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The Fix for Delphix: Actifio vs Delphix for Test Data Management – How they Compare

There is no doubt that DevOps is a top of mind subject for application developers.  However, one challenge with DevOps is test data management (TDM). Agile development requires agile data presentation, and traditional approaches to TDM cannot deliver the required responsiveness. In this blog, I will compare and contrast two solutions for automated TDM – Actifio and Delphix.

Chandra Reddy (@getcloudx) from Actifio highlighted the differences between Actifio and Delphix in a recent webcast which is another great resource for information.  

So without further ado, here are five ways that Delphix and Actifio are different.

  1. Total Cost of Ownership with Delphix is 3x higher than Actifio due to very high licensing costs.
  2. Complexity & Operational Burden with Delphix is very high because of the need for staging servers. Actifio doesn’t need any.
  3. Performance of Delphix suffers, especially with large multi-TB databases. Actifio offers flexibility to leverage Fiber Channel, iSCSI, and NFS to deliver high performance.
  4. Scalability issues with Delphix are high because it can’t manage all Delphix appliances from a single pane of glass. Actifio can globally manage with a single pane of glass.
  5. Oracle RAC and ASM environment, Delphix has severe limitations as compared to Actifio.

TCO

Delphix currently licenses their solutions on a per TB annual subscription basis which means that customers are required to pay the full amount for Delphix every year.  Most implementations also require additional high powered hardware and database software licenses.

Actifio, in contrast, typically sells perpetual licenses which result in significant savings since you only pay for the software once and then just maintenance thereafter.  Additionally, Actifio stores data in native format which removes the need for costly hardware and software licenses which further reduces the financial burden. These efficiencies result in cost savings of over 70% as illustrated in the graphic below.

Actifio vs Delphix for Test Data Management

Complexity

Let’s face it, enterprise databases can be complex beasts and so customers need solutions that integrate tightly with these databases but are also simple to implement and operate.  Actifio transparently connects to existing databases and natively supports all the leading ones without requiring staging servers or additional database licenses as part of the basic operation.

Delphix takes a more complex architectural approach.  They require staging servers for all databases except Oracle which means that the end user must purchase, implement and manage significant amounts of extra hardware, software, and storage resulting in increased cost and management complexity.

Speed

Many customers have invested significant resources to optimize database performance.  It is common to see technologies in use such as Fibre Channel (FC) and All-Flash Arrays to maximize database responsiveness.  While production-like performance, is not always required for DevOps, it is critical when it comes to UAT so that final tests can closely mirror production configurations.

Actifio provides the ability to leverage multiple protocols including FC, iSCSI and NFS to allow customers to maximize the performance of their database clones.  Actifio also integrates with array-based snapshots to provide even greater data capture and clone efficiencies. All of this means that customers can optimize performance and cost very easily with Actifio while leveraging the infrastructure that they already have in place.

Delphix provides one interface option – NFS.  They do not offer high-performance block protocols or any form of array integration.  This limits the performance that they can provide and their ability to leverage existing hardware investments.

Scalable management

As environments grow, customers test data management infrastructure increases as well.  Customers need scalable management for TDM to ensure ease of use and cost containment.

Actifio provides a powerful console called Actifio Global Manager (AGM) that allows for the central management of hundreds or even thousands of Actifio instances anywhere in private or public cloud like AWS, Azure, Google, and IBM.  AGM provides a unified view into all Actifio appliances, applications and clones which enables a simple and consistent management process regardless of environmental size.

Delphix takes a single appliance approach.  As environments scale and customers need more instances, each is managed separately and independently.  Thus the burden of management grows with environments resulting in added complexity, cost and failure risk.

Advanced Oracle Support

Oracle is one of the most popular database environments, and it offers a range of advanced technologies including Real Application Cluster (RAC) and Automatic Storage Management (ASM).  These features enhance the performance and availability of Oracle databases.

Actifio provides deep integration with both RAC and ASM including capturing data in parallel through multiple RAC nodes and provisioning virtual databases directly into ASM environments.  These advanced integrations ensure that customers maximize their investment in Oracle technology and get production-like availability and performance in their TDM infrastructure.

While Delphix supports Oracle, they do not provide the same breadth and depth of support.  Specifically, they only support data capture through one RAC node and cannot provide virtual clones to an ASM environment.  As a result, users experience significant limitations when leveraging Delphix with Oracle.

The quality of test data management tools can determine the success of the application development process.  From providing and accessing data sets to testing against them, the efficiency and effectiveness of the process can mean the difference between pushing applications live in days versus weeks or months.  The more release cycles a company can implement, the faster they can respond to changing market conditions and competitive threats. 

By leveraging advanced TDM tools, customers can accelerate release cycles and improve their competitive positioning and profitability.  The quality of test data management tools can determine the success of the application development process. From providing and accessing data sets to testing against them, the efficiency and effectiveness of the process can mean the difference between pushing applications live in days versus weeks or months.  The more release cycles a company can implement, the faster they can respond to changing market conditions and competitive threats. What are your thoughts on how test data management tools can positively impact businesses?

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