Archive for April, 2011
Amazon has built a fantastic reputation as a provider of cloud services. With multiple data centers, service availability levels at 99.9% and integrated data backup services, Amazon’s EC2 makes perfect sense for new companies that want to build software applications and deliver them as a service. By delivering applications as a service, emerging companies can be a disruptive force competing against established packaged-application vendors. And Amazon EC2 enables these Application-as-a-Service suppliers to avoid the up-front capital costs associated with building multiple, redundant data centers. It doesn’t mean, however, that Amazon EC2 is perfect and without risk.
A look at the Amazon Web Services Service Health Dashboard today showed a number of service interruptions and performance issues in Amazon’s Northern Virginia facility on April 21 – 24. Henry Blodget of Business Insider reported that Amazon had a cloud crash and the “cloud crash destroyed many customers’ data.”
It would take a lot of digging to get to the bottom of why data was lost. The Business Insider article refers to a letter from Amazon to a customer that discusses “an inconsistent data snapshot” and Amazon’s inability to recover the data. Unfortunately, corrupted data which has been carefully copied to another location is still corrupted. That’s why it is important to keep a series of application-consistent snapshots together with transaction journals, so that application-data can be restored to its last known good state and updates can be applied to bring the data back to RPO=0. This is precisely what is done with the EMC RecoverPoint/Axxana Phoenix System RP solution. RecoverPoint maintains application-consistent snapshots, and Axxana stores the changed data, protected from fire, smoke, flood, shock, earthquakes, and building collapse.
As the cloud services become increasingly adopted for mission critical applications, perhaps it is time to consider a zero-data-loss solution.
I spent eighteen minutes today listening to someone tell me I was wrong. Actually, I watched a video of Karyn Schulz speaking at a recent TED conference. Her topic was “On Being Wrong.” I’m going to challenge every one of you, including all of my colleagues at Axxana, our current and future partners, and our current and future customers to watch the video. I know, we’re all very busy. But this is important. I want all of you to learn from Karyn exactly how it feels to be wrong. I think you will be surprised by what she has to say.
If you have raised children, you know that for children to learn and to improve, they have to understand that what they are doing is wrong. It doesn’t mean that they should stop doing what they are doing. More often than not, they should continue to do what they are doing, but just improve on it. After all, if you wanted to be a world-class runner, and you weren’t doing it right, you wouldn’t stop running. You would improve on it. Read the rest of this entry »
In the world of software development most testers know the phrase “Happy Path.” Happy Path is when you have a very well defined test case that has no unusual events. If you test your software on the Happy Path, it works, and everyone is happy. Unfortunately, just because software works on the Happy Path, doesn’t mean it will work in production environments, under heavy loads, and under a variety of fault conditions.
Too often, today, disaster recovery testing is done on the Happy Path. If you tightly control the disaster recovery test plan, you can prove to your executive team and your auditors, that you can recover your data, your applications and your business processes. But get off the Happy Path, and the probability of recovery quickly approaches zero.
The real world is filled with randomness and unpredictable events. Often, multiple bad events occur in close succession or even simultaneously. But because organizations test their recoverability on the Happy Path, they delude themselves into thinking that they can actually recover in the event of a real disaster. I think it’s time that we all get off the Happy Path and start building disaster recovery plans that enable organizations to survive the unpredictable and the unplanned.
There was a recent article in The Financial Daily about MCB Bank Limited’s decision to pursue a Zero Data Loss solution to support the company’s banking operations. They chose EMC as their partner, and EMC will be making recommendations on the appropriate storage architecture for the Zero Data Loss solution. I’m always interested in articles about companies implementing Zero Data Loss solutions. It validates our market, and it helps reinforce our message that Zero Data Loss is achievable.
Today, we announced Axxana support for the VCE Coalition’s Vblock 0 and Vblock 1 offerings. Regardless of what opinion you hold on the question, “Will companies implement Private Clouds, Public Clouds or No Clouds?”, you have to agree that, if companies consolidate virtual servers, Cloud or No Cloud, they need high availability and rapid recovery. And if your company decides to implement a Private Cloud based on Vblock 0 or Vblock 1, Axxana and EMC RecoverPoint are ready to insure that your cloud has zero data loss.