EMC Introduces Own Version of Copy Data Management

Copy data management applies the same virtualization approach to data that changed everything with servers more than a dozen years ago.

emc copy data management

LAS VEGAS—Big EMC has taken a tip from a much smaller Boston-based company, Actifio, and come out with its own version of a product that could eventually replace conventional data governance of everything that is not primary data.

EMC Enterprise Copy Data Management (eCDM), introduced May 2 at EMC World 2016 here at the Sands Expo, new software to be made available this fall that enables enterprises to regain control of the spiraling costs of storing and managing multiple copies of the same data.

Copy data is everything that is not currently being used in production. Actifio pioneered the new approach with its copy data virtualization (CDV) several years ago, but it is now provided by multiple vendors, including EMC as part of its data management lineup.

Actifo's CDV applies the same virtualization approach to data that changed everything with servers more than a dozen years ago. It frees data from the use case-defined silos of infrastructure that characterize older-generation data management architectures, and opens the door for global enterprises to obtain better use of their apps.

Go here to see an eWEEK slideshow outlining Actifo's copy data virtualization.

Just as the "cc" function in email can make it far too easy to create data sprawl in the email inbox, unmonitored snapshots, for example, can cause the same problem in the data center. Researcher IDC has estimated that by 2018, global businesses will waste some $51 billion storing data on the wrong tier of storage, or storing data they no longer need. eCDM aims to provide companies with a cross-enterprise tool to streamline processes for monitoring, managing and analyzing copy data.

EMC's Approach to Handling Copy Data Management

EMC's take on handling copy data management is quite different from Actifio's. The eCDM goes out and discovers the data copies, creates metadata around those copies, then provides analytics to let users interrogate the system about the data. The entire process is automated, so that admins need only to do a minimal amount of work.

"With Actifio, they are very dependent on an IBM SBC (session border controller) control plane," EMC President of Products and Marketing Jeremy Burton told eWEEK. "They need this cloaking layer to be wedged in the middle (as an interpreter) so that their metadata management thing can access something that is homogenous.

"So architecturally, we're not dependent on any intermediate layer. It's going to take a little bit of time to build support for various different storage arrays and so on, but we firmly believe that in order for this to be pervasive, it has has to be non-invasive. We can't be requiring cloaking. Non-invasive is a frictionless deployment, and it's got to be a global view, it can't just be on-prem."

Copies of a company's reference data are the majority data within most enterprises, Burton said.

Keeping Track of Data Inventory in Automated Fashion

"Sometimes the copy you keep is the one that gets you trouble," Burton said. "Years ago in the Morgan Stanley case, they disclosed to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) that they'd given them all they had (of relevant data in an investigation), and then they discovered a bunch of tapes. You would hope these days that fewer and fewer people are doing tape backups.

"If you have a digital copy anywhere, you should have a single catalog that allows you to understand where it is, what it is, and how many you've got. That is the basic premise."

eCDM will will become available in Q3 2016, EMC said. Its initial focus will be on addressing copy sprawl in EMC systems, including visibility into VMAX All Flash, VMAX3, XtremIO and Data Domain systems.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...