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2014

Storage I/O trends

World Backup Day Generating Awareness About Data Protection

This World Backup Day piece is part of my ongoing Data Protection Diaries series of posts (www.dataprotecitondiaries.com) about trends, strategies, tools and best practices spanning applications, archiving, backup/restore, business continuance (BC), business resiliency (BR), cloud, data footprint reduction (DFR), security, servers, storage and virtualization among other related topic themes.

data protection threat risk scenarios
Different threat risks and reasons to protect your digital assets (data)

March 31 is World Backup Day which means you should make sure that your data  and digital assets (photos, videos, music or audio, scanned items) along with  other digital documents are protected. Keep in mind that  various reasons for protecting, preserving and serving your data regardless of if you are a consumer with needs to protect your home and personal information, or a large business, institution or government agency.

Why World Backup Day and Data Protection Focus

 

By being protected this means making sure that there are  copies of your documents, data, files, software tools, settings, configurations  and other digital assets. These copies can be in different locations (home,  office, on-site, off-site, in the cloud) as well as for various points in time  or recovery point objective (RPO) such as monthly, weekly, daily, hourly and so  forth.

 

Having different copies for various times (e.g. your protection  interval) gives you the ability to go back to a specific time to  recover or restore lost, stolen, damaged, infected, erased, or accidentally  over-written data. Having multiple copies is also a safeguard incase either the  data, files, objects or items being backed up or protected are bad, or the copy  is damaged, lost or stolen.

 

Restore Test Time

While the focus of world backup data is to make sure that  you are backing up or protecting your data and digital assets, it is also about  making sure what you think is being protected is actually occurring. It is also  a time to make sure what you think is occurring or know is being done can  actually be used when needed (restore, recover, rebuild, reload, rollback among  other things that start with R). This means testing that you can find the  files, folders, volumes, objects or data items that were protected, use those  copies or backups to restore to a different place (you don’t want to create  a disaster by over-writing your good data).

 

In addition to making sure that the  data can be restored to a different place, go one more step  to  verify that the data can actually be used which means has it be decrypted or  unlocked, have the security or other rights and access settings along with meta  data been applied. While that might seem obvious it is often the obvious that  will bite you and cause problems, hence take some time to test that all is working, not to  mention get some practice doing restores.

  

Data Protection and Backup 3 2 1 Rule and Guide

  

Spiceworks backup data protection

  

Recently I did a piece based on my own experiences with data protection including Backup as well as Restore over at Spiceworks called My copies were corrupted: The 3-2-1 rule. For those not familiar, or as a reminder 3 2 1 means have more than three copies or better yet, versions stored on at least two different devices, systems, drives, media or mediums in at least one different location from the primary or main copy.

  

   

Following is an excerpt from the My copies were corrupted: The 3-2-1 rule piece:

    

Not long ago I had a situation where something happened to an XML file that I needed. I discovered it was corrupted, and I needed to do a quick restore.

    

“No worries,” I thought, “I’ll simply copy the most recent version that I had saved to my file server.” No such luck. That file had been just copied and was damaged.

    

“OK, no worries,” I thought. “That’s why I have a periodic backup copy.” It turns out that had worked flawlessly. Except there was a catch — it had backed up the damaged file. This meant that any and all other copies of the file were also damaged as far back as to when the problem occurred.

    

Read the full piece here.

  

Backup and Data Protection Walking the Talk

 

Yes I eat my own dog food meaning that I practice what I  talk about (e.g. walking the talk) leveraging not just a   3 2 1 approach, actually more of a 4 3 2 1 hybrid which means different  protection internals, various retention's and frequencies, not all data gets  treated the same, using local disk, removable disk to go off-site as well as  cloud. I also test candidly more often by accident using the local, removable  and cloud copies when I accidentally delete something, or save the wrong  version.

Some of my data and applications are protected throughout the day,  others on set schedules that vary from hours to days to weeks to months or  more. Yes, some of my data such as large videos or other items that are static  do not change, so why backup them up or protect every day, week or month? I  also align the type of protection, frequency, retention to meet different  threat risks, as well as encrypt data. Part of actually testing and using the  restores or recoveries is also determining what certificates or settings are  missing, as well as where opportunities exist or needed to enhance data protection.

Closing comments (for now)

Take some time to learn more about data protection including how you can improve or modernize while rethinking what to protect, when, where, why how and with what.

In addition to having copies from different points  in time and extra copies in various locations, also make sure that they  are secured or encrypted AND make sure to protect your encryption keys. After  all, try to find a digital locksmith to unlock your data who is not working for  a government agency when you need to get access to your data ;)...

Learn more about data protection including Backup/Restore at www.dataprotectiondiaries.com where there are a collection of related posts and presentations including:

Also check out the collection of technology and vendor / product neutral data protection and backup/restore content at BackupU (disclosure: sponsored by Dell Data Protection Software) that includes various webinars and Google+ hangout sessions that I have been involved with.

Watch for more data protection conversations about related trends, themes, technologies, techniques  perspectives in my ongoing data protection diaries discussions as well as read more about Backup and other related items at www.dataprotectiondiaries.com.

Ok, nuff said

Cheers
  Gs

Storage I/O trends

iVMcontrol iPhone VMware management, iTool or iToy?

