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April 29, 2009


Gene Piatigorski

It is my hope that in the grand vision of cloud abstracted architecture that backup becomes obsoleted by the internal functionality of the storage cloud...

Here is what I mean. If we translate the backup RAID protection, etc.) as copies of the initial primary data set, why can't the 'storage cloud' include functionality to create the exact number of data copies that a Business requires and place it on the exact type of storage media without having an external process to drive this process?

In my version of the 'storage cloud' nirvana, the storage aray where we host the primary copy of the data would have the ability to continuously create (yes - CDP) the requisite number of Business required copies (based on policies setup by an administrator) of that data and move all copies of the data to the appropriate (again - based on policy) media over time without hindering the eDiscovery needs of the regulatory compliance needs. For efficiency, it would also include the various data reduction techniques (compression, de-dupe, etc.) available in this uber-storage cloud.

In other words - should we not enable the current storage arrays to virtualize the functions that traditionally reside outboard due to the technology limitations of the past? Should we not enable the storage arrays themselves to be part of the IT cloud to remove the limits of locality in providing its functions (i.e. globally accessible storage cloud for the masses)?

I think EMC is already well on the way with V-Max and Atmos products to have the building blocks for that vision. It also has the breadth of software (Legato, Avamar, Recover-Point, etc.) to enable this ILM-in-the-cloud vision. If only you could truly integrate their functionality together, then the 'Backup Infrastructure As a Service', indeed backup in general, becomes a moot conversation. The question will instead become: who is your storage cloud provider and does the solution provide all of the data protection and efficiencies you need? The world would be a much simpler place to manage...

William Todd

I've been using SMEStorage.com for public (Amazon S3) and private Cloud Backup for a little while now and the benefits are huge.

Firstly, all my org's data is backed up to tape. Works well and is stored in a fire proof safe, but it is still a pain not being able to get a file when I am away from the office or on the move. To solve that I started to use SMEStorage Private Cloud Backup. This allows me to nominate an internal FTP Directory as my private storage repository and maps it to their platform somehow. I can then access these file from an explored interface on the web or a windows virtual drive or iPhone etc. Best if all are the integration features with things like Zoho online office, MS & Open Office on the desktop etc. We automatically backup all this data to Amazon S3 using the same platform's sync services. It has transformed how we are able to get access to information.


It's quite interesting to ponder about the backup in relation to cloud computing. As Gene already pointed out, fundamentally, we may need to rethink a new way of backing up with the advent of the cloud computing. The old architecture of backing up may no longer be suitable in the new era. Although the concept of cloud computing is innovative and promising, the implementation of cloud computing is, well, cloudy. What kind of issues will we encounter if we put the new wine in an old skin? Then again, what kind of the clouds are we talking about? Clouds are an aggregate of the nano-sized water vapors that are visible to human eyes. Virtualization is, at least in part, an evolutionary progression out of the object oriented programming and component processing. Nonetheless, virtualization is the old way of thinking as far as cloud computing is concerned. Even if it is not so difficult as to prohibit implementation, it will most likely pose numerous complications. Are we putting the cart before the horse as far as trying to implement architecture without proper technology behind it for support? Perhaps just the idea of cloud computing might suggest that the centralized data processing era, with which we have become so accustomed during later part of last century and early part of this, is finally fading away. Thus, the revolutionary nano technology beckons us.

Jesse James Lala

Virtualization technologies such as VMWARE, XEN, Hyper-V, has given way to these cloud services. It is within these technologies that the backup paradigm and methods will evolve; meaning that the infrastructure will govern how far and how well backup can evolve so long as RTO and RPO objectives as well as regulation and compliance is not put at risk. I think that the notion of having a service that is built into the infrastructure to generate, track, manage, enforce, react, report, and catalog information based on context aware meta data processes will ultimately be the key to a successful change but this is a huge shift, a sort of middleware for data change.

A master HA virtual appliance cluster which uses agents and a highly distributed and fault tolerant data hashing and deduplciation indexing mechanism that is specialized for each application / operating environment to service file level and structured instance level data recovery operations, coupled with a DR image level infrastructure tied API / Service will ultimately support a platform which can then still be used with traditional archiving techniques and technologies with minimal disruption.

I do not think there is a silver bullet for data protection even in the virtual environment.

Keep in mind Tape is still way more Green than disk...

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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