Category: ECX

If you are having challenges with VMware and database snapshot orchestration for disaster recovery, dev/test, or data protection and recovery, Catalogic ECX is for you! Catalogic ECX for Pure Storage is Copy Data Management (CDM) software that provides application-consistent copy automation to manage snapshots, clones, and replicas via SLA policies. ECX dramatically reduces storage waste and IT time spent on copy management and serving business users by modernizing IT processes and enabling key CDM use cases. And compared to competing snapshot automation and orchestration solutions, Catalogic ECX does it with an in-place approach – your production copy is your golden masterwithout the need for additional hardware.
At a recent webinar, Ryan Kaw, the VP of Global Sales at Catalogic Software, reviewed the following customer success stories where Catalogic ECX solved copy data automation problems for Pure Storage FlashArray customers. 

Success Story – Railcar Pooling Co.

Rail Pooling Co. is a provider of railcars and related freight car management services in North America. The challenges they faced were data protection and recovery for large SQL databases and database provisioning for real time reporting and analytics purposes. Catalogic ECX resolved their problem by providing recovery from snapshots on primary or replicated storage - using a backup solution or an appliance-based vendor was not an option. ECX also simplified and automated the backup, recovery, and database cloning using Pure Snapshots. Railcar Pooling Co. was now able to spin up high performing databases on primary storage to be used for reporting and analytics effortlessly. The company was also capable of automating and managing more database copies with increasing storage utilization on Pure.

Success Story – Auto Finance Co.

Auto Finance Co. provides automobile loans and other related financial products. The challenges they faced were storage orchestration and automated provisioning of database and VM from Pure Storage snapshots on primary and replicated storage. Catalogic ECX copy data management solution simplified storage management workloads from Oracle application and VM centric view. ECX was able to spin up both databases and VMs from snapshots and allow self-service for uses through their ticketing system. This greatly simplified their effort to spin up/down required database copies. Users were now able to submit a ticket and have the databases provisioned by deploying an ECX workflow via REST APIs, without human intervention.

Success Story – Service Company

This international service company specialized in customer experience and business process outsourcing with more than 50,000 employees. The challenges they faced were managing contact centers for major businesses needs to ensure that customer data was protected and easily recoverable. The company understood the horsepower of Pure FlashArrays and wanted a software solution to perform disaster recovery orchestration for VM workloads. Catalogic ECX and Pure Storage resolved their problem by enabling them to automate and simplify the disaster recovery process and enable users to perform actions themselves like backup and restoring VMs from snapshots.
Our customers have found that Catalogic ECX can deliver a dramatic 3-year ROI of up to 300%ECX is a software only solution that:

  • works with your existing storage infrastructure across your entire enterprise and clouds.
  • manages the full lifecycle of copy data (Plan, Create, Manage, Leverage, and EOL), without the need for scripting.
  • provides automation, orchestration, and self-service capabilities for key business processes (DR, DevTest, DevOps, and analytics).

Want to learn more about how Pure Storage customers solved problems and saved money with Catalogic ECX and how to increase wallet share through Catalogic’s promotion for FlashArray //C and FlashBlade? Feel free to

contact us for a demo or to ask a question.

 

Did you miss the Catalogic ECX webinar on Pure Storage customer success stories? Don’t worry, you can view a recording of it here.

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03/03/2021 0 Comments

Here at Catalogic Software we won’t settle for second place; winning is part of our DNA.

However winning is something that isn’t done by simply putting the fastest engine on the grid or fastest storage device in your datacentre. You need to ensure you have the complete package. In Formula One there are 3 core components to a championship winning car:

  1.  The Engine
  2. The Aerodynamics &
  3. Reliability

All 3 of these areas are critical to the success or failure of a team. You could have the fastest engine in the world but with poor aerodynamics or reliability you will never win a race or championship. Something the Arrows A22 driven via Jos Verstappen pictured below definitely never managed! The third aero wing was quickly banned by the FIA after Arrows’ attempt to use it in practice around Monaco.

If you look deeper into the history of F1 you will find a whole host of banned aerodynamic developments as the designers always try to bend the boundaries and rules to deliver a competitive advantage and ultimately reduce lap times.

In the current day and age aerodynamics are arguably the most important factor in Formula One car performance. It has become the key to performance gain due to the often very marginal gains that can currently be made by engine changes or other mechanic component development.

