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We asked Syncsort how they think their use of Snapshot copies is modernizing backup and recovery, as well as to describe their strategy moving forward. 


By Peter Eicher, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Syncsort Incorporated


Snapshots are one of my favorite topics. It’s something I’ve blogged about extensively, ranging from making your backup dreams come true to looking at the future of backup to how a few Snapshots can add up to a lot of backup. Not only do I think snapshots are a good idea for modernizing data protection, I think they’re a must-have. 


The reason is simple: data growth. Legacy backup models have been overwhelmed by the massive expansion in digital content experienced across all organizations.  Backing up the same files over and over again is a waste of valuable resources and precious time. Deduplication on the disk target helps, but it isn’t enough to solve the problem. To really modernize backup and recovery you must address it end-to-end, and that begins at the application server.


The first advantage of snapshots is they let you back up differently. You can get at the data below the file layer. By targeting changed blocks instead of changed files you reduce the impact and time of the backup process dramatically, especially in the case of large data objects like databases. In one case, we took a SQL server backup that was taking a customer nearly 48 hours to complete and reduced it to 20 minutes! These efficiency gains are also critical to virtual machine environments where resources are far more limited. 


The integration between Syncsort and NetApp in the NetApp Syncsort Integrated Backup (NSB) solution allows users to extend NetApp technology into any primary storage environment. No matter where your data and applications live, you can protect them onto NetApp disk by using Syncsort server-side technology. Syncsort chose to leverage NetApp Snapshot technology because it’s the best in the industry. Through the integration of NetApp snapshots, Syncsort can turn any backup into a full read/write image of the source data, even though you back up only newly changed data blocks. To put it another way, every backup gives you the benefits of a full backup, even though you are probably moving no more than 1 percent of the total data at any given time.


And snapshots also deliver great recovery speed. It doesn’t matter how large the data object is, with NSB you can access that data in less than two minutes and with only a few mouse clicks by creating a clone of the data using NetApp FlexClone technology. This is another area of the NSB integration: Syncsort software provides numerous workflows via simple GUI-based mechanisms. An operator doesn’t need to know how NetApp FlexClone works to make use of it, so the backup admin doesn’t have to be a disk expert. (Want to see an NSB Instant Availability demo?)


For all these reasons – speed, efficiency, simplicity -- snapshots represent the future of backup. There really isn’t any alternative if users are going to contend with massive data growth while simultaneously virtualizing their applications. Going forward, Syncsort will continue to leverage new NetApp disk features, such as data compression to save space and on-disk encryption to secure data, all in the context of snapshot-based data protection to meet the evolving needs of a modern data center.


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