A Win-Win for SQL DBAs and IT

Pass Summit PASS Summit 2014 kicks off today in Seattle, WA, a user forum with over 5,000 SQL Server DBAs and BI architects and professions attending from all over the globe. EMC is there in Booth #508 with experts representing our Data Protection and Availability and Flash Storage solutions – a perfect combination for high performing and well protected SQL Server environments from the industry leader in both markets. Unfortunately, most of us can’t be there. Therefore, I’m using this forum to give you some highlights of our messaging and solutions with some pointers where you can go for more information. Let’s call this an ‘Event in a Blog!’

What do you mean by ‘Win-Win’?

win-win conceptYou can look at it from multiple angles. EMC has a stated strategy of providing visibility and control of data protection to data owners through the use of their own tools. This is a major tenet of the Protection Storage Architecture announced in 2013. Demonstrating that we walk the talk, we have announced various products and capabilities that put the strategy into action. Okay, so where is the win-win? Well, with EMC solutions, while the SQL DBAs are using the tool they want to use (SQL Server Management Studio) and happily running backups and completing their own recoveries without having to pick up the phone or send an urgent email, the IT department is consolidating all backups on designated protection storage. We’ll go into more detail on this later.

Another win-win is the unbeatable combo of EMC Data Protection and Availability solutions with the EMC XtremIO all-flash storage array—both from a single company, thus giving you a one-stop shop for all things high-performance and protected for your SQL Server environments.

Why not just give ‘em what they want??

gimmeWell, it has been problematic for IT to be happy about DBAs managing their own backup and recovery. It has created what we have coined here at EMC the ‘Accidental Architecture.’ What happens with the Accidental Architecture? It creates silos of protected data that are impossible for IT to track and manage. What’s worse, it means it is also impossible for them the ensure SLAs are met and prove processes and procedures for backup and recovery are in compliance.

Nirvana for the SQL DBA; Step One for IT

dd boxLast April, EMC announced Data Domain Boost for Enterprise Applications, which lets DBAs continue to use their management tool directly, while database data  (including SQL Server) is being efficiently backed up directly to EMC Data Domain systems. In these deployments, separate backup software is not required, yet IT is gaining the benefit of storage and network bandwidth efficiencies while the DBA experiences fast backup using their preferred interface. To learn more about DD Boost for Enterprise Apps, refer to this blog from Alyson Langon, Data Domain Product Marketing Manager. To see it in action, watch this demo.

What is Step Two then?

dpsWell, using DD Boost for Enterprise Apps gives the DBA the control they want, and enables IT to get control over the brewing ‘Accidental Architecture.’ But, what if IT wants (and needs) more? That’s where the EMC Data Protection Suite (DPS) comes in. EMC NetWorker, a member of the DPS, also allows the DBA to use SSMS to their heart’s content… and, it also allows IT to consolidate on Data Domain systems. However, it offers additional benefits. Among them is the ability to centrally schedule backups and set corporate policy for DR, retention, and compliance purposes using a plug-in to SSMS. Further, it enables the DBA to choose from their ad hoc backups, or a centralized backup, for recovery thus removing IT from that workflow. The Data Protection Suite also supports SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups in the backup policy, which can be managed by the SQL DBA using SSMS as well. If you’d like to see how this works, check out this demo. What if you start with DD Boost for Enterprise Apps and your needs change?  EMC offers an easy and very economical upgrade to the Data Protection Suite.

Wait, there’s more…

sql serverDeploying SQL Server 2014 in a hybrid cloud scenario? The Data Protection Suite supports protection of SQL Server data in these deployments as well.  If you choose to maintain backups of an on-prem secondary copy (with DR secondary in the cloud), an on-prem secondary (with primary in the cloud), or a DR scenario that includes a secondary in the cloud, but also another secondary in a different physical location, we have you protected. And, again, the SQL DBA is managing and maintaining these relationships across Availability Groups using SSMS. For more information, we have a video available for you on the topic.

And, finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t underscore the core capabilities that EMC’s total backup and recovery hardware and software portfolio bring to the table that offer unique value resulting in faster backup and recovery – DD Boost for 50% faster backup, Client Direct with DD Boost enabling a reduction in backup infrastructure, and multi-streaming with DD Boost streamlining and speeding both backup and recovery.

Believe it or not, I need EVEN MORE!

xtremiovplexWe’ve touched on backup, but what if you really need always on availability—and I don’t mean Microsoft AAG. If your RPO’s dictate continuous data protection with an RPO of seconds or, literally, zero downtime, EMC supports offers a solution to meet your needs with RecoverPoint and VPLEX, respectively. Check out this video for more information in a white board format. And, remember we talked about the win-win of EMC Data Protection and Availability solutions with EMC XtremIO?  This data sheet outlines how we redefine continuous availability and DR with VPLEX and RecoverPoint together with XtremIO.

In Summary

I hope you have found this read educational, albeit maybe not as fun as attending PASS Summit 2014. Stay engaged with us by joining the conversation in the Data Protection Community on ECN and following us on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Author: Sherry Davenport