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What are the downsides of copy data storage management?

Copy data management can help an organization lower its costs by cutting back on extraneous copies of data, but the technology can cause performance bottlenecks.

Copy data storage management is an appealing technology because of its ability to reduce costs through the elimination of duplicate data. But despite the many benefits, there are drawbacks to its use.

Copy data storage management works by consolidating multiple data copies into a single master copy that can be virtualized and used on an as-needed basis. As such, there may be multiple departments working from a single data copy.

For example, instead of the development and test environment having a dedicated copy of a database they can use for testing purposes, team members may use a virtualized copy of the production database. This approach eliminates the need for multiple copies of the database, but it also means the master database copy will be subjected to higher I/O demand because more people are using it.

The key to avoiding copy data management-related performance bottlenecks is to use storage hardware that can cope with the increased demand. This generally means load balancing storage traffic, using high-bandwidth storage connectivity and striping data across large numbers of disks. It may also be beneficial to use an all-flash array or a multi-tiered storage architecture.

It is important to consider how copy data storage handles data. Some copy data management products allow administrators to distribute data across multiple volumes. Because of that, an administrator might create dedicated volumes for databases that require lots of IOPS.

Taneja Group analyst Mike Matchett demonstrates how quickly extraneous copies of data can be made.

Conversely, there are some copy data management products that combine all the master data into a single repository, but such offerings are generally only suitable for use in small organizations.

Another potential drawback to copy data storage management is that, because the technology eliminates data redundancy, its use can lead to significant data loss in the event of data corruption. The best way to avoid this situation is to use storage replication to create a secondary data copy, preferably in the cloud or in a remote data center.

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