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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Catalogic Software Explains ECX Software and How It Works with IBM SoftLayer Cloud, BlueMix and More

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Catalogic Software, the market’s only provider of in-place copy data management, today announced the availability of a new set of validated solutions, which combine Catalogic’s flagship product, ECX Software, with one of several storage offerings within the IBM portfolio.  This combined solution is said to make a company's existing infrastructure environments more efficient, agile and responsive to the demands of their customers.  And who doesn't want that?

So to dig into the announcement some more, I spoke with Ed Walsh, Catalogic Software's CEO, to get a better understanding on the company's ECX Software as well as the partnership with IBM and how this solution operates with something like IBM's SoftLayer Cloud.

VMblog:  Thanks for speaking with me Ed.  To start out, can you give readers a quick overview of what Catalogic ECX Software does, and what you guys mean by "in-place copy data management"?

Ed Walsh:  What ECX delivers is a robust, in-place copy data management platform, giving IT a single enterprise-wide system that replaces the complicated set of products, tools and scripts that are collectively used today to define copy data policies, and manage the enterprise's ever-growing set of copy data.

What we mean by "in place" copy data management is that ECX installs into your existing  infrastructure, and leverages the existing technologies that you already have in your environment, whether they are in the hypervisor, the storage in your data center, or even already in the cloud. The reason ECX can do what it does is because it is simply talking to the public APIs of the underlying infrastructure, which allows it to build an actionable metadata catalog. From there we can drive all kinds of use cases, from better data protection and disaster recovery, to user self-service, enhance test and development, even DevOps integration.

VMblog:  And as I understand it, Catalogic can provide these services across a range of IBM products?

Walsh:  Yes, ECX works with IBM Spectrum Virtualize storage software, which is the software behind a range of IBM storage products. This includes the Storwize line of storage arrays, the SAN Volume Controller (SVC) storage virtualization platform, the all-flash FlashSystem V9000, and the VersaStack converged infrastructure platform. By talking directly to the storage APIs, ECX can manage and drive operations like snapshots, replication, data and system recoveries, and it handles things like data retention cycles and data cleanup.

We also work with the IBM SoftLayer cloud and BlueMix development platform.

VMblog:  Ok, with my focus on the virtualization and cloud worlds, I'm interested in knowing more about how Catalogic works with IBM SoftLayer.  And I believe you just had an announcement around this.  Can you provide some details on that?  

Walsh:  Certainly. We did just announce a set of new solutions in conjunction with IBM, and part of that is our ability to work with SoftLayer. One of the sticking points for organizations moving to the cloud is they can't easily make use of the data that's resident in the data center. Born-in-the-cloud works, but so much critical data resides on systems of record, databases and other large data repositories that are still very much sitting on physical storage infrastructure in corporate locations.

What ECX does there is bridge the gap between the data center and the cloud. For starters, ECX lets you easily and repeatedly replicate data so you can get that data into a location where it becomes actionable by cloud compute resources. But even better, we actually let you spin up those resources with a few simple clicks, based on policies and templates.

So to connect the dots again, ECX can move your vital corporate data into the cloud where you can leverage the limitless compute power of SoftLayer. This opens up your data to all kinds of value adding use cases. For starters, you can use it for automated disaster recovery, even spinning up test recoveries every day, automatically.  Beyond that, it opens the door to any operation that relies on compute and data: reporting, analytics, test and development, even rapid DevOps.

VMblog:  Speaking of DevOps, you also mentioned BlueMix.  Can you tell us more about that?

Walsh:  Part of the magic of ECX is that it is fully REST API driven. Even our product GUI runs off the API calls. And this opens it up to instrumentation by other systems; it's not always a person on the other end of ECX! DevOps tools such as Puppet or the IBM BlueMix platform are able to make calls into ECX, requesting access to data or even having it spin up virtual machines. The real value here is that since ECX also orchestrates the movement of your data, your development team can be making use of the most recent good snapshot, not some data that's days or even weeks old. A lot of industry study has shown that working off old data can really degrade the success and slow the delivery of software projects. So with ECX as the enabling engine behind DevOps, you can drive more effective software development.

VMblog:  Is there a way for readers to see the solution in action, including the SoftLayer piece?

Walsh:  Yes, we have a live event happening with IBM that will include solution demonstrations. It's happening Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 11:00 a.m. EST, but if you can't make that event the same link will take you to an on-demand recording as soon as the live event concludes.

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Once again, I'd like to thank Ed Walsh for taking the time to speak with VMblog.  And if this falls within your wheelhouse or area of interest, I highly recommend you check out the live event discussed above which takes place online tomorrow.  Click here to sign up.

Published Monday, February 01, 2016 11:00 AM by David Marshall
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