Mainframes manage 91% of all credit card transactions and operate 68% of the world’s production IT workloads. Yet most businesses still rely on physical tape for mainframe recovery.
Girish Dadge, Director of Product Management at Sungard Availability Services joins IT Availability Now to discuss why this recovery strategy is problematic and digs into how Sungard AS plans to make recovering mainframes smoother by adding Dell EMC Disk Library for Mainframe (DLm) to its Managed Vaulting for Data Domain solution. Learn:
Oliver Lomer is a Senior Solutions Marketing Manager at Sungard AS, where he illustrates business challenges and how technology can solve them through engaging content. Oliver has six years’ experience in marketing, commercial and sales enablement roles in global technology organizations.
Girish Dadge has over 15 years of experience unravelling data backup, restore and recovery challenges, as well as architecting and implementing IT infrastructure and advanced recovery solutions across several industries. He currently serves as director of product management at Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS).
The full transcript of this episode is available below.
OLIVER LOMER (OL): Today 71% of Fortune 500 companies still use mainframes. But despite the threat of shrinking maintenance windows and growing data volumes, the availability of lower cost disk storage options means there are new ways to recover mainframes effectively. I'm your host, Ollie Lomer, and this is IT Availability Now, the show that tells stories of business resilience from the people who keep the digital world available. Mainframes handle 91% of all credit card transactions and operate 68% of the world's production IT workloads. Yet, considering how vital mainframes are to businesses, recovery strategies are often based on physical tape media. Sungard AS is looking to rectify that by adding Dell EMC Disk Library for Mainframe, or more simply, DLm, to its Managed Vaulting for Data Domain solution. On today's episode we're going to take a deep dive into mainframe recovery, examining where most organizations miss the mark, what Sungard AS’ Managed Vaulting for Data Domain with Dell EMC DLm is, and how this new support capability will make recovering mainframes that much smoother. To help us tackle these topics we're speaking with Girish Dadge, Senior Director, Product Management at Sungard AS. Girish, welcome to the show.
GIRISH DADGE (GD): Thanks for having me Ollie, excited to be here.
OL: Brilliant. So, how are most organizations approaching mainframe recovery right now?
GD: As you touched upon, Ollie, physical tape-based recovery has been one of the most prominent solutions that has been used to date. Customers typically see days go by before a test is completed, or at the time of event when they recall tapes from an offsite location to start the recovery process. It's a time-consuming process, but this is something that we have lived with so far. On top of that, it impacts RTO and RPO. Things are slowly changing and evolving, and better technology options are making it easier for everybody, but tape still remains one of the strongest ones.
OL: Okay, so what's actually wrong with tape? Why do organizations even need to find an alternative to it?
GD: We all know challenges with physical tape - administration, physical management of tape, the floor space, the storage cost, often tapes are lost, they are misplaced, and on top of that, tape is very time-consuming. Not only that, it can produce unreliable data recovery. Creation of tapes at a production site is also very time-consuming, and it consumes one of the most costly resources, which is the CPU cycles, or in mainframe terms, MIPS. Apart from these challenges, we find that with the creation and maintenance of tapes, the recovery is unreliable. And one of the most common reasons, which I touched upon, for a recovery test to be unsuccessful is missing that critical tape when you come to a recovery data center. And that's the challenges with tape.
OL: Okay, so what other options do organizations have when it comes to mainframe backup and recovery, and what would you recommend for a more effective replacement?
GD: Tapes and virtual tape libraries or virtual tapes, have been one of the most common technologies that have been used so far. One of the things that I would recommend customers do is evaluate their business risk and choose a solution that matches their expectations. It's all about meeting the business requirements in terms of RTO and RPO, then the technology specs that can be delivered. As far as I can say, Manage Vaulting for Data Domain with Dell EMC DLm solution provides very specific advantages to the customers, and they should evaluate this technology to see if it fits their expectations. As I said, from a recovery perspective, physical tapes have been, by far, the most frequently used solutions. Over time, customers have started adopting virtual tape libraries, which act as a stopgap between the mainframe and the physical tape. The DLm solution includes both primary and deduplication storage concurrently, which allows for tape data to be directed to an appropriate storage based on an intended use. This results in faster and significantly more efficient storage utilization. Not to mention, it improves the backup and restore windows, which are the most critical points from a recovery perspective.