Switching lanes back into the datacentre in here you again have 3 core components for a winning storage setup:

  1. The Storage, a.k.a. the Engine
  2. The Management, Orchestration and Automation, a.k.a. the Aerodynamics &
  3. Reliability

Here the management, orchestration and automation (the aerodynamics) are in my opinion the most important factor in having a winning storage setup.

This is because most storage vendors can deliver the speeds, feeds and data functions needed to run data as quickly as possible. However, lightning fast storage doesn’t mean optimal performance and utilisation. The management, orchestration and automation tools are what enable IT teams to deliver optimal data performance and utilisation.

This is the exact reason all Pure Storage customers need Catalogic ECX to enable a winning storage setup. Pure storage is a leader in the Gartner magic quadrant, and therefore undoubtedly have the engine capabilities. With Catalogic ECX you can enable optimal utilisation of Pure Storage environments. We deliver an efficient architecture to enable effective management, orchestration and automation within the Storage environment. Some of the key game changing benefits we deliver are:

  • A centralised catalog of all IT storage objects such as arrays, volumes, snapshots, virtual machines, datastores, databases, and file systems. Meaning these can be reported on as needed and the inventories are dynamically updated, so you always have a clear picture of your storage environment.
  • Self-service role-based access control. Meaning business departments can report upon, create and consume copies of their data as needed. This results in fresher and faster secondary copies being available for DevOps, testing, development, reporting, analytics and disaster recovery.
  • Abstraction of the underlying infrastructure enabling copies to be scheduled for both secondary copy creation, offload to alternate arrays for longer term retention if wanted and recovery.
  • A proven enterprise solution that can deliver instant access to portable secondary copies of large databases, virtual machines and file systems.
  • A dramatic reduction in storage waste and IT spent on copy data management and servicing business users.

All these benefits are delivered with zero storage footprint as Catalogic ECX is deployable as a software only solution running as a virtual appliance that utilizes Pure’s REST APIs. All these game changing benefits leverage the existing awesome Pure Storage functionality with no need for a golden copy on an alternate storage array like our competitors.  

With Catalogic ECX suddenly you go from having a fast engine (or storage environment) with lots of potential to having the complete championship winning package in partnership with Pure Storage.

Utilising these benefits can dramatically cut time to create data copies, speed up and increase development quality and reduce time to market – getting you round the corners quicker to beat the competition.

Lewis Hamilton in the championship winning Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance #Winning
Since 2015 Pure Storage have had a very close relationship with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. The customer story on the improvements Pure Storage has made for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport including significant performance gains to reduce key database queries by 95%, reducing rack space required by 68% and reducing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applications runtimes by up to 15% is well worth a read here

I know I mentioned this in my last blog but worth re-iterating, we currently have a special array offload offer for Pure FlashArray //C, Cloud Block Store and FlashBlade when you license EXC for the source array you get the target license for FREE.

Meaning a free UNLIMITED CAPACITY ECX license for FlashArray //C, FlashBlade and Cloud Block Store with any ECX License purchase for Pure Storage FlashArray.

As always thanks for reading and if you want to learn more about Catalogic ECX, the current offload promo or simply just have a chat about Formula One please do get in touch with me via wbush@catalogicsoftware.com. Roll on Bahrain in March!

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02/24/2021 0 Comments

Here at Catalogic software we love to make architects, administrators, developers and managers lives simpler.
We know storage management can be a pain and more often than not the investment made in the storage isn’t being fully utilised because you can’t consume all of the cool features and functions without one of the team creating some complex scripts to get the most out of it.
That’s the reason we believe all organisations running Pure Storage should have Catalogic ECX for snapshot automation and orchestration.
The core focus for us with ECX is delivering a simple and efficient architecture to enable snapshot automation and orchestration.
We do that for Pure Storage via integrating using the Pure Storage Rest API. This means you get all the goodness of Pure’s snapshot engine and we simply act as the brain cataloging the metadata, orchestrating the snapshots and enabling the instant recoveries back onto the FlashArrays.
We do not store data on a separate dedicted proprietary storage appliance like some vendors do in this space. We disagree with this approach as we are software defined and requiring a separate dedicted proprietary storage appliance increases timescales to move data, increases complexity in terms of architecture and needs a bigger budget for additional external storage arrays and the cost to implement and manage these.
With Catalogic ECX we deliver the following 5 key benefits for Pure Flash arrays:
  1. Software only Copy Data Management capabilities that deliver additional value from your Pure investment that is deployed in minutes
  2. Integration with leading hypervisors and applications such as VMware, Oracle, SAP HANA and SQL to provide data owners with instant data access
  3. Instant data copies for value use cases such as Test/Dev, DR testing, Reporting, DevOps, Analytics and Patching
  4. Increased ROI from Pure storage platform
  5. Orchestration and automation of data between Pure devices – FlashArray, Cloud Block Store and FlashBlade
Whilst primary copy data management on Pure Flash Ahhhhhrays (sorry I will stop it now 😊) is our bread and butter we also have some strong use cases and benefits around offloading to FlashArray//C, Cloud Block Store and FlashBlade.
Let’s take a look at those in a bit more detail here.

