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Flash Changes Everything When It Comes to Data Protection



Flash continues to disrupt the storage market, driving the biggest shift in the industry for 30 years as customers transition at record speeds from legacy to flash optimized storage architectures to accelerate how data is stored, analyzed and protected. The speed, affordability and reliability benefits of all-flash arrays such as 3PAR StoreServ are clear. But what does flash storage going mainstream mean for application availability and data protection? Let’s take a closer look at how flash-integrated data protection is helping customers re-think data protection in the new world of flash.

The future of storage is flash

Disruption is impacting every market. UBER is the world’s largest taxi 3PAR Flash Changes Everything Blog.jpgcompany yet owns no taxis. Airbnb is the world’s largest accommodation provider yet owns no real estate. Netflix is the world’s largest movie house and yet owns no cinemas. 

Flash is proving an equally disruptive force in storage, driving the biggest shift in the industry for 30 years as customers transition at record speeds from legacy to flash optimized storage architectures to accelerate how data is stored, analyzed and protected.

If you think comparing the disruptive impact of flash with UBER or Netflix is hyperbole or marketing spin, then consider the following flash adoption market metrics:-

  • The total All-Flash Array (AFA) market generated $794.8 million in revenue during the first quarter of 2016, up 87.4% year over year. [1]
  • More than 80% of IT organizations believe that the 'all flash for primary storage' strategy is right for their environments and will be moving more workloads to all-flash storage platforms over time.[2]
  • AFAs will drive more than 70% of all primary storage spend by 2020.[3]

There are many good reasons for why flash is taking the storage market by storm and they primarily relate to the business outcomes – including capex and opex savings, IT productivity and business transformation – that an all-flash data centre can deliver. 

Flash Changes Everything 1.jpg

HPE 3PAR StoreServ All-Flash arrays are leading the way in the evolution of the AFA market from emerging market to mature market, helping customers unlock the value of the all-flash datacenter. Providing a differentiated “All-flash, no limits” combination of high performance, enterprise-class availability/reliability, affordability and scale, HPE 3PAR All-Flash is delivering triple digital revenue growth, out-performing the market and taking share.

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Flash is changing the game for data protection

But what does the growth of flash mean for application availability and data protection? Should you protect data the same way when it is sitting on a flash array as you did when it lived on HDDs? Put another way, will your existing data protection schemes withstand the data protection recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and application performance demands of an all-flash primary storage environment? How can you ensure that data protection doesn’t become a costly bottleneck, impacting the efficiency of your flash array and the applications stored on it and thus negating the benefits of primary storage flash?

The limitations of traditional backup in all-flash environments

Traditional server-centric backup processes provide reliable “off box” recovery and retention. But they can impact application performance in all flash environments with data typically flowing through the application and backup server. Compromising performance for protection is not an optimal outcome if you have migrated to a flash array to accelerate your workloads!

In addition, the combination of unrelenting data growth and a complex data path means that the enhanced data protection SLAs – typical of all flash environments – are at risk if you rely on traditional backup approaches. User’s expectations that backup and recovery speeds should match those of flash could be severely undermined.

Backup server infrastructures also introduce escalating cost and complexity with the need to disruptively acquire and manage additional servers, software licenses and networking equipment as application data grows.

Snapshots are not backups

In high-availability virtual flash environments, snapshots are typically the first line of defense against data loss. flash array-based snapshots and replication provide fast, non-disruptive point-in-time copies of your data. But snapshots alone cannot deliver comprehensive backup as they have retention limitations, corruption vulnerabilities, and a dependence on the underlying flash storage system. Simply put, your snapshots will be lost if the flash storage system fails. Snapshots are thus designed to complement as opposed to replace backup.

Combine snapshots and backups for best-practice data protection

A more effective approach to protecting data on your flash arrays is to combine the near instant, non-intrusive availability of local and remote snapshots with the reliable recovery and cost-effective retention of backups, delivered in an application-aware, flash integrated data protection solution. 

