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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone Using Avamar?

    I know that this is primarily a TSM site (I have been a TSM administrator for years now,) but I am interested in finding out if there are people visiting ADSM.ORG that are starting to use EMC's Avamar product.

    My company has just purchased Avamar, with a long term goal of eliminating TSM. The primary reasons for this change, are the cost and complexity of TSM licensing, and deduplication/replication to a hot site.

    I have not found a lot of Avamar user "chatter" on the Internet, and about the only support I have been able to find, has been on EMC's PowerLink site. To say the least, the official Avamar documentation is lacking.

    "Resistance is futile" at my company, so I either have to accept that TSM will be going away, and be assimilated by Avamar, or I will have to leave. This is clearly NOT a good time to quitting a decent job...

    Thoughts?

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    Moderator moon-buddy's Avatar
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    Looks like you have to embrace it or leave - same as what happened to me when Commvault took over -- I left.

    Edit: By the way - I hope the decision to move away from TSM wouldn't haunt them. I have heard stories of companies that transition to the other (dark) side and eventually came back to TSM.
    Last edited by moon-buddy; 12-07-2009 at 07:44 AM.
    Ed

  3. #3
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    I have heard only good things about Avamar but unless they're going to be using Avamar as a Networker client, you still need a backup product. Avamar is a deduplication product, not a backup product.

    -Aaron
    Three things are certain:
    Death, taxes, and lost data.
    Guess which has occurred.

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    Senior Member Raakin's Avatar
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    My company looked deeply into Avamar. It seemed to be a good product with the best dedup out there (sub-block level) and built-in HSM for Archive.

    As Aaron mentioned, Avamar does not replace TSM. Avamar's sweet spot is Archive, not backup. Perhaps your business requirements are such that Avamar is sufficient that it could be used for your backups though.

    The more my company looked into it it came up that it is optimal for a hybrid system, purchase Legato... I mean Networker and Avamar in order to cover backups and archive.

    And no we did not get it.

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    Senior Member GregE's Avatar
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    Dennis, what is the main reason your company has decided to move away from TSM? Always interesting to hear about these reasons.

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    Senior Member Raakin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis_in_texas View Post
    The primary reasons for this change, are the cost and complexity of TSM licensing, and deduplication/replication to a hot site.
    Seems that is the main reasons for the switch... not surprising licensing is one of the main reasons.

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    Senior Member GregE's Avatar
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    GEEZ, maybe I should have actually READ his post fully.

    Nope, cost/licensing, not surprising at all. Thanks IBM.

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    Thanks for the responses everybody!! And sorry for the late reply from me...

    EMC/Avamar have made it QUITE clear (to them anyway,) that Avamar is NOT intended to be an archive solution, and that it IS a backup solution. They know full well that we intend to replace TSM, other than possibly for Archiving, and it is their contention that Avamar is the product for us.

    We are not an SMB, having numerous TSM systems, and strangely enough, Arcserve systems, managing at least a couple of PetaBytes of data. The Avamar grids will be responsible for a PetaByte, or more, when all is said and done.

    I concur with Aaron...we have heard only good things about Avamar, including searches of the Internet. Unfortunately, there really isn't much of anything out there, good or bad. However, the devices seem to fill up a LOT faster than EMC "predicted". We are about 60% full, with less than 25% of the clients we had planned to move. This is NOT good...

    Thanks again for the responses!!

    d_i_t

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    Your EMC reps are not acting very ethically. Avamar by all accounts is not an enterprise backup product. It's best suited for small remote offices replicating to large data center. Its competitor would be FastBack, not TSM.

    I would strongly urge your EMC reps to provide some customer references where they've implemented Avamar to protect 1 PB of data.

    Also, test, test and test again. Especially do DR testing. Nothing will make a manager pause and rethink things when he's dealt the reality that he can't bring back his data center.

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    booman55...unfortunately, this is a done deal. And testing? Whassat?

    To be fair to EMC, Avamar was originally intended for remote sites, just like you have stated. But, they have beefed it up quite a bit, and it is indeed an enterprise level product now. At least, that is what it says in the brochure...

    Thanks,

    d_i_t

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    Avamar is an enterprise application, just not a backup application. It compares with the subfile backup that TSM does but it lacks some basic processes that a backup product like TSM or Networker have. Avamar does have a good dedupelication engine and that can somewhat emulate a backup by storing blocks of deltas on a file but it doesn't have the ability to write to any media besides disk nor the ability to really offsite the grid (it can be mirrored, but what happens when you mirror an error and the second copy is now toast too?)

    Avamar really shines when paired with a backup tool like TSM or Networker (Avamar and Networker play VERY well together, being both EMC products) I would strongly recommend that your management look into placing a small Networker instance in and using the Avamar grid as a Networker client.

    -Aaron
    Three things are certain:
    Death, taxes, and lost data.
    Guess which has occurred.

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    We use Avamar product here at the State of Mn..It is a good product but it does have some issues with supporting new levels of operating systems, SQL database levels. What I am trying to say is TSM is usually faster at delivering a backup client that supports newer versions of SQL, Windows, that arrive on the market. The only other issue I have with it is that one datastore as EMC will call it can only handle so much data, and then you have to buy another, but I guess you can compare that too buying more tape and adding an expansion unit onto your library. TSM can definitely hold more data before having to expand it to a new grid. But the dedup on Avamar is better than TSM because I have read TSM does not recommend dedup if you are pumping more than 3 TBs of data a night, not sure if that is true or not because our TSM environment does not use dedup.

    I think TSM is the better product but I think since EMC has taken over Avamar it has made some strides. We have had avamar for 5 years One avamar grid only holds about 14 TB of dedup data, but I know EMC datastore might have increased that number. I think dedup is overrated for database backup but who knows its based on the data you are backing up. No matter what I have never seen this Avamar product be able to backup to tape. We do have a primary and a remote site but it is all disk based.

