Over the past few years, we have seen many new companies that try to classify themselves in a new market category called Copy Data Management or Copy Data Virtualization.
In my opinion, this is a marketing effort to try to differentiate them from established and mature backup vendors. Most of them are a backup product copying production data to disk where it can be mounted and used for multiple purposes. We have been doing this at Unitrends for years with our Instant and File Level Recovery technology.
Traditionally many companies use a lot of extra storage maintaining extra copies of production data which is used different purposes For some critical services I have seen scenarios like this:
- Production database service running on SAN storage
- SAN Storage LUN Snapshots/Clone is updated three times a day
- SAN Storage Replication to DR site
- SAN Storage Snapshots/Clones on DR site
- Incremental Backup three times a day to tape
In this scenario for one production workload, you are maintaining five copies of the data. Using different products/scripts to maintain all those copies requires a lot of extra space and increases management costs.
These extra copies are being used for multiple scenarios like real disaster recovery failover, disaster recovery tests, backup and recovery, development changes, analytics, audits, plus more, but do we need so many copies?
Copy Data Management is an approach to reduce the number of copies to two (production and backup) and make them easier to use for multiple purposes.
With the adoption of backup to disk, we realized that backup data on our disk appliances can be virtualized, exposed, and used directly from backup without having to do a full restore. This brings huge benefits as it allows you to instantly mount a virtual copy of your data at any point in time. It also provides consolidation of all those uncontrolled copies used for different purposes under just one single product and single copy.
Now instead of having five copies spread around different places, you can achieve the same results with just one copy stored in your backup appliance. If you want disaster recovery capabilities, just add another appliance as a replication target.
Now you can put your backup data to work by mounting space-efficient virtual copies of the backup in your primary or secondary site and use them for:
- Test data for developers. Developers can run their code against an exact virtual copy of the production data refreshed daily
- IT operations. Sysadmins can run test patches or software upgrades or database migrations on virtual copies and be sure there are no issues
- Improve Backup and DR. Thanks to backup virtualization, recovery from primary or DR can be done in minutes. Replication is deduplicated and WAN-optimized
- Analytics/Reports. Do you need to run some analytics or reports but it may affect production performance? No problem. Run your analytics process over a virtual copy of backed up data
- Daily DR Testing. Forget about that once a year, costly DR test, automate daily testing and simulate a disaster requiring a failover. Get daily reporting on your ability to meet your RPO/RTO SLAs
With a Unitrends appliance, this can all be automated using REST API and Powershell. Download Unitrends Backup and start reducing and consolidating all those extra copies!