Welcome to flash-integrated data protection!

HPE Recovery Manager Central software integrates HPE 3PAR StoreServ All-Flash arrays with HPE StoreOnce Systems to provide a converged availability and backup service optimised for flash environments.

It’s augments traditional backup approaches, combining the performance of snapshots with the protection of backups.

As a result, RMC gives you fast, efficient, reliable and simple protection for your business-critical applications running on your 3PAR All-Flash arrays. 

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Rapid and non-disruptive online recovery

RMC allows you eliminate the backup window and enable rapid online recovery with hundreds of fast, non-disruptive, application-consistent snapshots. This reduces the backup impact on your applications, which helps support the performance goals of your 3PAR flash deployment.

Protecting workloads at the speed of flash

RMC’s Express Protect feature delivers the performance that flash application SLAs require with 23 times faster backups[4] and 5 times faster restores than traditional backup methods. 

It achieves this by enabling the backup of snapshot data from 3PAR to a physical or virtual StoreOnce appliance, independent of backup server software. Only changed blocks are sent to the StoreOnce System, thus minimising the impact on the application host or all-flash array. Every backup completes at the speed of an incremental, but is stored as a synthetic full backup, which makes application recovery faster and more efficient.

Less cost and complexity

In the all-flash data center, capacity efficiency is the key to controlling storage costs. RMC streamlines and simplifies the backup architecture required for protecting applications. All backups are deduplicated using award-winning StoreOnce Federated Deduplication technology, thereby reducing backup storage requirements by up to 20 times on average.

Application-managed data protection

RMC allows application integrated protection for VMware, Microsoft SQL, Oracle[5], 3PAR File Persona and any Microsoft VSS-enabled application running as a virtual machine. VM, Oracle and SQL database admins can manage application consistent snapshots, backup, and recovery seamlessly and directly from within their preferred native interfaces.

RMC also enables crash consistent backups and snapshots to be performed on any application running on 3PAR.

An API is also provided for plug-in scripting purposes. This enables developers to integrate the snapshot management and backup benefits of RMC with their own business applications such as SAP HANA.

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Reduced risk exposure

Backups stored on HPE StoreOnce are self-contained, fully independent volumes. These can be restored back to the original or a different HPE 3PAR array in the event of a disaster, or if physical problems occur in the production storage environment. This level of data protection cannot be achieved with snapshots alone.

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Protect the best with the best

RMC seamlessly integrates the world’s most robust flash-optimized primary storage system and the world’s fastest, most scalable and highly available backup system.

The result is an application aware, converged data protection solution that simply and efficiently delivers the end-to-end availability and backup that your applications demand.

So when you invest in a new 3PAR StoreServ flash array, don’t overlook data protection. A flash integrated data protection solution is critical for getting the most from your migration to flash. If flash is the future of storage, then the future of data protection is flash-integrated backup!

Find out more

Data Protection playbook for all-flash storage

Data Protection designed for flash – Taneja Analyst White Paper

HPE Recovery Manager Central

Learn how service provider 99X is bringing fast, simple protection to its customers’ business-critical apps with 3PAR, RMC and StoreOnce.

[1]  Q1 2016 Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker – IDC, June 2016
[2] “Worldwide External Enterprise Storage Systems Forecast, 2016–2020: AFA Market Still Continues to Significantly Outpace Overall Enterprise Storage Growth” – IDC, July 2016
[3]  “Worldwide External Enterprise Storage Systems Forecast, 2016–2020: AFA Market Still Continues to Significantly Outpace Overall Enterprise Storage Growth” – IDC, July 2016
[4] for VMware environments compared to traditional backup environments
[5] Available August 2016




Meet Around the Storage Block blogger Simon Watkins, WW Product Marketing Manager Backup, Recovery and Archive (BURA), HPE Storage.

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