Delphix: Virtualize applications and databases to save billions of dollars and hundreds of work hours

Applications are core to the enterprise; they drive nearly every aspect of the business. The typical F1000 CIO completed 46 application projects in 2013, and on average, 28 of these 46 projects were over budget and behind schedule. That CIO also spends an average of 40% of her annual budget on applications.

To address this, CIOs look at private and public clouds, SAAS, and outsourcing as ways to avoid the pain and risk of application projects. In practice, these only succeed at the fringes of the business. Core applications, the most valuable ones, remain within the data center, consuming time, budget, and effort.

Application projects often fall behind for the same reason: they are driven by databases and these databases act as an anchor. They are heavy, difficult to copy, hard to refresh, risky to rollback, and this cost and time delay application development, impact application testing, and result in apps that are overdue, buggy, and expensive. Fixing the data problem is many times less costly than fixing the effects of delayed, broken, and poorly designed applications.

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IT has reaped the benefits of virtualization at the server and desktop level. The databases that live on these servers, however, still run on physical infrastructure. Copying a 10 TB database from production into development still requires moving 10 TB over the network (takes hours to days), still uses up an additional 10 TB of storage, and still requires approvals and budget – multiplied for each and every copy. Developers have learned not to ask for the number of copies they really need. Testers have learned not to ask for full, fresh copies of business data. Analysts have learned to make due with outdated reports.

Delphix changes the game for enterprise application projects. Delphix-powered agile databases are created in minutes, in 1/100th the storage space of a physical database. They can be refreshed or rolled back, in minutes. With Delphix, developers can each have their own multi-terabyte copies to use when writing their code. They no longer need to wait for DBAs to make new copies, they don’t have to step on each other when trying new code, and they can easily roll back after making code changes. Testers can test using full data sets, can reset databases in minutes after test runs, and can quickly try different versions of a database with different versions of code, to catch more bugs and prevent production outages.

CIOs who deploy Delphix in their application infrastructure deliver projects 20% to 50% sooner, with 90% less storage cost. Their teams get more done, sooner, and with lower risk, leading to higher competitiveness and revenue.

How It Works

Delphix connects non-disruptively to databases (the ubiquitous repository for enterprise data) and loads a compressed copy of the data into the Delphix Engine, shrinking the data by 3x on average. Inside the Delphix Engine, the Delphix file system (DxFS) compresses data blocks within database files and filters out empty or temporary blocks, minimizing the data footprint.

After the initial data seeding, Delphix maintains synchronization by collecting changes and tracking all versions for as long as required (e.g. weeks or months). From any point in time, Delphix can open one or more virtual databases (VDBs) that can be used for development and other lifecycle environments.

For an average application, businesses maintain more than seven lifecycle environments for development, testing, QA, integration, training, pilots, operational reporting, production support, user acceptance, system validation, and sandboxes—not to mention redundant systems for backup, DR, and archiving logs. Instead of making and moving data copies over and over again, DxFS provides a virtualized view of databases by sharing the underlying data blocks across all environments and storing changes as new, unique blocks.

VDBs look and perform like normal, physical copies (meaning users can add/drop tables, make schema changes, run reports against the data), but include powerful features designed to accelerate application projects like virtual branching and fast data rollback or refresh.

Virtualizing databases fundamentally changes application testing and quality. In order to minimize cost and complexity, many organizations test their applications using stale data that may be days or months old, or use data subsets (non representative datasets) that can fail to test against a range of potential errors. With fast, automatic refresh and virtual databases that provide full, representative datasets, Delphix can dramatically improve the fidelity of QA and test environments.

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