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AppSync and XtremIO – OR – Why Chocolate is Better with Peanut Butter

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I have known for quite some time that some things just go together, like peanut butter and chocolate or tacos and hot sauce… or anything with hot sauce for that matter. It seems that AppSync and XtremIO share the same relationship – good on their own, better together.

Early in my career I worked as a database manager and developer. One of the issues I constantly struggled with was copying the database. There were lots of legitimate needs for this, but every copy felt like navigating the circles of Dante’s Inferno. There were so many steps, from storage to network to actually copying the database, a dozen steps in between, and by the time the steps were completed the data was old. This was an issue, since the database in question held Emergency 911 records. The data needed to be fresh.

That scenario kept running through my mind while I tested out the EMC AppSync integration with XtremIO. I felt like I was eating a chocolate and peanut butter for the first time. I remember watching my Dad make chocolate and peanut butter cookies and wondered, ‘what is he doing, he never cooks!’ One bite and I knew why someone who NEVER cooked was spending time in the kitchen pairing up the dynamic duo of the western hemisphere. Why hadn’t I tried this sooner? I was 7! Life could have been so much better! Later in life Dad was a diabetic who joked that the fake chocolate my mother bought for him tasted just like chocolate – if you had never tasted chocolate before. I’m pretty sure his passive aggressive bitterness was due to his memory of how good those peanut butter and chocolate cookies tasted. Where am I going with this? AppSync and XtremIO gave me the same feeling. It was in a word: fantastic. In two words: easy goodness. That is actually not fair to this pairing. I should be raving more. It was beyond easy and better than good.

I attached a demo of an AppSync enabled workflow to copy a production database and mount it to a development server. The platform was virtualized Microsoft SQL. It was super easy. After I built a quick service plan to let me copy the database at the push of a button I only had to click on the copy and select the option to mount it. The wizard style interface walked me through re-purposing it for another server, and the AppSync integration with XtremIO handled the rest.

What happened behind the scenes? The database was quiesced while managing over 350,000 transactions per minute. The storage array made a free virtual copy of the volume which didn’t’ tie up any additional space on the array (metadata magic). The resulting volume was mapped to my host, the host was contacted, SQL added the database, and the original volume was placed back into ‘hot’ mode. The above is an oversimplification. If you watch the ‘Details’ view of the workflow there are over a dozen steps that are automated. I recorded a video. It is under 5 minutes even with my titles and transitions. Skippy.

If you are an EMC customer (or if not) try the AppSync product which is often bundled with the flash array of your choice. If you don’t try it, you’re doing yourself a disfavor. It feels like the black arts of database management because it is so simple, but it also works for VMware, physical servers, other Microsoft applications, etc. Essentially things that needs a quiet file system to copy and manage logical corruption protection or virtual copies.

The demo is attached as part of the complete EMC Integrated Copy Data Management Story.

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