Offload to FlashArray//C with ECX

Offload to Cloud Block Store with ECX

Offload to Cloud Block Store with ECX

Pretty neat eh! But wait here’s the best bit ….

 

We currently have a special offer running where for FlashArray//C, Cloud Block Store and FlashBlade when you license the source you get the target for FREE. Meaning a free UNLIMITED CAPACITY ECX license for for FlashArray//C, FlashBlade and Cloud Block Store with any ECX License purchase for Pure Storage FlashArrays. This promotion is currently active until the 30th April 2021.

 

On a different note Pure Storage made some very cool enhancements to Purity for FlashBlade in 2020 one of the game changers for me being the addition of SafeMode snapshots that enables write protection of snapshots until their expiration date.

This assists in ensuring snapshots are protected from ransomware and mitigates risk when using Pure FlashBlade systems. Sadly ransomware is an ever growing challenge for IT departments and all teams should ensure they have a multi-layered approach to defence and the addition of SafeMode snapshots from Pure Storage is a key layer to ensuring your data sat within snapshots are protected from ransomware. The good news is Catalogic ECX will soon support orchestrating SafeMode snapshots and Catalogic to ensure your snapshots are safeguarded. Thanks for reading and if you want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this blogpost how you can use please do get in touch with me via wbush@catalogicsoftware.com Until the next time stay safe and take care everyone.

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02/08/2021 0 Comments

2021 is going to be a key year for many businesses attempting to recover from the tremendous impact COVID-19, political shifts and more had last year. I don’t think many of us will look back on 2020 fondly and hopefully humanity can rise and work together to get us back to normality…. or even better than before.

 

One of the key realisations of 2020 was that businesses that quickly shift to accommodate unexpected changes can continue to operate and even excel despite the unexpected and often challenging circumstances.

 

A lot of organisations had previously feared a negative productivity impact if most, or all of their employees worked from home, and had therefore never tried it. However, for most organisations this shift proved to be a success, with employees not spending unnecessary time, money and energy traveling. This has often resulted in employees having more time to focus in the comfort of their own home and for many a better work/life balance. I still do miss a trip out at the moment though just for the comradery, face-to-face interaction and knowledge sharing.

 

Looking back on 2020, we had a very successful year here at Catalogic. One of the key reasons for this success is that we have the ability to quickly pivot and work in an agile manner, meaning we discuss customers’ requirements and develop solutions to deliver against them – solutions which are often specific and complex.

 

A key talking point many customers came to us with in 2020 was around how we can improve data visibility, management and orchestration.

 

Sound interesting? Let me talk to you about how we can enable you to have visibility in your environment via Catalogic ECX.

 

In every active environment data continues to grow. Data growth often causes a major data headache for IT administrators. The reason for this is growth results in more and more information and often it gets to a point where understanding what data sits where is a nearly impossible task.

Step forward Catalogic ECX.

With Catalogic ECX we can provide data visibility, management control and orchestration of NetApp, IBM Storage, Pure Storage, HPE Nimble, VMware vSphere, Microsoft SQL, Oracle, SAP HANA and InterSystems Caché environments.

Because we inventorise all key data within these types of storage, hypervisors, virtual machines, physical servers and databases we can provide the ability for IT administrators to better navigate their environment. Think of it like a Sat-Nav that tells us where we would like to go (ECX tells us what resources you want to see to show the associated applications, servers and storage)

To put this into context a large NetApp customer with over 300 filers, billions of objects and thousands of snapshots, vaults and mirrors came to us with their data headache.

 

They simply wanted the ability to map their VM storage all the way back to a source storage volume and show the associated Snapshots, SnapMirrors and SnapVaults. They couldn’t find a way to easily do this and had chewed through a lot of paracetamol already! After understanding their requirement we quickly went away and built the customer a custom VM and Storage mapping report in Catalogic ECX.

