Stages of Protection Storage Architecture
This is the second blog in a series supporting EMC’s Business Resiliency eBook. Use the menu to the right to explore the rest of the series.
As with anything worth doing, creating a resilient business is not an easy or quick transition; especially in an area of IT that has traditionally been viewed as a required tax. Of course, I am referring to today’s backup, recovery, archive, availability, and disaster recovery environments. However these atrophied environments are the low hanging fruit in the wave of IT transformation and modernization. EMC’s Data Protection Index discusses some of the key problems firms are having in these areas. Let’s walk through the major milestones of protection storage architecture we are taking our customers through to deliver a truly resilient business platform.
Consolidated healthy BURA Architecture
What does a healthy consolidated backup recovery and archive architecture look like? Well the good part about EMC and protection storage architecture is we are rich in content around this subject. From world class products to leading edge software and services
Standardized and Optimized BCDR/Availability technologies
This is an area with a plethora of EMC supporting technology and services. However a noteworthy item to consider is unlike the BURA space, the availability world is experiencing a divide in the mechanics for delivering on application needs. In addition to the traditional silo’d hot and warm standby models, a platformed continuous availability approach is gaining ground in many enterprise environments.
Well Aligned business requirements to Data Protection SLA’s / Services
Every time I discuss this topic with a customer they very promptly inform me that they “did this”. So why would I deem this a required step? Well because “did this” implies a one-time event, not a systemic process that occurs in lock-step with changes in the business. When retirements and service attainment are out-of-sync, several issues are likely to occur, the best of which is a disgruntled business owner, the worst of which is an orange jump suit custom fitted for you. Let’s avoid both of these and get a repeatable cadence established for alignment.
A mature policy and governance framework that ensures compliance
So why the focus on compliance? Most organizations are all too aware of the retention and audit needs their industry demands and have done a good job of staying compliant and avoiding fines and those pesky orange suits. We continue to bring this to the forefront because 1) as good stewards in the industry, this has to stay front and center, and 2) the landscape for achieving compliance is changing. Case in point, take a look at VMware’s V Cloud air offering and the ease at which a company can backup virtual machines in the cloud. What data center is it actually living in? Will it meet your audit and data security requirements? Luckily vCare is very specific and communicates endpoint backup locations and compliance specific data. However not all cloud services do or will.
Target future state hybrid data protection storage architecture
There are three key building blocks that need to be included in this evolved architecture. First is the concept that all physical devices must have secure full fidelity API access to all features and functions. Second is the ability to control all aspects of the protection storage architecture based on business maintained and managed policies, and third is the requirement of total abstraction of location, brand, make and model of the devices used to provide the discreet data protection functions within the architecture. As you look at revitalizing your current BURA and BCDR platforms these three aspects should be front and center to drive the lowest time to value.
you have to programmatically tie your stratified availability and BURA services into a corporate interface that allows consumption. At this point in the IT transformation journey that most enterprises have undertaken, a service catalog is in place and waiting to be populated.
Full hybrid automation & orchestration
I’ll not bore you with what automation is or what orchestration is. That’s what google is for. However, I do want to make sure that its clear how automation and orchestration (A&O) are the lynchpins for transformation in data protection. Imagine that all of your BURA and availability workloads are defined in the context of the business applications they represent. So instead of saying my BURA backup jobs are classified by block, file, object, etc. they are classified by Oracle financials, Peoplesoft HR, JD Edwards ERP, etc,. Furthermore, each business-defined workload has a set of consistent programmatic attributes that define the workloads’ BURA or availability needs (RTO, RPO, SLA), business value, and compliance needs. These values create a container that is readable by the A&O engine and translated into direct action to be taken by that engine to achieve the workloads requirements (provisioning, de-provisioning, security, migration, etc.).
Service catalog integration
Think Apple app store, that’s how you want your business consumers to leverage your data protection services. To enable that, you have to programmatically tie your stratified availability and BURA services into a corporate interface that allows consumption. At this point in the IT transformation journey that most enterprises have undertaken, a service catalog is in place and waiting to be populated.
Holistic financial model for pricing, charge back/show back
Last but definitely not least, is the need to have a direct tie into the mechanics for expenditure authorization and a direct flow of those cost into the financial reporting system leveraged within the organization. In the contest of the apple app store example the service catalog and storefront need to have appropriate controls to ensure good business / fiduciary transaction is being requested.
One more thing…
As architects and engineers, we like to lay everything out in a linear fashion. In this case we really have to resist that urge. The items discussed above are more like a Chinese menu and as experience would prove; all customers are different with varying levels of technology, people skills, and processes. Said differently, the correct starting point for one customer may be different for the next.
So where do you begin? Reach out to your EMC account manager of course. He or she will engage the required resources to get you going down the path to a resilient business.