STORAGE TOP PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR

STORAGE TOP PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
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Managing the information that drives the enterprise
STORAGE
Vol. 11 No. 12 February 2013
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
The final verdict is in and our judges have selected
these 14 storage products as the best of 2012.
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EDITORIAL | RICH CASTAGNA
Take a hybrid approach
to data protection
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
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STORAGE NETWORKS
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The old fundamentals of data protection that required separate
processes, systems and data for backup, DR and archive can’t
keep up with today’s data capacities.
F
I’ve been among those promoting a best-practices
approach to data storage protection that made clear distinctions
among the processes and data related to backup, archive and
disaster recovery (DR). Our articles here in Storage magazine
more often than not followed the same track, addressing each of
these activities separately much more frequently than as connected processes.
I still believe those distinctions are important to maintain. You copy data on
a daily (or more frequent) basis to ensure that if a file gets deleted or corrupted
you can easily retrieve a copy that’s a duplicate or at least a relatively recent version. That’s backup. Then there’s data you replicate so that if your company’s
primary systems become unavailable because of a storm, fire or any other system-crippling occurrence, you’ll be able to start up at least some of your key applications so business can continue as near to normally as possible. That’s DR
or business continuity. Finally, you probably also make copies of data that your
company doesn’t need right now, but is bound by law or internal policy to hold
onto—just in case it’s ever needed—and that’s archiving.
At its most basic level, each of those data protecting functions requires making a copy of data and putting it somewhere besides the primary storage on
which it was created and where it’s still accessed. So, you could argue that
treating backup, DR and archive as separate operations will result in redundant copies that need to be tracked, maintained and kept up to date. That’s
true, and probably the biggest reason why so few companies hew to the practice
OR YEARS,
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
3
EDITORIAL | RICH CASTAGNA
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
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GAINING FOLLOWERS
of isolating each data storage protection activity. And those companies that
wanted to were often thwarted by staggering data growth and the complexity
of dealing with three distinct processes with short staffs and limited budgets.
Still other companies took a “leave well enough alone” approach and continued with a fairly dysfunctional data protection process that treated backup and
DR as equivalents, and considered their dusty old backup tapes an “archive.”
Both of these approaches are likely to fail at some point, possibly with disastrous results. So what’s needed is something that reduces the number of copies
of data floating around, is a lot easier to maintain and can integrate easily into
the overall storage management process.
So while a new methodology and maybe
It’s possible that a
even some new tools to put it in motion are
single copy of data may
required, we need to remember that a few
suffice for both backup
basic rules will still apply. There are still very
different reasons for copying data for backup,
and DR, assuming the
DR and archive, and there are very different
specific recovery tools
reasons and methods of retrieving that data.
are still available.
So any kind of hybrid data storage protection
system has to meet the specific needs of each
recovery scenario. Archiving should be considered more of a data preservation
process that removes unused data from primary systems, effectively paring the
amount of data that gets copied for backup and DR purposes.
It’s possible that a single copy of data may suffice for both backup and DR,
assuming the specific recovery tools are still available. You’ll still need to be
able to restore single files for routine recoveries from daily backups and have
the ability to fire up new virtual servers to access production data from a remote site so that critical apps can continue to run even if the data center is
out of commission. The data must also be copied to a remote site frequently
enough so that it can be rolled back to a known, stable state if primary data
becomes corrupted.
The good news is that a growing number of software and hardware vendors
are developing products that meet these new requirements—no sacrifice when
it comes to functionality, but with a simpler and less redundant process for
copying data.
Startup Actifio touts its “virtual copies” approach, which reduces the number of copies of the same data that must be maintained for various purposes.
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
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EDITORIAL | RICH CASTAGNA
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
The company claims its Actifio Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) product can make managing copies much easier while saving on disk capacity. But
more established vendors are also addressing the data protection sprawl issue.
CommVault has built a variety of protection apps on a common platform that
makes each process easier to manage; avoids duplication; and even allows
searching across data stored for backup, DR or archive. Symantec and other
backup vendors offer similar functionality, and hybrid data protection is clearly
the direction the industry is headed.
It all makes sense, and represents a break from traditional methods that
have become less realistic and more expensive as the amount of data we store
continues to grow. But it also makes sense to approach hybrid data storage protection with some caution; make sure that as you cut down the number of copies of data you retain, you still have sufficient and available tools to meet your
RTOs and RPOs. n
RICH CASTAGNA is editorial director of TechTarget’s Storage Media Group.
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
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STORAGE n
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5
STORAGE REVOLUTION | JON TOIGO
The dangers of 3D data
Get a 3D printer and build your own storage array. Or get a
3D printer and watch your storage array fill up with data.
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
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GAINING FOLLOWERS
A
I read an article in a tech publication that discussed the concerns of toy companies regarding knock-offs
of their popular toys being made by do-it-yourselfers using
3D printing. The article detailed how an increasingly inexpensive 3D printer—capable of converting a computer-aided
design (CAD) model of an object into a physical (three-dimensional) version
of the object by depositing layer upon layer of hardening plastic material—was
being used to “print” things like Lego building blocks and Hasbro Transformers characters. I kept the article in my file folder of topics to track just in case
I ever needed another Optimus Prime figure.
