StorageShort: Copy Data Methods

2015 is going to be a big year for Copy Data. We expect every major data protection vendor to release some form of copy data management solution to the market this year. But vendors will take different approaches to deliver their vision of copy data. As we discuss in this StorageShort so far we have seen three general forms of copy data management solutions come to market.

The first method that copy data is being delivered is what we call the split write method. This method essentially creates a second storage system and then installs a write splitter in the hosts being protected. The second write is then sent to a storage system or software defined storage (SDS) solution that manages the copy data process. Typically this software provides the basics of copy data management (search and capacity management) but it does require direct interaction with the host so the write splitter can be installed.

The second copy data method is the application snapshot method. This method installs software directly into the application layer to manage copies as an application changes. These changes are then sent to a secondary storage system or SDS infrastructure. This method provides clean access to application data, but again requires interaction with the host.

The third copy data method is the managed snapshot method. This method leverages the snapshot’s capabilities of an existing storage array, but adds search and capacity management. In some cases the solution can also add automation and analytics. The advantage of this method is that it leverages the storage hardware that is already there, but the copy data management vendor has to do integration work in order to support each particular system.

We expect this third method to be very popular both with copy data management developers and IT professionals. But we expect that vendors will be very silo’ed in their delivery of the solution. For example if storage vendor A also has a data protection application in its portfolio it may only provide copy data management for its solution. It is important that third party software developers lead this market so that the functionality can be delivered across platforms.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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