Databases and Integrated Copy Data Management (iCDM) with DellEMC

In this blog we will talk about how DellEMC can help you to store you databases smartly and efficiently.

But firstly let’s talks about CDM and why it’s important. In the world of DBAs everyone’s always talking about performance, million IOPS and double/triple digit bandwidth with lowest possible latency. But the biggest question is whether performance is the only solution to all problems?

For example in one of the survey members of Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG) were asked what DB activities are taking up most of the time each week?

You can also see that performance troubleshooting is rated as second most time consuming activity, but the question is how to solve it. One of the ways people try to solve this is by upgrading their database stack. In below AWR example snippets you can see that how one of the customer has solved their performance issue by moving to DellEMC solution. Earlier they were having 92% User I/O wait time, which also means 92% of the time DB is waiting for database subsystem to respond.

But as I have mentioned earlier upgrading the stack will always give the benefits but it does not solve all the problems. Which also means most customer apply their older process and best practices to new stack which often is the culprit of the new problems. (another blog on this later)

But the real problem is what do you do with those databases and data? Most businesses today are trying to keep more data online. This allows them to understand the patterns and anomalies using AI/ML, which helps them taking right decisions or course correction. All this is driven using copy data, which means you need actual source production database instances to analyze, test, develop etc. Below picture is the great depiction of multiple use cases which needs source database.

Now think of all those use cases and start thinking of the approach DBAs will take to manage the show. Usually there’s no standard way of managing this. Processes to achieve the end goal depends on the experience of the DBA and also availability of the resources.

IDC has done some work on this problem area to understand the gravity of the situation and uncover some facts. IDC polled over 700 customers for this survey. Some of the interesting facts are –

Tools used for producing secondary data copies

As per the IDC survey most popular way is to rely on backup software but interestingly 53% of the respondents said that they use custom-written scripts to manage the CDM show.

How long does it take to refresh copies?

To which 62% of organizations, copies take ½ day or more to create (up to days). And this is very real as I have personally worked with one of my customer who used to take 2 ½ days to create single secondary copy starting weekend, on which 60 member developer team used to work.

At which frequency are copies of dev/test or analytics refreshed?

Copies are refreshed every few days by 32% of organizations, and weekly by 42%.

One of the most striking detail in this IDC document is – How many Database instances do you currently have in production in your data center environment? 77% customers said that they have more that 200 database instances and 82% said that they have more than 10 copies per database.

In simplified words this problem looks like the iceberg. People only count their production/primary database instances but secondary/re-purpose copies are usually taken for granted. If you do the quick math on IDC numbers you’ll quickly realize that this is one of the biggest operational issue in database environments.

For Example –

1 Production DB x 250GB DB size x 346 DB Instances = 87TB of Production data

14 Copies of each Production DB x 250GB DB size x 346 DB Instances = 1.2PB of Copy Sprawl

Now that we understand what copy data management issue is. Now let’s understand how DellEMC can help in simplifying the CDM problem

Integrated Copy Data Management (iCDM)

As per my personal experience below snippet is the best way to understand how iCDM functions. Providing self service to application/database teams with application integration. iCDM leverages advanced copy/snapshot function of the DellEMC storage system, which also means you need DellEMC storage in order to use iCDM 🙂

To simplify things even further – in most environments you follow 3 steps process for database copy creation.

  1. Identify source database
  2. Prepare database
  3. Prepare instance

Details for these 3 steps are as below but on high level it lacks automation, it’s (very) time consuming and most importantly it lacks automation.

But with iCDM you can change this legacy process and adapt to something which is more modern and fits with today’s cloud native world. You can simply

  1. Install and Configure DellEMC Appsync (one time)
  2. Create and Customize workflows as per your environment
  3. Consume (repeat and scale)


DellEMC iCDM can be sumarised as

  1. Simple – Automated Copy Data Management without the need of customized scripts
  2. Intelligent – Tight integration with entire application stack – applications –> hosts –> virtualization –> DellEMC Storage with Replication
  3. Friction-less – Database and IT team are on the same page with transparent copy workflow.

Below are the few links to the DellEMC iCDM collateral.

Dell EMC’s integrated copy data management (iCDM) webinar

DellEMC Appsync Datasheet

DellEMC Appsync Software Download Link

This blog is part of multi-blog series. Next couple of blogs I will try to explain usage of iCDM for multiple database CDM use cases.

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