What is EMC Avamar ?

EMC Avamar is a backup and recovery solution that features backup software, disk targets and global client-side deduplication.  With the amount of data that is growing exponentially on today's primary storage systems, it is becoming increasing challenging to backup and recover when it is needed in a timely fashion.  In addition to the increase in data, another challenge is that the data is no longer centralized in a single location as it used to be.  Data is located at multiple sites and it needs to be backed up and managed in an efficient manner.  Avamar helps to solve these challenges by providing client-side global deduplication, storing backups on disk, centralizing backup administration and replicating backup data between sites.

 Traditional backup systems that do not use deduplication store multiple copies of the same data on backup media.  Some backup systems do feature deduplication but is it implemented either at a file level or at a fixed block level.  Avamar goes one step further by leveraging variable block deduplication that separates data into organized chunks in such a way that no manner where the data is modified in the file it recognizes only the new bits of data and backs up only the new data.  For the duplicate data, only reference pointers are created saving not only backup storage, but also reducing network traffic.  Some enterprise environments that used to have a dedicated network specifically for backup traffic have found that it is no longer needed, thus eliminating the need to manage a separate network just for backups.

  The Avamar software runs on a core Linux distribution that is not dependent on traditional server operating systems that needs to be patched regularly.  It can be implemented as a virtual appliance or on physical hardware.  The virtual appliance allows for deployments in smaller remote environments, whereas the physical appliances can serve more demanding needs of traditional data center environments. 

Another advantage of using Avamar for backups is that all the client plugins are included in the capacity license.  Multiple hyper-visors, operating systems, databases and NAS storage systems are supported.  This eliminates the traditional complex licensing model for backup software that has required separate licenses for different types of backup targets and data sets.  Avamar also features DR functionality in the form of data replication from one Avamar system to another.  Replication can be configured for unidirectional or bidirectional copy for some or all backup data between systems.  The backups and restores are much faster than traditional backup software that does not use efficient deduplication.

 Avamar systems are managed using the Avamar Administrator interface.  Multiple systems can be managed and monitored using the Enterprise Manager.  The systems can be integrated with other EMC data protection products like Networker and Data Domain for specific use case scenarios depending on the needs of the business.  There are also solutions to copy backups to tape devices from Avamar for various business needs.  Avamar also features multiple levels of encryption for data at rest and in flight.

In a future segment I will be discussing the software and hardware components in more detail...