Making Snapshots Smarter – Why the DiscoveryPoint Makes Sense

What does a DiscoveryPoint™ offer that snapshots don’t?

DataGravity believes snapshots are vital, valuable tools for IT pros everywhere. What we’ve done with our DiscoveryPoint is take what is great about snapshots – the core functionality that allows IT pros to schedule them at regular intervals and use them to restore and protect data – and greatly improved them to provide additional benefits for our customers.

Traditionally, a snapshot has been defined as a point in time view of your data…basically a way for you to keep tracks of things that change in a file between time A and time B. TechTarget’s Margaret Rouse goes further in her definition of storage snapshots, writing they’re “treated by the computer as a complete data backup,” noting snapshots can “streamline access to stored data and can speed up the process of data recovery.” Many IT pros think of snapshots as offering basic data protection within their storage environment.

However, if you’ve ever had to rely on snapshots, you know using them to find and recover files can be time consuming. First, you’ll need to mount a snapshot to search through it. Then, you’ll also have to do some detective work to catalog what has changed between two snapshots in two different points in time. Most likely, your review will really be a tertiary as uncovering what has changed (like who may have accessed a file last or who read a file last) are undetectable with most snapshot applications. And, if you’ve ever experienced a catastrophic crash, your snapshots most likely were also lost because they are traditionally saved on the same disk pool as stored files. DiscoveryPointCatalog

When DataGravity was creating the Discovery Series, we looked at snapshots and asked a number of questions with an eye towards improving something that was already pretty good:

  • Why can’t snapshots be more intelligent?
  • Why can’t they be protected from catastrophic failures?
  • Why can’t they offer more than just a catalog of “point in time” views of files, but also tell you what happened to the file in the intervals between those points in time?

The DiscoveryPoint is really a snapshot with a layer of intelligence on top. This intelligence allows IT pros to not only open a DiscoveryPoint to see a full listing of what has changed between point A and point B in time but also allows IT pros to search and filter by users and file types. Regular snapshots don’t allow IT pros to search, normally they have to mount the snapshot and then they have to find what they’re looking for.

Further, all DiscoveryPoint snapshots are put into a separate fault isolated disk pool, without copy-on-write penalties. DataGravity uses the high availability stream to support this instant access and recovery. That’s why you can rest easy, knowing your DiscoveryPoint will always be there and always be found, even in the event of a failure of the primary disk pool.

Finally, each DiscoveryPoint allows IT pros to find out what files have changed. This could include seeing who has accessed a file or who has changed a file and even when they accessed the file or changed the file in between each DiscoveryPoint. This is something that traditional snapshots don’t offer.

All of this enhanced functionality – things you’ve wanted/craved from traditional snapshots – are included in the Discovery Series, without negatively impacting primary I/O. In addition to helping with data protection and recovery, DiscoveryPoint snapshots also provide automatic indexing and allow you to easily perform content analysis including helping you identify potential PII exposure and file auditing.

Simply put, DiscoveryPoint snapshots can help you meet your organization’s continuity requirements with less headaches and less work.

Want to learn more?  Download our Data Protection Solution Brief to learn how using DiscoveryPoint snapshots through the Discovery Series can help get your storage pointed in the right direction.

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Will Urban

With more than 13 years in Enterprise servers, storage, and virtualization, Will loves to share his enthusiasm about cool new technology with customers and partners. Will has been a speaker at various trade shows and user conferences and is Technical Marketing Manager for DataGravity. He is a husband and proud father and is an avid football fan and gaming enthusiast in his spare time.