IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management – Copies in the Cloud

December 7th, 2017
Chris Dedham
Senior Storage Solutions Architect


The importance of leveraging Cloud Storage for IT infrastructure has grown significantly, over the years, as organizations have tried to reduce costs, without sacrificing scalability, and as the tide of data growth has been rising, unabated. Recently, my colleague, Ian Wright wrote a blog about how IBM Storage can copy data into the Cloud using IBM’s own Transparent Cloud Tiering (TCT). In 2016, IBM added another capability for copying data into the Cloud with the release of their Spectrum Copy Data Management product (CDM).

CDM, which is a classification in data management, has become an important discipline in IT organizations, as of late. Simply put, while the amount of production data has seen explosive growth, with 90% of all the world’s data created in the last 2 years, it is the generation of secondary data copies for backup, testing, development, disaster recovery and reporting that has generated extreme pressure on storage systems within enterprises. It is not unusual for the number of secondary copies of data to be 10 times greater the than the primary source copy. A logical safety valve for storing secondary data copies is in the public Cloud. Particularly, if the data must be maintained with long-term retention policies. Or conversely, if short-term copies are required for Cloud compute resources to conduct testing, development or data analytics work. In either case, not only does the data need to be copied into to the Cloud, the copies must be managed, which is the essence of CDM.

CDM technologies were developed to solve the problem of secondary data sprawl, which in part, has stemmed from the absence of storage life-cycle policy management tools. Typically, an organization is only aware of the fact that data is consuming its storage space; furthermore, they are not aware as to whom the data belongs. CDM solves this mystery because it has a catalog. With a catalog, you can keep track of a storage copies, and who owns them, but you can also apply polices to life cycle the copies over time. This catalog management capability applies to both on premise and public Cloud-based storage. The policy management of public Cloud storage is important, as a monthly bill is attached to storage that is consumed in an AWS S3 bucket, for instance.

Another example of storage policy management would be the provisioning of storage in the Cloud to handle data analytics jobs. Once reports are generated, the copies of the data used for the reports can be discarded. If there is no mechanism in place to life cycle the expired data sets, then the meter will continue to run against the consumed storage, increasing Cloud storage costs, unnecessarily. Customers are discovering that a prudent path to the Cloud is a hybrid Cloud approach, where data is maintained on premise, and simultaneously maintained in the Cloud. IBM’s Spectrum Copy Data Management enables IT organizations to manage the creation, and deletion of storage, regardless of where it lives.

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