Thursday, September 15, 2005

Information Lifecycle Management

Yesterday, I attended an EMC seminar at Sheraton Towers. The topic of the seminar is about “Backup and Recovery”. I am quite interested of the topic because our data are really growing very fast and we need to improve on how we do our backup.

The seminar started at about 2.30pm and I am really impressed by the first speaker, Jon Murray who is the Regional Manager Business Continuity for Asia Pacific. His presentation is clear, at the right speed and his sense of humor is just natural. His presentation is about “Accelerating Information Lifecycle Management”. So what is “Information Lifecycle Management”?

In the most simple term of “Information Lifecycle Management”, it is about knowing what data you have, classify them and storing them on the most appreciate storage device and device. So what’s that gonna to do with backup and recovery? Well, traditional backup tape is also a form of storage. The amount of data are growing really fast and one of the challenge is how fast can we backup those data and more importantly, how fast can we recover those data if needed. Data are increasing, backup windows are decreasing and the integrity those backup are challenging!!!

With ILM, you have to understand what data do you have and classify them. For example, data that are dynamic which keep changing, data of high transaction basis (OLTP), data that never change and even duplicated data. Normal, we just backup all those data without even bothering what are being backup. For example, we might have 1TB of data and 50% of those data are really static. In this case, every copy of those full backup contained duplicated data of 500GB. Now, if we stored all 1TB on the fibre channel harddisks of a SAN, we are wasting 500GB of space for other high transactional application. What should we do with the 500GB of static data? Those data can be moved to a more cost effective low storage like ATA for online archiving or EMC Centera (which is EMC Content Addressed Storage) for active archiving. If those are still expensive and the likelihood of those data being accessed is low, you can backup to tape for offline archiving.

We should also look at various technologies and IT infrastructures to help us implement ILM. Things to considered are:
How to implement Server and Storage Consolidation. Virtualization, SAN, NAS or iSCSI?
Where to backup and restore our data? Disk to Disk, Disk to Tape, Disk to Disk to Tape? This really depends on how critical your data is, how reliable you want your backup to be and how fast you can recover your data. Well, budget is also a consideration.
Where and how you want to archive your data?
The movement of data from one storage to another throughout its lifecycle should be an automated process.

Back to our situation, we are not ready to have such a comprehensive storage, backup and recovery implementation; at least the budget is not that. However, we do need to simplify our backup without impacting the performance and work on the archiving portion to reduce the amount of data being backup. This is will be another project for us.

Here are some links to know more about ILM.
http://www.emc.com/ilm/
http://www.snia.org/tech_activities/dmf/ilm/
Computerworld
http://www.cascommunity.org/portal/index.php


1 comment:

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