Below is an example of the VM and Storage Mapping report showing:

  • Virtual machine > Disk(s) (VMDK(s)) > Datastore(s) path containing VMDK(s) > Netapp LUN(s) providing datastore(s) > Netapp Volume(s) providing LUN(s) > Is NetApp SnapMirror in use and replication destination > Is NetApp SnapVault in use and vault destination.
All this data is being updated daily via inventories. The report can be scheduled to run and also called via the ECX API.

Providing this information resulted in a vastly lower management overhead in terms of clear visibility, ability to find data, recover data and better manage the storage, virtual and data protection environments. Like a Sat-Nav for their environment!

If you’re interested in setting your 2021 destination to enhanced data visibility, management and orchestration please get in contact me via wbush@catalogicsoftware.com

Or you can request a demo or trial of any of our solutions here

Thanks for reading and stay safe, I look forward to a beverage with you all in the near future.

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01/26/2021 0 Comments

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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09/25/2020 0 Comments

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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08/28/2020 0 Comments

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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07/14/2020 0 Comments

OneTick is a time series database that is primarily used for providing both historical and real-time services, including complex event processing and historical tick data analysis. OneTick is designed for the capture, storage, retrieval and analysis of data and needs to be able to handle inbound data at an extremely high-frequency (oftentimes with milli-, micro-, or nano-second granularity). Because of this, OneTick is widely used in the Finance world to improve trading performance through superior data management. OneTick users include hedge funds, proprietary trading firms, banks, brokers, technology and information providers, universities and more. Use cases include backtesting and quantitative research, high frequency trading signal generation, venue analysis, risk and portfolio analytics, and other generic time series analysis.

Dealing with this type of high-frequency data presents a problem when it comes to development and testing. If you have a need where multiple developers require a dedicated instance of the OneTick database to develop against, it becomes very difficult to present fresh data for these developers. Because the OneTick application does not support NAS for the data storage, it is not possible to share tick data across multiple environments. The workaround, which would include manually copying and mounting the drive containing the OneTick database to each individual development server, would take a considerable amount of time (depending on the size of that OneTick database), and by the time the database is available for development, the data is stale.

With Catalogic Software’s ECX solution, this process becomes simple. ECX is a virtual appliance that manages your existing storage (Pure Storage, NetApp, or IBM Spectrum Virtualize and Accelerate) and provides the ability to automate and orchestrate application consistent storage snapshots. Most ECX customers use ECX to help with SQL or Oracle use-cases like database refreshes, Test-Dev, DevOps, or even DR, but ECX is also able to perform backup and recovery of InterSystems Caché or SAP HANA databases and VMs in VMware environments.

So how does ECX simplify the OneTick pain point discussed earlier? In addition to the ability to backup and restore individual VMs, ECX can also perform what we call an “instant disk restore.” This means that using the storage snapshots that ECX automates, it can instantly mount a cloned drive from one VM to another. When ECX performs a backup job of a particular VM, it is essentially taking a snapshot of the storage volume that the VM sits on. Then, during an instant disk restore, the end user selects the drive that contains the OneTick database, and ECX clones the volume and then mounts that clone onto the destination server. To make it even better, because ECX is working with cloned storage volumes, the end user can create 2… 5… 10… 25 copies of that drive and it will not require additional local disk space, because they are considered zero-footprint copies. Typically, mounting a 1TB drive onto 5 different servers would require 5TB of local storage. This is not the case when working with ECX. The “Disk Restore” is also extremely fast, because ECX is not mounting an entirely new version of the database, it is instead simply mounting a clone from a snapshot.

One particular ECX user, who is using ECX for this OneTick use-case, is using scheduled restore jobs to automate daily refreshes of the OneTick database onto a half-dozen Test-Dev servers. As part of these scheduled restore jobs, they are also taking advantage of ECX’s “allow to overwrite and force clean-up of pending old session” feature. This eliminates any need for manual cleanup, etc. because this feature tells ECX to automatically clean up the previously mounted version of the drive (dismount the disk, delete the cloned volume from storage), and simply replace it with the most recent version of production data for testing. Now, on a daily basis, their developers arrive at the office with a fresh version of the OneTick database waiting for them.

If you or someone in your organization is experiencing the pain of providing instances of your OneTick database to your development team for testing, and want to know more about how Catalogic Software’s ECX can help, check out our website.

You can request a live demo, or even get a 30-day trial copy to try it yourself. We’ll be happy to help you get things set up.

