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EMC Copy Management

Mike-TroianoBy Michael Troiano, Chief Marketing Officer  –  EMC just got behind our vision for Copy Data Management… at the highest levels, and with implications for both their organization and (eventually) their technology. This is a significant development, and we’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out what it means.

First the facts. Last week, EMC announced a re-org of its various backup and supporting technology divisions. The moves were explained in a blog post by SVP Global Systems Engineering Chad Sakac:

Yesterday, internally we brought together the people that develop VMAX (…Enterprise Storage Division or “ESD”) and VNX (…Unified Storage Division or “USD”). The new team is the “Enterprise and Midrange Systems Division” (EMSD)… The use of the word “system” vs “storage” reflects the fact that “primary storage” is starting to morph and over time, its more and more likely that primary storage subsystems will be also able to run other workloads beyond pure primary storage IP stacks.

We also aligned the teams that make VPLEX and Recoverpoint with the people that develop Avamar, Networker, Data Domain (…formerly called the “Backup and Recovery Systems” or “BRS” team). The new team is the “Data Protection and Availability Division” (DPAD). The organizational change and name change reflects the fact that backup, recovery, continuous availability, snaps, replicas – and their application integration – are all reflective of a common continuum of copy management of the things stored on primary storage.

The change follows on the heels of EMC’s public acknowledgement that “Backup is broken,” specifically by Stephen Manley, the CTO of EMC’s Backup Recovery Systems Division. Mr. Manley elaborated in a beautifully produced EMC copy management video last week, which you can see here. It’s an illuminating 10 minutes, telling a story familiar to our customers:

  1. Today backup operates in a silo “characterized by [a} traditional, separate backup team, separate infrastructure, separate process, and that’s been our industry for the last 20 years.”
  1. The model doesn’t work anymore: “What causes the disruption is the data growth. The data’s gotten so big that the traditional one-size-fits-all backup isn’t scaling as we get to bigger applications, more dense environments, more virtual servers.”
  1. The solution is a “shift from backup to data protection… I want to do more with my data… I want to be able to use my data for disaster recovery… I want to boot it up instantly… and for that to happen I need to keep the data in its native, original format. I can’t be putting it into proprietary, lock-in formats… that way I can do backup, disaster recovery, and archive, because I’ve got the the data in a form that’s useable.”
  1. It’s all leading to something new: “That next wave is where things get more interesting… I start thinking in terms of SLA’s. I don’t want to think about the backup team’s infrastructure… I just want to sign up and say this application, this data should be available on this kind of SLA. This is what I’m paying for.”
  1. He concludes with a vision for the future, ironically a very good description of what Actifio is today: “[Now] I can use my data for more; not just backup, but disaster recovery, and archive. … I start to think to myself, these are all just… copies of my data. They shouldn’t just be idle waiting for the disaster, waiting for the problem to happen. I could use these for test and development… for analytics and data mining… for data distribution… these copies are viable for something more than just sitting there waiting for something to go wrong. They can really add business value.”

EMC Copy Management

Exactly right. Mr. Manley. We’ve just released the 6.0 version of a copy data management platform that’s letting customers in 22 countries tame data growth, set SLA’s for production applications, leverage their “backups” as assets rather than just insurance policies, and manage data in its native format so they can access anything instantly.

What this means for Actifio is that our message and our architecture have again been legitimized by an established market leader, following in the footsteps of IBM, SunGard, Hitachi, Commvault, NetApp, and every major industry analyst firm. For our customers – people who’ve had the vision to get out in front of the data virtualization revolution – it means they were right. Our congratulations and thanks – as always – goes to them.

Prospective customers, perhaps still skeptical about our business impact promises, now need only look to EMC itself for more proof our model is the right one going forward.

The need to distinguish between your production and your copy data storage architectures is now a matter of settled fact. It’s moved from heresy to hegemony, just as cloud-based storage did before it, and server virtualization did before that. The time has come for IT executives to ask themselves 3 important questions:

  1. Do you believe the big storage vendors will put your data growth problem ahead of their own economic interests? Organic data growth among the installed base has been the engine of EMC’s share price for a long time. The disparate architectures they’ve acquired and advanced over the years have created tens, hundreds, even thousands of excess copies of everything you’re trying to protect in production, as more and more cash has flowed from your pocket into theirs. Is your relationship with them such that they’re ready to move on from such a self-serving model? Are they the ones you should trust to get the growth of those copies under control? (UPDATE: EMC President & COO David Goulden just said that the changes described above will mean “no changes to any products, product roadmaps or the way we take our products to market or how we support our customers.” So if you were waiting for them to back their insights up with real product, you might be waiting a while.)
  1. Is it better to solve the copy data problem by knitting together existing technologies, or by leveraging new, purpose-built ones? Every established storage vendor has a stack of products covering Snapshot, Replication, Dedupe, Backup, and Archive. You could buy the whole stack to manage your copy data problem, and wait for the future they’ve predicted. But wouldn’t it be better to use a single product that does all that today, and more? That’s Actifio. That’s radically simple.
  1. What do you need to do to learn more about your own copy data problem? Here’s where we can help.

Below is our “CXO Presentation,” a 15-minute executive overview of Actifio. Give it a look, and if it makes sense, share it with your team, your peers, your friends with our compliments:


When it ends you’ll be able to download to IDC’s extensive, 26-page white paper analysis of the global Copy Data Management market, reflecting interviews with over 700 customers just like you in enterprises spread across North America, Western Europe, and Asia/Pacific.

Finally, use our online tool to get a quick and dirty estimate of how much you could save with Actifio, right here.

If that’s too much effort, just drop us a line, and we’ll call you to schedule a convenient time for us to walk you through the material and answer your questions.

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