Not All Copy Data Solutions are Created Equal, Part 3 Posted on Dec 10th, 2015 by Sathya Sankaran

Categories: Copy Data Management, ECX

Welcome to the final part of Catalogic’s blog series on copy data solutions. In the previous two articles, we discussed the issues of excessive copy data, how much of that data stays idle, and why copy data management solutions are so important to businesses.

Here, we’ll talk about what you should look for in a copy data solution, and why.

What to Look for in a Copy Data Solution

Pricing

Not all copy solutions are priced the same way. One of the most popular pricing units is capacity-based. In a capacity model, it is important to differentiate if the pricing is based on source data or based on target appliance capacity. The longer the retention, the more favorable to buy based on source capacity. One should also consider if the capacity pricing will be based on “before dedupe” data or “after dedupe” data.

An alternative pricing method for copy data management is based on storage controllers that are managed by the copy management solution. As controllers become more and more scalable, they can handle a lot more data. Many of these controllers get a 2x performance boost with every major upgrade or refresh. Controller-based pricing for enterprise storage customers can offer incredible savings compared to capacity model.

Support

A copy data management solution can easily replace backup and DR solutions, at which point support for the solution you choose has to play an almost equally important role. Net promoter score measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others. It is used as a proxy for gauging the customer's overall satisfaction with a company's product or service and the customer's loyalty to the brand.

It is also important to understand the vendors’ service locations, average response times for calls and emails, and willingness to provide real-time web-based troubleshooting to speed problem resolution. Don't neglect to ask pointed questions around service if you have no previous experience with a vendor.

Catalogic Software touts a Net Promoter Score of over 82, with over 50% of the staff with Master’s and Doctorate degrees, based in New Jersey and Amsterdam. Average callback time for phone calls is less than 20 minutes and initial email response is less than 30 minutes.

Modern Architecture

It is also important that the solution is built on a modern architecture that is agile, lightweight, scalable, and easily extensible. Microservices, distributed databases, containerization, and an easy to access marketplace are all modern technology elements that will allow your copy data management platform to meet your needs more flexibly and on a timely fashion.

  • An OS container-based deployment allows one to scale up and out very easily while making your setup highly portable. 
  • A microservices-based design and development strategy allows you to solve a lot of problems in their own microcosm without being bogged down by irrelevant dependencies. Companies such as Amazon and Microsoft are fast adopting this technology.
  • Public APIs that can be utilized by service providers and technicallly advanced customers to automate requirements unique to your business needs.
  • An apps/tools marketplace allows a copy data solution to deliver incremental features more frequently and with minimal disruption without waiting for a full upgrade.
  •  A distributed database architecture typically allows copy data solutions to scale out to billions of objects with sharding and also provides high availability through replication of shards.

Catalogic Software utilizes MongoDB shards within docker containers to deliver a scalable solution. New updates are built through microservices interacting through publicly available RESTful APIs and are delivered through the ECX marketplace.

Ease of Deployment

If it takes a project of several weeks or months and several professional service resources to put a solution together, one must wonder how troublesome the solution might be down the road. Agentless deployments, platform-independent web portals, packaged containers or virtual appliances are all key elements to an easy deployment.

Catalogic ECX can be deployed in as little as 15 mins as a virtual appliance and interfaces directly with storage and hypervisors without a need for client agents.  

Switching Costs & Enterprise Risk

There are two approaches to copy data management:

a)     Software-defined; and

b)     Appliance-driven.

Appliance-driven copy data management solutions result in a new RAID stack, a new and proprietary data format and use hardware OEM’d through an independent storage vendor of their choice. This radical transition presents a greater risk to enterprises than plugging in a software-defined copy data management solution such as ECX.

ECX enables the cataloging, managing, and orchestration of the snapshot, replication, and vaulting technologies that are utilized by hundreds of thousands of enterprises worldwide. All of the software managed copies are still retained in the same well-established format of the storage OS. The format even facilitates importing of these relationships to other products that support the same storage OS, if there is ever a need to switch.

With a proprietary format that can only be read and understood by the appliance driven solutions, switching costs increase and customers are “locked in” to these solutions for at least as long as their data retention, which can be several months and stretches to even more when the occasional “legal hold” request comes through.

Executive Summary

As discussed in this blog series, there are many factors to consider when choosing your copy data solution. There is substantial difference between the copy data solutions available in the market today and comparing the solutions on capabilities should be key to choosing the right solution.

Feature

Catalogic Software ECX

Generic Appliance Driven Solution

CDM solution to be evaluated

Insight into current copy data – Compliance Reporting, Storage Utilization Reporting etc.

Yes

No

 

File level granularity in cataloging and File Analytics

Yes

No

 

Integration with Storage Arrays

Yes

No

 

Preservation of primary storage deduplication & compression

Yes

No

 

Need for a Purpose built Appliance or new hardware

No

Yes

 

Reuse of copy data storage for running production or as a load balancer

Yes

No

 

Admin Costs for learning new storage platform and up keep of knowledge

None

High

 

Flexibility to create and reuse “in place” primary snapshots

Yes

No

 

Ability to support data on commodity storage

Available for VMs

Yes

 

RPOs & RTOs

Near Instant

Near Instant

 

Recovery tracking & Avoidance of Copy Creep and Copy Sprawl

Yes

Yes

 

Build of Test/Dev Setups, DevOps, Automated DR, Analytics, Forensics Setups on a schedule with customizable network and storage

Yes

Yes

 

Array Integrated Copy Data Management for NFS/SMB file shares on a large scale

Yes

No

 

Integrated “Promote to Production” and Cleanup

Yes

No

 

Pricing Model

Controller Based

Capacity Based

 

Net Promoter Score

82

30-60

 

Support Initial Call back or Wait time

15 mins

1-2 hours

 

Support Initial Email Response time

25 mins

2-4 hours

 

Location of Support & Services

USA, Holland

Outsourced

 

Containerization Model(if any)

Docker

Not available

 

Microservices/Agile Design and Development

Yes

No

 

Marketplace

Yes

No

 

RESTful APIs

Yes

Yes

 

Distributed Database

MongoDB

No

 

Proprietary Data Format

No

Yes

 

Vendor Lock-in

No

Yes

 

Ease of Deployment

Yes, in minutes

No, takes weeks