A few months back I was looking for a simple easy to use yet robust tool for accessing and managing my VMware environment from my iPhone. The reason being is that I don't always like to carry a laptop or tablet around, not to mention neither fits in a pocket very well. Needless to say there are many options for accessing VMware products and implementations that run on tablets including iPads as well as laptops among others.

 

Why do I need iVMcontrol

I wanted something that I could quickly access and check on a VM guest, start or stop things, gain status updates if or when needed from my iPhone. Also keeping in mind that this would be a tool that would not be used constantly throughout the day, maybe at best one or twice a week, hence needed to be affordable as well. At $9.99 USD the tool I found and selected (iVMcontrol) was not for free, however I have gotten that value out of the tool already in just a few months of having it.

 

As mentioned, the tool is iVMcontrol which you can get from the iTunes store (here's the link).

Storage I/O IVM on iPhone
View of iVMcontrol from iPhone

 

Granted iVMcomtrol is not the same as other app's for full-sized tablets or laptops, however for an iPhone it's not bad! In fact other  than a few nuances namely using a virtual mouse, it's pretty good for what I  use it for.

 

That's the key is that while I use the vSphere client or  vCenter Browser for real activities, iVMcontrol served a different purpose. That  purpose is for example if I just need to check on something or do basic  functions without having to get the laptop out or something else.  Even in  the lab if I'm making a change or need to start or stop things and forget the  laptop in another room, no worries simply use the iPhone.

 

Sure using a tablet would be easier, however I usually don't  care a tablet in my pocket.

 

How often do I use iVMcontrol?

Depends however usually a couple of times a week depending  on what I'm doing.

 

For example if I need to quickly check on a guest VM, start or stop something, or general status check iVMcontrol has come in handy.

Storage I/O IVM main screen
Various VMware hosts (PM's) in a VMware datacenter

Storage I/O IVM main screen
Various Guest VMs on VMware host (PM)

iVM VMware storage I/O space
VMware host storage space capacity usage

Storage I/O IVM main screen
Managing a guest VM

iVM Windows guest
Accessing Windows Guest VM via iVMcontrol

iVM Windows guest storage I/O activity
Checking on Windows Guest Storage I/O activity

 

As you can see the screen is small, sure you can zoom in thus good for checking in on activity, or doing basic things. However for more involved activity, that's where a tablet or regular computer comes into play accessing the VM guests, or VMware using the vSphere Client or vCenter web client type tools.

 

Is iVMcontrol an iTool or iToy?

 

IMHO its a tool, granted its also a fun toy.

 

Is a tool such as iVMcontrol a necessity or a nice to have for when I need to use it to check on something quick.

 

That depends on what you need vs. wants.

 

For me, it is a convince tool to have when I need it, however just because I have it does not mean I have to use it all the time.

 

Ok, nuff said (for now)

Cheers Gs

Storage I/O trends

Missing MH370 should remind us, do you know where your digital assets are?

 

I recently did a piece over at InformationSecurityBuzz  called Dark Territories, Do You Know Where Your Information Is?

 

Clouds and lack of insight awarness

 

In that piece (click here), I bring up the topic of dark territories  which with the recent missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 (e.g. MH370)  reminds us that even with today's 24x7 Internet of Things (IoT) connected world,  there are still dark spot areas lacking in coverage or monitoring.

 

Some of you might have heard of dark territories as a term used in days of old that refereed to parts of railroads or other transportation that were out of site with no command, control, monitoring or communications.

 

Perhaps something that the tragedy of MH370 will remind us all is just how big this planet is, and not everything is connected or covered or monitored yet, or, at least that we know about or have access to.

    

Excerpt from the piece:

    

It might seem awkward today in this era of instant access to news, information as it  happens, or in some cases before it happens how can we not know where something  is?

    

Between traditional media and social media, not to mention public on-line  web sites, along with big data powered government (or private) surveillance  using radar, cell-phone or other radio based, not to mention satellite  tracking.

    

Thus, how can we not know where things are?

    

Do you know where your data and information are or have been?

Do you have positive control over where you data and information have been?

Is your data and information exposed to dark territories?

With the recent disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 (MH 370) a Boeing 777 flying from Kula Lumpur to Beijing China, how can we not know where it is? After all, we all have public access to sites such as FlightAware and FlightRadar among many others, not to mention sites we in the public may not have access to. Same with using Cell phones or other forms of electronics, surely in the 7×24 non-stop, always connected world we should have insight and situational awareness about where things are always at, right?

Wrong!

Click here to read more.

Do you have digital dark territory or security surveillance gaps in your environment?

 

Dark Territory and digital data security

 

How safe and secure are your digital assets and information resources including data, software applications, hardware and services?

 

Are you securing your information and digital assets with rings or layers of defense?

 

What about tracking where those items including data or hardware and software  have been or do you have dark territory points of exposure

 

Hopefully you are not one of those that I see at airports, coffee shops  or at events who  leave your computer or other digital assets alone,  unattended while going to get a new beverage, or off to the rest room, talking on the phone? No  worries, others will watch over your digital assets, right?

 

Closing comments about MH370

 

In the meantime condolences to those who lost friends and family including crew members on MH370. I only have flown MH a couple of times including over some dark or almost dark territories between the US and Asia and on to Australia in and out Kuala Lumpur which was a good experience. Also would like to extend thanks and best wishes to all of those involved in the search efforts so that someday we can learn what happened as well as to prevent it in the future.

 

Ok, nuff said  (for now)

Cheers  Gs