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Anyone Using Avamar?

Discussion in 'EMC Avamar' started by dennis_in_texas, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. dennis_in_texas

    dennis_in_texas New Member

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    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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  3. moon-buddy

    moon-buddy Moderator

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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: Dec 7, 2009
  4. heada

    heada Moderator

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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
     
  5. Raakin

    Raakin Senior Member

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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:confused:.

    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.
     
  6. GregE

    GregE Senior Member

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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.
     
  7. Raakin

    Raakin Senior Member

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    Seems that is the main reasons for the switch... not surprising licensing is one of the main reasons.
     
  8. GregE

    GregE Senior Member

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    GEEZ, maybe I should have actually READ his post fully.

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

    dennis_in_texas New Member

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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
     
  10. booman55

    booman55 Member

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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.
     
  11. dennis_in_texas

    dennis_in_texas New Member

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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
     
  12. heada

    heada Moderator

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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
     
  13. oetjmackey

    oetjmackey New Member

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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.
     
  14. dennis_in_texas

    dennis_in_texas New Member

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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...
     
  15. oetjmackey

    oetjmackey New Member

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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.
     
  16. booman55

    booman55 Member

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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.
     
  17. Jeff_Jeske

    Jeff_Jeske Senior Member

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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?
     
  18. mjaquillard

    mjaquillard New Member

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    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.
     
  19. Jeff_Jeske

    Jeff_Jeske Senior Member

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    Good point. I don't think anything is really good at exchange brick level backups.
     
  20. eperez507

    eperez507 New Member

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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.
     
  21. Jeff_Jeske

    Jeff_Jeske Senior Member

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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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