Archive for March, 2011
It’s only six weeks until EMC World in Las Vegas, and we are busy getting ready. EMC World is a great way to not only learn about EMC’s direction and to hear from EMC customers, but to also learn about the innovations that EMC partners, like Axxana, are bringing to market.
Last year, EMC focused on the “Journey to the Private Cloud.” At this year’s conference you will hear about solutions such as EMC’s Unified Storage offering, the VNX. In fact, there are more than 30 technical sessions covering every aspect of the VNX. You will also hear more about vBlock solutions, combining technology and service from VMware, Cisco and EMC to deliver a guaranteed number of virtual machines and a low-risk path to implementing EMC’s private cloud offering. There are almost 20 technical sessions on vBlock at EMC World.
As part of your educational experience at EMC World, I hope that you will stop by to speak with the Axxana team in the exhibition hall. There you will learn how Axxana is delivering zero-data-loss data protection for VNX and vBlock. We will ensure that your journey to the Private Cloud is both safe and secure.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Geary Sikich wrote an interesting article on Continuity Central, titled “Unrealistic Scenarios? C’mon Man!” In the article Geary compares linear planning to nonlinear planning, and he argues that nonlinear planning is required to develop “truly resilient plans and capabilities.”
He describes linear thinking as:
“A process of thought following known cycles or step-by-step progression where a response to a step must be elicited before another step is taken.”
He describes nonlinear thinking as:
“Thinking characterized by expansion in multiple directions, rather than in one direction; based on the premise that there are many points from which one can apply logic to problem.”
In the summary of the article, Geary wrote one statement really stuck out for me, which I think applies to many organizations today:
“Current planning techniques are asking the wrong questions precisely; and we are getting the wrong answers precisely; the result is the creation of false positives;”
Current linear planning techniques argue that the business managers must classify the business value and importance of each of the applications and business processes that support the business, and prioritize business continuity plans to maintain or recover the “important” applications and processes. The challenge with that approach is that environments are dynamic, applications are in constant flux, and the importance of applications to a process may change over time.
We recently met with an investment management company that has a staff of seven, four of which support applications and 3 of which support infrastructure (servers, storage, networks). The company has over 300 custom applications and 150 packaged applications, supported by four application developers. For a company with this many applications and this few staff, it is virtually impossible to maintain a ranking of the relative importance of each of the applications.
At Axxana, we would argue that a company which asks “Which applications are important?” will get a very precise answer. But answering that question will lead to the false positive that the company can restore the business to full operations.
The tragic events that have occurred in Japan over the past week are unprecedented. It will take years for the country to recover from the terrible combination of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, a massive tsunami, and the failure and potential meltdown of multiple nuclear reactors leading to high levels of radioactivity. Now is the time for focusing on limiting the impact by containing the damage to the power plants, by providing food and shelter for the 100s of thousands of people left homeless, by caring for the injured, and accounting for the missing. Countries around the world are responding to the needs.
Japan is, by most standards, one of the best-prepared countries to withstand earthquakes. Huge buildings in Tokyo swayed through the earthquake on giant shock absorbers, but did not collapse. Most large data centers, many of which had vibration and shock-absorbing racks to house servers, storage and networking, were unaffected. Cellular voice networks became overwhelmed by the increased traffic, but cellular data networks and the internet performed well. What was difficult to anticipate was the combined power and impact of the multiple disasters.
Over time, companies and governments will gain a better understanding the true impact of these disasters and will study and recommend new controls and systems. Similar work was done, after the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. Government agencies and corporations used those tragic events to analyze the impact and mandate new methods for recovering from disasters. As part of that effort , the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Summary of “Lessons Learned” from Events of September 11 and Implications for Business Continuity. One lesson from September 11 was a better understanding of the limitations and vulnerabilities of the traditional Active/Backup disaster recovery strategy. The SEC and others proposed, instead, that a Split-Operations model be used whenever possible to provide much greater recovery capabilities. Similar findings will no doubt come from the analysis of the impact of the disasters in Japan. Along with the Split Operations model, will also come a renewed appreciation for the value of having data centers that are widely separated, by hundreds, if not thousands of miles.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of International Women’s Day, a day in which we reflect on the accomplishments of women and assess our progress towards global equality for women. I can’t even begin to count the great contributions of women to science, politics, medicine, and the arts, but here are a few. Twelve women have received the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Prize and the Prize in Economic Sciences have been awarded to women 41 times between 1901 and 2010. In the history of the Nobel Prize, only one person, Marie Curie, has been honored twice, with the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This is a remarkable achievement.
Marie Curie, Virginia Apgar, Ada E. Yonath, and Amelia Earhart, are just a few of the names that come to mind on this day. However, even women who are not famous, women who have been left out of the spotlight, struggling through day-to-day tasks, are worth mentioning on this day. It’s something we can all relate to.
This year Axxana chose to support the Woman for Woman organization. We encourage all of you to join us and help women make a change. We can all be part of this. Happy International Women’s Day!
This post isn’t being written to be critical of Google. They have a tremendous platform. I know many people who use Google, not only for advertising and searching, but for blogging, for collaboration applications, and for email. But I’ve been watching the continuing problems with Google’s Gmail service. On Sunday, February 27th, a software bug caused some Gmail user data to be deleted. As reported by Google, only .02% of users were affected by the data loss, down from earlier estimates that were .08%. Turns out, though, that .02% of the Gmail user base is still a big number. By some estimates, it’s about 35,000 people. It’s now five days later. The latest update from Google, which is from yesterday, reports that:
We have restored the majority of the affected accounts, and will continue to restore the remaining accounts as quickly as possible. Accounts with more mail are taking more time.
Why would it take Google so long to restore data? Because, Google has to restore the data from tape. Google has an interesting perspective on tape:
To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it’s taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds.
Hours instead of milliseconds? Actually, for some users, it’s days instead of milliseconds. Read the rest of this entry »