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Four data copy management misconceptions that affect your business

Be aware: Copy data management is easily misunderstood. For example, it is not a true backup and could impact performance. Find out how best to get around these issues.

Data copy management describes the process of taking copies of application data for testing or other purposes. IT organizations frequently perform backups and take CDM images, sometimes creating redundant copies of the same data. However, copy management and data protection are not necessarily the same thing. Here are four major misconceptions about data copy management.

Copy management is a backup of my data

Copy data management (CDM) copies tend to be taken using snapshots, which are generally differenced copies of data from production -- a copy that tracks only the changes in either the copy or snapshot. A true backup cannot share the same underlying physical data because a system failure -- like two disks failing in a RAID group -- would cause the primary and snapshot copy to be lost. Snapshots are a degree of protection, but they are not true backups. In addition, CDM copies get updated and modified, so they don't remain a point-in-time copy of the application as a backup should be.

Data copy management will have no impact on my production environment

This is a poor assumption if the image and the primary data reside on the same storage hardware. Inevitably, if multiple hosts access the same data, the load on the storage system will increase. Instead, look at taking snapshots or copies from a secondary system -- like a disaster recovery array -- to replicate to the public cloud or use a secondary storage appliance.

I can take as many CDM copies as I like

Most storage systems limit the number of snapshots or image copies that can be taken while retaining a link to the primary data. Taking too many data copy management images can impact production backup techniques and cause problems on the primary storage when managing all the snapshot images. Some storage systems and hypervisors manage snapshot deletion well; others don't and have to reorder data in snapshot chains that may result in potential performance disruptions.

CDM software will manage my images

Virtual machine sprawl has been seen as a phenomenon because poor standards were put in place to track ownership and lifetime of VM data. The same rules must be applied to data copy management; images and copies need to have ownership and a finite lifetime to stop CDM image sprawl.

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