    TSM has better documentation, and better scalibility.

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    Again, thanks to everyone.

    We have implemented Avamar with two primary grids, and two "replication" grids, and we replicate all of our data to the 2nd grid, at a remote location. This eliminates the need for offsite tapes, and gives us a DR hotsite (of sorts.)

    Also, Avamar does versions, similar to TSM, so if we back up a good file, then a subsequent bad one, we can still go back to the good one, as a previous version. We just wouldn't be restoring the bad "part" (subfile) of the file. Maybe I am missing something here, in my innocence...or ignorance.

    EMC/Avamar do NOT recommend using Avamar for large files, like databases, Exchange storage groups, or any large files that have a high percentage of change, on a daily basis. For now, these are staying on TSM. This is temporary, however, as "we" are looking for a snapshot tool, to move this data to a hotsite, as well. Minus TSM, that is.

    TSM isn't dead at our place yet, but it is bleeding heavily...

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    it seems like a good plan...i guess here we use avamar to backup oracle and sql databases, I don't think we back up any db2. we already have two grids and we are not backing up no petabyte of storage, but we only have like 12 TB grids not the largest size you can now get. Interesting I wish we were in your situation where we backed everything up to disk and it was replicated. We do have things replicated in TSM we just use offsite tape libraries to keep the copypool copy. I think TSM with VTLs in place at a primary and remote site would have taken care of the need for dedup and replication, therefore you would only require one TSM server to manage the grid. ON avamar now you have two different gui's to manage the grid. Avamar says they have an enterprise console that can wrap up all admin functions into one gui but you can not globally create retetention policies using datasets, or create schedules globally.

    If you were backign up a P then I don't think it matters i am sure you had mutiple TSM servers also and they don't have a global interface as well in a real sort of way.

    But I do think you will end up with a lot of grids in the future, unless you find many ways to back up the larger applications like exchange, db2, and large sql instances. Good Luck.

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    When I think of an enterprise solution I am thinking of a product that can support every platform in your environment and can scale to your entire environment.
    I don't see Avamar being a product capable of that. That being said, it doesn't mean it can't play a role in your environment.

    In terms of dedup, there is significant more value in large shops doing global dedup (i.e Sepaton, Quantum, Data Domain, etc..)
    For example, TSM (and others) does dedup at a lower level (stgpool), which gives you additional target pools. A shop with multiple instances will be storing the same blocks in many different places.

    What I'm saying is software based dedup is good for SMB. I wouldn't turn on TSM dedup in a large data center.

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    Senior Member Jeff_Jeske's Avatar
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    If avamar isn't very good at large files.... like Exchange, SQL, Oracle, and Notes ... then its not good for the majority of our environment. Around here real servers have BIG files and everything else (app/web/file) is a VM.

    Is it virtual machine friendly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_Jeske View Post
    If avamar isn't very good at large files.... like Exchange, SQL, Oracle, and Notes ... then its not good for the majority of our environment. Around here real servers have BIG files and everything else (app/web/file) is a VM.

    Is it virtual machine friendly?
    How large is large? We've had a customer with multiple distributed Exchange and SQL environments scattered throughout the US, typically 20 GB - 40 GB, and it worked fine there. That was over an internet connection that wasn't extremely fast...we've done much larger Exchange systems inside a datacenter.

    Avamar is not good at mailbox/brick level, it works fine for a few mailboxes, but gets exponentially worse as you add more. For entire storage group level, it is pretty good.

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    Senior Member Jeff_Jeske's Avatar
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    Good point. I don't think anything is really good at exchange brick level backups.

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    We have Avamar and it is great for two things. We use TSM for everything else.

    Remote Sites and NDMP. It does this better than anyone on the Market. I am able to backup 20TB of NAS for 30 days on 9 TB. Remote site backups go faster then anyone else on the market even Puredisk.

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    Senior Member Jeff_Jeske's Avatar
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    How many remote offices are you backing up... about how much data? I wonder how much a remote office only solution would cost for 4.5TB worth of remote office data.

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    We backup LA, UK, Australia, India, Dubai, Minnesota, Ireland, and Boston and it is about 5 TB-7 TB. We have 3 appliances in remote sites that are larger and 1 big one at our main site.

    In our test with 1 remote site this is the timing..rough estimate

    TSM it took 2 weeks to backup the data the first time and 1 day for every incremental
    PureDisk took 1 week for 1st backup and about 8 hours every incremental
    Avamar took 96 hours for 1st backup and 15-30 minutes every incremental

    The cost is varied by if you want fast local restores. With our test whatever it took you to backup with client-only based only mutiply that by 2 and that is your restore time. So 96 hours would take about 200 hours for total restore. But it depends on if you need a local appliance or not.

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    Senior Member Jeff_Jeske's Avatar
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    That is excellent information ... thanks. BTW what size links do you have for off shore backups?

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    I knew you were going to ask this...you made be get my document...hehe...

    Australia 2 Mbps
    UK 44 Mbps
    France 6 Mbps

    The test site was 5 Mbps if I am not mistaken and it was in LA.

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    I am curious what sort of deduplication you achieve with Avamar. I had the sales pitch meeting yesterday, and some what of a deep dive into the technology and I think it is interesting. I am in the midst of a redesign of our environment and am considering a best of breed approach. For our large databases I would stick with TSM for now,but for the 1000's of file servers running linux, windows, and other *nix platforms Avamar sounds like it may be a nice fit.

    The 18 node grid seems rather small to me, with just over 50 TB of usable capacity. I would need to achieve some very impressive deduplication, or get this at a great price point to make it work in our environment.

    Like many others, the licensing model for TSM is driving us to look at alternative solutions.

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