“Why bother with something if it’s not differentiated?” questioned Ash, our CEO. “Most backup vendors invoke storage snapshot APIs to manage snapshots on production storage. What is different about us? How will we add more value to enterprises than our competitors?”
These words torched our product management and engineering team for weeks. Sure enough, they took it to their heart and came up with a brilliant idea and executed on it. Let’s get to the core differentiated value points that we set out to deliver to enterprises.
The first thing we decided was to protect applications running on production storage from any vendor and store the backups in PureStorage. We manage each backup version of an app as a snapshot in the target Pure storage.
However, the fun begins while executing recoveries. Let me explain this with a few user stories I picked from our Product Management team.
Scalable, Blazing Fast Recoveries
Jack, the DBA for a mission-critical Oracle DB, is relaxing on a Sunday afternoon in Dallas suburbs watching the Cowboys crush the Giants. He gets a text that somebody put a wrong patch on their 50 TB production DB (running on non-Pure storage)and the app is down. Jack uses Actifio to kicks off the recovery. By the time Ezekiel and Dak orchestrate a 10-yard touchdown drive in 5 minutes, Jack gets an email alert that Actifio has orchestrated the 50 TB database recovery and the app is up and running off the Pure Storage.
Actifio Differentiation: In the background, Actifio has looked up its point in time history, picked the Pure snapshot corresponding to the specified point in time, instructed Pure to mount the snapshot to a server, instructed the Database to bring itself online. Post recovery the performance is blazing fast because all IO is direct between the recovered app and Pure Storage over native Fiber Channel. We predict that the next day Jack would recommend to his team that he prefers to continue running the 50 TB DB off the Pure Storage as this is giving him blazingly fast native performance. So in a way, the disaster recovery event becomes an excuse to migrate to Pure storage.
Push Button Orchestrated VMware Disaster Recovery
Nick, the VMware admin, is driving to the office, stops at Peets to get a coffee. As he was heading, he gets a call that they had a production storage outage and they need to recover 200 VMs ASAP. Nick pulls out his laptop, connects to the free Wifi, logs into his VPN, connects to Actifio’s slick HTML5 UI, selects the saved DR plan and triggers recovery. Nick heads out to his office, and by the time he reaches his office in 30 minutes, he gets an email that all the 200 VMs recovered successfully.
Actifio Differentiation: It’s all about Orchestration. In the background, Actifio figured out the Pure snapshots corresponding to the point-in-time recovery; mounted them to the ESX cluster at DR site, spun up the VMs in the right order with IP, VLAN, DNS settings as defined and saved in DR plan.
The mission of this feature
Our #1 goal is to deliver blazing fast recoveries at scale, with orchestration, by leveraging the underlying storage snapshots. The approach is a refreshing departure from just managing storage snapshots on the production storage array.
Our second goal is to send data to the cloud, for a second copy, efficiently and even more importantly bring it back very efficiently using our delta block differencing technology. When any restores have to be done from a point in time image in cloud back to Pure storage, Actifio first finds the delta blocks between the cloud and the Pure storage array and just the delta blocks. This helps reduce the data transfer OUT costs from the cloud, something that’s very important for many enterprises.
Our third goal is to help enterprises rapidly provision dozens of thin-clones of databases from the Actifio backups stored in Pure Storage. Actifio does this by mounting Pure storage snapshots to multiple test machines and then brings up the databases online for DevOps and Security users for rapid self-service testing. This helps enterprises reduce the application test and release cycles.
For a more detailed conversation, a whiteboard session, or a demo, please meet my esteemed colleague Jay Livens, Sr Director of Product Marketing at Pure Accelerate on May 23rd, 24th at Actifio’s booth # 307. He is also doing a breakout session on Wednesday (23rd) 10:30 AM. See you there.