I was reminded of this clipping when my dear wife told me recently that she
wanted one (a 3D printer, not a Transformers figure) as a holiday or birthday
present. It shouldn’t have surprised me that she was already expert on the processes for “dimension layer resolution and material deposition.” And since she
was already pretty conversant with a number of 3D imaging and drawing programs that we use in our animated video work, she knew all the software and
hardware elements required to make a working system.
She argued for the 3D printer with all the enthusiasm of a kid asking permission to keep a stray dog: “Assemble-it-yourself printers run about $500, while
a good hobby-grade printer is about $1,000, and it will make its own replacement parts if anything breaks down.” This was strangely similar to the arguments I once made to get my parents to approve spending money on an early
hobbyist computer kit.
WHILE BACK,
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
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STORAGE REVOLUTION | JON TOIGO
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
“The files for 3D are comparatively small,” she continued, “ranging from a
few hundred kilobytes to a gigabyte or 10 for very complex CAD models. So,
our current video-editing storage array is more than adequately sized to hold
the data.”
I was delighted to hear her trying to justify the purchase in terms of its impact on our data storage infrastructure, and so charmed by her approach that I
stopped myself from observing that storage requirements might be a bigger issue if she develops her skills to a point where she wants to print a T-1000 (a mimetic poly-alloy assassin robot from Terminator 2: Judgment Day) or a life-sized
electric car.
Another potential rub: copyright in3D printing files may
fringement. We all know the bad things
comprise yet another kind
that happen when your ISP gives your
of data that needs to be
IP address (and home address information) to the Recording Industry of
spotted and segregated
America, Motion Picture Association
for review by risk managers
of America or to an attorney who has
to reduce exposure to
built a cottage industry around extortpotential legal prosecution.
ing money from copyright violators.
The bootleg copy of Mars Attacks! or
the bit torrent of “Slim Whitman Greatest Hits” you forgot you stored on a
hard disk all those years ago are all it takes to see thousands of dollars drained
from your kids’ college funds and deposited into the coffers of an aggrieved
media conglomerate.
What if the object involved in your 3D printing project is itself copy protected? While you may be safe for now (in 2010, the European Court of Justice
said Lego couldn’t trademark its product shape), lobbyists for manufacturers
of everything from toys to torque wrenches are seeking to expand laws like
the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to cover the shapes and designs of their wares. To give the effort teeth, they seek to extend liability for
infringement to those who enable it as well as those who actually do the deed
of printing.
What has this to do with storage? Is someone “printing” disk drives using
Seagate designs? Not that I know of. These 3D printing files may comprise yet
another kind of data that needs to be spotted and segregated for review by risk
managers in your business to reduce exposure to potential legal prosecution.
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
8
STORAGE REVOLUTION | JON TOIGO
More directly, 3D printing may become a convenient way to generate memory chips comprising wafers of conductive and non-conductive polymers (plastics), an idea advanced by the three researchers who won the 2000 Nobel Prize
in Chemistry. Who knows, you may need an alternative to gallium arsenide
chips in the not too distant future to protect against infestations of GFAJ-1, a
new life form discovered by NASA at California’s Mono Lake that appears to
digest arsenic to sustain its vital functions. Happy New Year. n
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
JON WILLIAM TOIGO is a 30-year IT veteran, CEO and managing principal of Toigo Partners InternaTHE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
tional, and chairman of the Data Management Institute.
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
STORAGE n
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9
Server Virtualization: Dream for server admins...
t
h
mare
g
i
N
for storage pros.
Get your virtual environment under control.
Check out our Top 10 Server Virtualization Tips for storage managers:
www.SearchStorage.com/Server_Virtualization
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
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WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
TOP
STORAGE
PRODUCTS
OF
2012
In its eleventh year, the
Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com
Products of the Year program recognizes
a year’s worth of cutting-edge
storage products.
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
AS WE HAVE FOR THE PREVIOUS 10 YEARS,
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
the editors of Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com, more than ably assisted by a panel of consultants, analysts and users, have
picked what we feel are the best data storage products of 2012.
As we study the entries submitted to our storage Products of the Year awards program, we are reminded of the tremendous amount of innovation and technical achievement demonstrated by the scores of storage products that were either fresh out of the
gate in 2012 or established products that received significant enhancements.
This year, we chose 52 finalists from more than 160 entries, and eventually selected
14 as 2012’s best storage products. All the enterprise storage products were judged based
on innovation, performance, ease of integration into an environment, ease of use and
manageability, functionality and value.
Congratulations to all our 2012 Products of the Year award winners.
