How Did Copying Data Get So Complicated?
On a long flight back from Asia recently, I was reminiscing about the “good old days” and reminded myself once again how far computing and other technologies have come in my lifetime. One example is in how we make copies of our data. In my early hands-on experience with computers (a Morrow Micro Designs MD2 running CP/M), copying data was a simple command. “A>PIP b:=*.*” would copy all the data from the 5-1/4” floppy disk in drive A to the 5-1/4” floppy disk in drive B. That was basically it.
Today, we can do the same thing with a drag-and-drop operation, but we also have lots of additional choices for making copies: full and incremental backup; backup-as-a-service (cloud backup); continuous data protection; hardware and software snapshots and clones; synchronous and asynchronous replication; clustering; file sync-and-share; and even virtual copies. And there are many other techniques for managing the copies: compression; deduplication; retention and expiration; encryption; tiering (formerly known as HSM); and archiving.
“Wait – deduplication? You create a copy to make a duplicate, and then you want to deduplicate it? Really?”
Of course, all of these technologies have their place and are vitally important to the operational resiliency and even the survival of almost every modern organization. Most use a mixture of several, or maybe even all of these tools to achieve the best possible performance for each different system, application and location, and to protect against all the different things that can go wrong.
The downside is that no one really knows how many copies you have, where they’re located, how long you’ve had them, if they are the correct copies, and whether they could cause a problem if “discovered” during legal proceedings. It’s really difficult to design and enforce copy data retention and expiration policies across the several – or many – silos of tools that create the copies. Have you even tried?
The HDS Vision: Unified Copy Data Management
We at HDS believe that our customers are looking for simpler yet more effective ways to manage copy data. The benefits could be huge: lower infrastructure and administration costs; faster and more complete recovery following a data disaster; and a reduced exposure to a wide range of risks. We know that no single copy technology can replace all of the choices that are currently available – there are just too many individual use cases and variable service level objectives.
Instead, we embrace the choices. Yes, use the technology that is right for each situation. But manage, automate and orchestrate them all together, from a single place. Set policies and workflows that create only the copies you need, store them in the various places you need them, and delete them when they are no longer needed. Automatically.
We aren’t fully there yet, but we’ve made a huge step in the direction of this vision with the release of Hitachi Data Instance Director V5. With HDID you can easily create copy data management workflows that combine live backup, CDP, hardware-based snapshots and clones, off-site replication, and archiving, with business-defined policies controlling each component.
These policies control how, when, where, how often and how long to create and retain the point-in-time copies. The copies can then be leveraged for many different needs, such as: operational and disaster recovery; test and development; audits, e-discovery and reporting; big data analytics; and long-term archives. A single copy can be used for multiple purposes, creating in essence virtual copies.
Please watch this video to see how easy it is to set up a data protection and disaster recovery workflow in HDID: http://edemo.hds.com/edemo/OPO/HitachiDataInstanceDirector_HDID/HDID_Instructional_Demo/HDID_Demo.html
The contents of this post are the author's and do not necessarily represent the position of Hitachi or Hitachi Data Systems.