Quickly modernize your Oracle and SQL databases with Catalogic ECX Software-defined Copy Data Management

Application Aware Copy Data Management for your Database Environment

The management of today’s database environment is fast becoming untenable, primarily driven by the challenges of managing the myriad copies of each database.  Many companies have 10 or more copies of each database, creating an unmanageable amount of copy data that wastes capital and drives up operational costs.  For this reason, Copy Data Management (CDM) is fast-becoming a must-have solution for any enterprise database environment.  ECX integrates with popular databases, including Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server, allowing customers to leverage their existing storage infrastructure to further expand their ability to eliminate copy sprawl, while dramatically improving their capabilities to deliver fresh copies of key databases to those functions and business units that demand them. 

The Database Copy Sprawl Crisis

Companies today rely on their databases—they power the most important applications and house the most important data.  Because of their importance, database environments carry significant challenges for the data center operations teams responsible for managing  them.  Databases  are typically seen as “Tier 1” applications/data and usually require the most aggressive SLAs for uptime, availability and protection—all functions that demand the creation of frequent copies.  Beyond that, copies of the databases are in-demand by teams responsible for analysis and by teams responsible for application development, training or support. 

While the demand for access to the data is high, the nature of databases makes copying and providing access to those copies challenging.   Database workloads are typically volatile—they run transactions that are constantly changing.  They also need to be available close to 100% of the time.  Moreover, they are typically large workloads—creating a full copy of a 10 TB database requires significant time and resources. 

The outcome of this is that the process of creating, managing and providing access to database copies relies on fragile, and often ad-hoc, processes and usually does not meet the needs of the various internal customers of the database system. Customers default to using native DB tools for creating full copies, or rely on their backup application to create copies that are to be used for other functions other than backup/restore.  

The Current DB Copy Data Environment

Figure 1: Copy Data Sprawl defines most Database environments today 

ECX Copy Data Management for Database Environments

Catalogic ECX delivers an optimal solution to the copy data management crisis that exists in many database environments today.  ECX performs CDM “in-place”, meaning that it leverages the snapshot and replication technologies of the underlying storage and virtual infrastructure in a customer environment.  This in-place approach requires no additional infrastructure to purchase and manage, and leverages copies within the primary production environment, rather than requiring new copies to be created in a secondary environment.  This in-place approach is especially powerful in database environments where the data needs to remain online and accessible continuously, and where the data volumes make the creation of extra copies untenable.

Database Integration—a key requirement

Because of the unique characteristics of most database environments (high I/O, need for continuous uptime, strict protection SLAs, etc.), performing copy creation and management requires knowledge of the database management system, and specific points of integration with the DBMs to ensure that the copy process has minimal impact, completes successfully, and results in application consistent copies every time.

To address these unique requirements for CDM in a database environment, Catalogic has incorporated key functionality into ECX which allows the customer to properly define policies and tune ECX, allowing ECX to coordinate the execution of its copy data policies with all popular Database Management Systems.  This approach guarantees application consistency and minimizes disruption to the production environment.  The bi-product of proper CDM is the end of copy data sprawl, as the ad-hoc and unmanaged processes for creating copies quickly are eliminated in favor of a centralized, holistic approach.  

Figure 2 shows the dramatic impact that ECX’s “in-place” CDM has on database environments, by allowing the IT team to deliver the copies to the business functions that need them leveraging efficient snapshots within the production environment.  

DB-Integrated Copy Data Management

Figure 2: Copy Sprawl Eliminated with ECX In-Place Copy Data Management

Oracle and SQL Integration

In addition to ECX’s general approach to coordinating activities with all DBMSs, ECX now also provides deeper, application-aware integration with both Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.  This deeper level of integration further simplifies the CDM processes, bringing the ability to call on specific Oracle or SQL functionality into the ECX policy engine, thereby automating many steps that are manual today, and reducing the need for scripting.  Specific details include: 

  • Deep integration without Agent management: ECX simplifies deployment and ongoing management of application agents to database servers. Light weight App aware agents are automatically injected into the required  servers and are directly updated as needed, centrally managed by ECX, without the end-user intervention
  • Data Masking: ECX includes integrated data masking workflows with the ability to leverage third party masking tools.
  • Integrated Pre and Post Scripting:  ECX allows the customer to leverage existing or new scripts that manage the detailed settings and parameters that are unique to every DB instance.  The policy workflow in ECX includes the step for the user to define which script should be utilized, and to specify when and how the script(s) should be used.
  • Integrated Log Management:  The ECX  policy workflow for creating and using copies of a database includes rich and flexible functionality for managing the database logs.
  • Oracle RMAN Integration: Users can optionally leverage the Oracle RMAN catalog to enable RMAN-supported recoveries with local or remote RMAN catalog creation built into ECX policies.

Copy Data Management for Oracle Databases

Copy Data Management is fast-becoming a must-have solution for any enterprise Oracle environment. ECX integrates storage array copy processes (snapshots, replication, clones) with Oracle databases, allowing customers to leverage their existing storage infrastructure to eliminate copy sprawl, while dramatically improving their capabilities to deliver fresh copies of key databases to those functions and business units that demand them.

Maximizing Storage Efficiency with Oracle and SQL Server Databases

Organizations require copies of production data for use in application development, QA, analysis, and reporting, especially for databases such as Oracle and SQL Server. For various reasons such as performance impact, security implications, and data integrity, performing anything considered a Dev or Test function on production data is rarely a good idea. Instead, organizations restore to SQL cloning and Oracle cloning to create frequent copies of production data sets and continually refresh them to allow secondary functions to be performed with real data. This leads to numerous IT challenges. This report details the specific challenges organizations face, and shows how an effective Copy Data Management solution can meet those challenges and deliver added value, especially in the areas of SQL test data management and Oracle test data management.

Copy Data Management for SQL Server Databases

Copy Data Management is fast-becoming a must-have solution for any enterprise SQL Server environment. Catalogic ECX integrates storage array copy processes (snapshots, replication, clones) with SQL Server databases, allowing users to leverage their existing storage infrastructure to provide critical IT services such as protection and disaster recovery, SQL Server database dev-test, reporting, etc. With ECX, you can quickly and easily deliver fresh copies of data to those functions and business units that demand them.