop drive a serious "backup", would you? This means you'll usually acquiring a storage device for the purpose -- ideally, built for purpose as well.The Bottom Line
No argument -- our primary mechanism for protecting data is rapidly shifting away from tape, and towards random-access storage media. That much we all can agree on!
But, behind that, there are key decisions that everyone will need to make:
How much process change are you up for?
How will you orchestrate and manage the business of protecting information, regardless of the underlying tools?
How will you re-think the boundaries between classic backup-oriented data protection, and the adjacent disciplines of business continuity and archiving?
And where will you prefer to retain choices, and where will you prefer tight integration?I don't think anyone has pat answers to any of this -- which is why EMC has invested in so many related technologies in this arena -- but it should be an interesting discussion going forward!