Not All Copy Data Solutions are Created Equal, Part 1 Posted on Sep 28th, 2015 by Sathya Sankaran

Categories: Copy Data Management, ECX

Copy data management (CDM) is a fairly new term in the IT community that is rapidly gaining a significant foothold because CDM solution providers address two significant and rapidly growing problems specific to copies of production data:

  1. There is excessive copy data– IDC estimates that it costs organizations over $50 Billion per year to store the abundance of copy data. There are other studies that tell us that copies of primary data constitute as much as  two thirds of all enterprise data. The cost of storing the data isn’t the only cost associated with carrying too much data, there are several hidden costs to data found here in more detail. 
  1. Almost all data copies stay idle and are rarely used– There are genuine needs to keep versions of data, but there is often no way to streamline the use of data. The result of this difficult is the inclination to create new copies for specific uses, rather than leveraging existing copies.  But with data fueling some of the most critical operation that IT is responsible for (beyond DR, this may include Dev & Test or Business Analytics), leveraging copy data is crucial to improving business agility and resiliency, while containing CapEx and OpEx costs.

The way copy data management solutions address the two basic problems, above, is what really sets them apart. This is part one of a blog series that is intended to highlight the various approaches to solving the problems created by copy data and how Catalogic Software has developed a software-only approach that differentiates us from competing solutions.

Addressing Excess Copy Data:

How can you take the first step in managing your copy data?

The approach to nearly any problem found in an IT environment can often be resolved by taking one of three approaches:

  1. Clean up
  2. Fix the root cause
  3. Do both

As we outlined earlier, all organizations carry a significant amount of copy data already – typically much more than necessary. Cleaning up your copy data mess without addressing the root cause will only result in a return of the same challenges over time – because you will have cured the symptoms but not the root cause. Deduplication, compression, and archiving can delay and minimize the damage of unmanaged data copies, but do not  solve the core issues at the core of your copy data problems.

Fixing the problem with a fresh start assumes there is no path dependency and there will be off-springs of the data deluge we carry today. One must also consider that enterprise data migration often costs more than new storage acquisition costs, sometimes up to 5 times more.

The most effective copy data solution must offer analysis of existing copy data, facilitate clean up as necessary, and create a platform to streamline and automate copy data management that avoids copy creep and copy sprawl.

Catalogic Software’s ECX copy data management solution catalogs existing data, both primary data and snapshots, establishes relationships between them to help organizations identify the various versions of data that exist, as well as identifies how much of that has been idle and for how long. This gives organizations a tremendous level of insight into their copy data and empowers them with intelligence to decide what they choose to carry or clean up.

Catalogic Solutions also offers a unified platform to streamline the creation of copies and replication both on-premise and in the cloud. Aided by exception and compliance reports, organizations can keep tabs on their copy data strategy while mitigating copy creep and sprawl.

How do I Maximize My Existing Storage Investments?

CIOs have long known that data and storage strategies must complement each other. Divergence of one from the other creates inefficiencies in both and confusion for the personnel managing your infrastructure. Even worse, it could lead to the rise of Shadow ITs that will look to address these inefficiencies on their own – in silos. 

It is also true that most organizations know exactly what they want from their storage providers. Storage strategies are more mature and there is already a significant investment in storage arrays that best meet each organization’s business requirements.

Enterprise arrays already offer world class snapshots, replication, cloning, and deduplication capabilities. Integrating into these features will allow organizations to maximize these investments instead of making redundant investments in these capabilities through another provider. Catalogic ECX provides a software-defined, virtual copy data management appliance that fully integrates with array based technologies to maximize existing investments in your storage arrays. With this array integration, Catalogic ECX can extend copy data management for not just virtual machines, but also for SMB/NFS file shares.

Purpose-Built Appliance vs Shared Storage

A good copy data solution must offer the flexibility of being able to leverage copy data services offered by enterprise storage arrays, but also provide coverage for systems that aren’t backed by commodity storage. A purpose-built appliance is better suited for the latter, but often lack the flexibility of the former.

While it is easier to build a software that only works with prepackaged and preconfigured hardware, customers face several issues with using a purpose built appliance for Copy Data Management:

  • Purpose-built appliances often come with their own RAID stack and hardware platform that may not be your choice. Repackaging others’ platforms also often introduce delays in releasing critical updates to customers. Just ask the Android users who are forced to wait for AT&T and Verizon updates! 
  • If your primary storage and secondary storage are of the same type, it paves way for cross-replication as well as load balancing based on utilization. Concentrating all your copy data in one platform and one purpose built appliance forces you keep that storage idle for longer and forces you to unnecessarily beef up your primary because it is starved of resources that are readily available to your copy data appliance.
  • There are also admin costs in terms of training and upkeep of knowledge of two different hardware platforms. There is also a lack of repeatability/standardization in storage maintenance.
  • More importantly, it doesn’t allow users to maximize existing investments into storage platforms that customers buy after extensive research and analysis.

Catalogic’s software solution allows you the flexibility to perform an “in-place” copy data management, where all your data can remain on the same storage platform, with copy data services powered by the storage arrays. We also extend the functionality to virtual machines hosted on commodity storage platforms by maintaining copies of this data on a Catalogic-supported platform through VADP.

Learn more about the issues behind idle copy data and data recovery in part two of this blog series!