EMC’s Remedy to the Accidental Backup Architecture

As we hit the mid-point of our EMC briefing day, we sat down with the folks from EMC’s Data Protection and Availability division. The first item of discussion was the Data Domain product family. As we have covered in recent articles, EMC has invested heavily in their flagship data deduplication appliance to enable application owners to utilize their various native application backup tools to manage and control the protection of their business data assets.

With the consumerization of IT, backup administrators can no longer mandate the use of a single, centralized backup tool to protect key business application data. In fact, many organizations are straining to manage the multiple silos of backup that have crept into their environments over the years as application owners have wrested back control of protecting their application data. Aptly referred to by EMC as the “Accidental Architecture”, this is when applications like Oracle, VMware, SQL etc. end up with their own discrete silos of backup; resulting in increased backup complexity, cost overruns and exposure to data loss.

Rather than fight this trend, EMC is enabling IT organizations to leverage a common backup platform, i.e. their Data Domain appliance family, for all the disparate application backup tools that may be present in any given data center environment. By integrating the Data Domain Boost software technology with pervasive business applications like Oracle and VMware, EMC is enabling organizations to shift from their disparate Accidental Architectures to a cohesive “Protection Storage Architecture”.

EMC’s Protection Storage Architecture enables application owners to utilize backup management tools like Oracle RMAN, VMware vSphere Data Protection Advanced backup applications as well as traditional backup platforms like Symantec, Networker and many others, to utilize a common backup repository for deduplicating, compressing and replicating backup data offsite.

In addition to simplifying backup management and consolidating multiple backup silos, applications which utilize the Protection Storage Architecture can readily access their backup data for other purposes since it’s stored in the applications native data format. For example, backed up VMware machine images (VMDKs) can actually be used as boot images for recovery directly off the Data Domain appliance. Likewise, Oracle database backups residing on Data Domain storage could potentially be queried against for business intelligence purposes. In other words, additional business value can now be extracted against backup data.

Perhaps one of the most noteworthy enhancements to the Data Domain appliance family is its ability to serve as a backup target for data archiving applications. EMC has spent several years fine tuning the Data Domain filesystem to handle archival data workloads. According to EMC, these enhancements are resulting in 4x faster ingest of archive data and many environments are also seeing a 4-5x reduction in archive data. Some EMC customers are consolidating backup and archive on to a single appliance, while others that are bound by regulatory compliance are dedicating an appliance for archival processes.


Between flat IT budgets and shrinking data center floor space, it is increasingly important for organizations to leverage infrastructure assets across as many business use cases as possible. Data Domain’s support for dozens of business, backup and archiving applications is enabling IT planners to utilize a common Protection Architecture backup platform to protect data assets, shrink backup storage footprint and reduce the costs and complexity associated with bloated backup silos.

As a 22 year IT veteran, Colm has worked in a variety of capacities ranging from technical support of critical OLTP environments to consultative sales and marketing for system integrators and manufacturers. His focus in the enterprise storage, backup and disaster recovery solutions space extends from mainframe and distributed computing environments across a wide range of industries.

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Posted in Briefing Note

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