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09/30/2019 0 Comments

Pure //Accelerate 2019 has concluded for another year, and as always it was a great event. We’d like to thank Pure Storage for being the gracious hosts they always are. And mostly, we’d like to thank those of you that participated in our No More Swag campaign. With your help, instead of giving away tradeshow swag, we donated $1,115 to plant trees. At a dollar a tree, that’s 1,115 trees planted. And with the matching donation from Pure Storage, that will double it. Pretty nice, planting 2,230 trees instead of getting another squeeze ball! And please, there is still time to donate at the link above.

For fun, I did a little back of the napkin style calculations to see what might have been. Since a squeeze ball purchased in bulk goes for about 65 cents, we can come up with the following.

  • By NOT spending the money on squeeze balls, we managed to prevent 1,715 squeeze balls from ending up in landfills (which is where they all end up).
  • We could have formed a line of squeeze balls 393 feet long when laid next to each other. Think about that. From one end of a football field to the other, and then back again to the 30-yard line. Sheesh.

The real “makes you go hmmmm” part of this is that Catalogic is just one vendor and this is from one show. Think how many total squeeze balls – and all the other stuff – gets handed out annually.

Now I have nothing against higher-value giveaways. Attendees at shows expect that prizes are part of the fun, and if as a vendor you want to offer a solid prize that someone will actually use and not just toss away a few days later, I say have at it. But handing out endless piles of tchotchkes, 99% of which are headed for the garbage within a few weeks, is something that we as an industry need to seriously think about.

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09/23/2019 0 Comments

With trade show season in full flight, an IT person’s fancy turns to… swag! You know, all that free giveaway stuff from tech vendors. Stuff with logos on it. Squeeze balls, pens, water bottles, and countless other tchotchkes. Who doesn’t love swag?

Well the Earth doesn’t love it all that much. What is swag but junk waiting to happen? Its half-life can’t be more than a few weeks. So this year for Pure //Accelerate 2019, Catalogic decided that we were going to ditch the swag.

At the same time, we saw that Pure was sponsoring a great charity idea for //Accelerate: Plant a Tree! For each dollar donated, a tree gets planted by the organization One Tree Planted. Pure is matching all donations up to $5,000. For our part, we decided to join in (you should too; please click the link and donate!).

When you visit our booth at //Accelerate (#608), instead of handing you a squeeze ball we’re going to make a $2 donation to Plant a Tree. And by answering a simple four question IT survey online, we’ll add another $3. So by visiting our booth you can actually plant up to five trees!

Image: A representative sample of trade show swag. How much of this do we really need?

A representative sample of trade show swag. How much of this do we really need?

But let’s be honest. The reason tech vendors sponsor shows – at considerable cost of dollars and staff time – is to talk to potential customers. And swag is designed to get potential customers to visit you. We’re hoping we can alter that mindset just a little, and maybe attendees will find it’s better to give than receive. And do you really need another squeeze ball?

In the larger scheme of things, it’s time for organizations to start thinking about swag. I still recall my first trade show, back in the mid-1990s when I was working for the late, great Ascend Communications. I was agog at all the free STUFF you could lay your hands on. I also had a couple of nine-year old twins at home: perfect swag age! On the last day of the show I had some free time, so I made a swag run (if you never saw internet boom era trade show swag, you haven’t seen swag). I ended up with two shopping bags full of stuff. How did I get it all home? I don’t remember.

The kids were sure excited by it all. And then in about two days, it was just a lot of junk laying around, and it all got tossed out pretty quickly. Such is the lifecycle of swag. And I think we can all come up with some better way to have fun with our kids then bringing them squeeze balls and light up yo-yos, but I understand the temptation, believe me.

This is a reasonable approximation of me at my first trade show.

For a while I was also one of those Lanyard Guys. You know, the guy who has twenty-five different show badges hanging by his desk. Every tech company has these guys. But what about lanyards?

At VMworld this year, there were some 20,000 attendees. That’s a lot of lanyards and badges. If you laid them end-to-end, they’d reach from Pittsburgh to São Paulo. Ok, I just made that up. But it’s still a lot of lanyards. Can you recycle them? Would it make sense to have bins out on the last day of the event, so people leaving the show can toss their lanyards into the recycling bin?

I’m not trying to bash trade shows. I think they’re great events. With all the information available on the internet, there’s still nothing as effective as having a direct discussion in front of the computer screen and helping someone figure out their IT challenges. Loads of learning happens at them; people get technical certifications. Shows are a vital part of the tech ecosystem for both vendors and users.

But when it comes to swag and waste, we can do better. In our own little way this year, we’re trying something new. If you’re attending //Accelerate, please drop by and show your support.

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09/06/2019 0 Comments

Let us show you around


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