Copy data sprawl is quickly getting out of hand. Enterprises are spinning up multiple copies of data to meet growing needs around processes such as retention, test and development, analytics and legal discovery without impacting the production storage system. These copies are critical to running the business, but they are being created with limited oversight and control. As a result, copy data has quickly grown to account for vast amounts of storage capacity (often exceeding that of production storage by ten times), and it is adding a number of storage administration-related headaches. This creates an expensive burden for enterprises to bear.
As discussed in a recent Storage Switzerland blog, The Anatomy of the Copy Data Problem, copy data management has emerged over the past several years to enable storage resources to be used more effectively. At its core, copy data management creates a virtual copy of production data that is updated based on snapshots of changes made to the production environment. This virtual copy can feed other data needs; functions including backup and test and development can be based on an up-to-date replica of production data, without requiring a new, full copy to be created. Storage Switzerland also recently published additional details on utilizing copy data for backup processes in the blog, Can Copy Data Management Replace Backup?.
Copy data management may substantially reduce the expensive infrastructure footprint that is required to store copies. It also stands to lower the performance impact of copy data processes on production storage (for instance, it can reduce the volume of snapshots that the primary storage array must create). Meanwhile, it can be used to more quickly and cost-effectively support growing DevOps, analytics and reporting requirements, as well as to create a secure, read-only volume to protect against ransomware.
Copy data management stands to add substantial value in terms of cutting infrastructure-related costs, speeding disaster recovery, and improving the quality of recovered data. However, not all solutions are created equal. For instance, some solutions replace existing snapshot-based technologies, which could result in a downgrade of capabilities for enterprises that have bought into the substantial industry innovation that has occurred around snapshots.
Storage planners should look for a copy data management solution that acts as a central orchestration tool – creating a centralized copy that feeds the rest of the organization, while also enabling the right technology to be used for the right job. Automated creation and refreshing of copies should be evaluated, with a view to streamlining resources, as should the speed of data capture and restore, to ensure viability of SLAs around availability and performance for production environments.
Access Storage Switzerland’s webinar with Hitachi Vantara, Evolving Data Protection from Backup to Copy Data Management, on demand for further insight.