OL: Interesting. Now for those who are not acquainted with Sungard AS’ Managed Vaulting for Data Domain with Dell EMC DLm, how does this service help organizations recover their mainframes?
GD: So, Ollie, Sungard AS’ Managed Vaulting for Data Domain solution is a replication target for customers who are already using Data Domain at their production site. What it does is it provides customers with the flexible, pay as you grow, or a consumption-based model, rather than a CAPEX based dedicated model to utilize Data Domain as their recovery technology. Customers have used Managed Vaulting for Data Domain to enable faster recoveries for a couple of years now, and we are adding DLm to it, to support or assist our mainframe customers. In other words, customers can now replicate their DLm Data Domain to a hosted infrastructure and make use of that to effectively recover all of their data at the time of a disaster or recovery test. This allows customers to replace their physical or virtual tape-based recovery strategy and rely on an efficient, low bandwidth, low cost, and an all OPEX model for mainframe recoveries as well.
OL: So why did we, Sungard AS, choose Dell EMC DLm as the right technology for this offering?
GD: Interesting question. DLm enables complete mainframe tape replacement with the ability to support both primary and deduplication storage that can be matched to an individual customer's data and performance requirement. Sungard AS has been a Dell EMC Platinum partner, and we worked hand in hand with Dell, to build a solution that can offer a considerable cost, performance and availability advantage for our customers. Looking at the unique capabilities of Dell EMC DLm and the ability to offer it as an add on to an existing platform, helped us make the natural choice.
OL: So what listeners may be wondering or what customers out there may be wondering is, what differentiates this service from the others out there that are similar to it?
GD: Ollie, particularly the solution is designed to help customers lower their total cost of ownership by leveraging a fully managed recovery-as-a-service. First thing, it's a consumption-based model, eliminating the need for CAPEX investment at a DR target. This solution can also be your single recovery solution for mainframes, as well as your x86 enrollment. So it gives you one single solution to do backups and recoveries of all your infrastructure requirements and it can be delivered as a fully managed application level recovery, or assisted self recovery model. And of course, all of this comes with the 40 years of experience that Sungard AS brings, in terms of recovery, and helping customers improve their recovery performance and bring confidence in recovery.
OL: So, why, in summary, do you think businesses should switch to this type of solution?
GD: Three simple words, Ollie - cost, flexibility, and reliability. Cost, as I mentioned, is about avoiding the CAPEX investment for infrastructure at your DR site, not only in terms of DLm or secondary storage, but also for the entire mainframe infrastructure, or all the other x86 and infrastructure requirements that you need to stand up your production at the time of DR. Flexibility - it's a cloud based, or cloud consumption model that allows the customer to scale up and down, and optimize the spend for a single consolidated recovery solution. And finally, the reliability that I talked about - Sungard AS can provide a broad range of recovery solutions and options available under one roof with recovery expertise that is unmatched in the industry.
OL: With mainframes more important to businesses than ever before, organizations need better tools for recovering their mainframe following a disaster. Sungard AS’ Managed Vaulting for Data Domain now includes Dell EMC DLm to replicate and recover mainframe environments more efficiently, with pay-as-you-go scalability. Businesses can successfully recover their mainframes without the expense of hiring full-time employees to manage the process. Girish, thank you so much for joining us, it was fantastic to speak with you.
GD: Of course, Ollie. Thank you, I had a lot of fun.
OL: Girish Dadge is Senior Director, Product Management at Sungard AS. You can find the show notes for this episode at SungardAS.com/ITAvailabilityNow. Please subscribe to the show on your podcast platform of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're available. IT Availability Now is a production of Sungard Availability Services. I'm your host, Ollie Lomer, and until next time, stay available.