By Andrew Burton, Rich Castagna, Todd Erickson, Sonia Lelii, Dave Raffo, Carol Sliwa and Sue Troy
STORAGE n
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11
BACKUP AND DISASTER RECOVERY
SOFTWARE AND SERVICES
GOLD
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Zerto Virtual Replication 2.0
RETHINKING DATA
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3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
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DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
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IDEAL FOR ROBOS
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Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR) 2.0 is a hypervisor-based replication product that enables replication from a VMware vSphere environment to a VMware vCloud environment, and vice versa.
Version 2.0 is hardware-agnostic, and offers multisite replication, off-site cloning
and backup with support for virtual machine (VM) boot order and automatic updates
of VMware vApp changes. Full integration with VMware vCloud Director is offered, as
well as full awareness of VMware vMotion, Distributed Resource Scheduler and High
Availability.
Because the product is
hardware-agnostic, users can
set up different tiers of storage, repurpose older storage
and mix storage vendors. Multisite replication allows users
to protect their main data center and remote offices; data
can be replicated from any site
to any site or from many sites
to one shared infrastructure.
Virtual Replication 2.0’s
off-site cloning and backup
lets users create copies of VMs for testing, backup or development without any impact
on the production environment; the product’s journal can now store up to five days of
data to protect against corruption. Another new feature, infrastructure masking, allows
administrators to limit access to parts of the infrastructure for security.
Full integration with vCloud Director enables replication from vSphere to vCloud
and offers multi-tenancy for cloud environments, which ensures separation of department or customer data within a shared infrastructure. In the past, multiple instances
of vCenter were necessary for multi-tenancy, which increased cost and complexity.
Zerto Virtual Replication also allows for centralized management, so users don’t have
to switch back and forth between vCloud Director and vSphere consoles.
One of our judges said the product took an “interesting and fresh approach for an
important new environment.” Another said Zerto Virtual Replication 2.0 was a “highly
innovative, simple alternative to [storage resource management] SRM” and called the
VMDK-awareness “ingenious.”
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BACKUP AND DISASTER RECOVERY
SOFTWARE AND SERVICES
SILVER
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Veeam Software Inc. Veeam Backup
& Replication v6.5
RETHINKING DATA
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GAINING FOLLOWERS
Veeam Backup & Replication is an agentless software platform designed specifically for
virtual server data protection.
Version 6.5 features the ability to search Microsoft Exchange backups to retrieve
individual Exchange items, a dynamically distributed architecture designed to improve
remote site backup performance, faster replication performance, and Web-based file
restore direct to the original virtual machine (VM) without a network connection or
guest agent.
This version also gives users the ability to restore individual VMs or items directly
from HP StoreVirtual VSA and
LeftHand snapshots, and adds
a backup utility that creates a
compressed, deduped version of
a VM for archiving or portability. In addition, Veeam Backup
& Replication Version 6.5 offers
a new user interface intended to
improve integration with VMware and Hyper-V.
One of our judges said this version “adds several good incremental features to an
already feature-rich, quality backup product” and that “it sets the bar for virtual server
backup and recovery.”
The product has a history of leadership in the virtual server backup space, and continues to offer its core features such as vPower, which enables features like Instant VM
Recovery, Universal Application-Item Recovery and SureBackup.
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BACKUP AND DISASTER RECOVERY
SOFTWARE AND SERVICES
BRONZE
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
CommVault Simpana Version 9 Service Pack 8
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
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CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CommVault Simpana is an enterprise backup software platform that offers automated
data protection, replication, archiving and reporting. CommVault has a reputation for
innovation in the backup software space, and Simpana Version 9 Service Pack 8 (SP8)
offers a number of interesting enhancements. One of our judges said Simpana “still
seems to be the industry leader
in terms of pushing new and traditional backup techniques.”
This offering delivered new
features such as OnePass, which
combines backup, archive and
reporting into a single operation;
and ContentStore, a deduped
backup and archive repository
of data stored across disk, tape
or cloud. ContentStore tracks
blocks, files and objects, and enables intelligent tiering across
media types and locations. It’s designed to eliminate point products and processes for
archiving, data analysis, compliance and e-discovery.
SP8 has new virtual server backup enhancements and hardware vendors were added
to the IntelliSnap Connect Program, an open API framework for integrating arrays with
CommVault’s snapshot management software. SP8 also allows users to securely access
their own files from anywhere, including support for Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry mobile devices.
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
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14
GOLD
BACKUP HARDWARE
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Actifio Protection and Availability Storage 5.0
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
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STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
Multiple data protection applications create multiple copies of the same data, which
contributes to data growth. Actifio Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) 5.0 replaces multiple data protection and availability storage applications with a single,
complete storage system to manage numerous copies of data generated from backup,
snapshots, replication, analytics, test and development environments. The Actifio PAS
platform uses virtualization to
eliminate multiple copies of data
created by separate data protection applications. It’s also intended to replace tools like WAN
optimizers and deduplication
appliances.
The PAS Virtual Data Pipeline
technology creates virtual pointin-time copies of production
data, eliminating backup windows while making data instantly
available to applications. Only
one copy is saved and updated
with incremental changes. Actifio PAS can be deployed in a single-site configuration or
among multiple sites to use its native replication capabilities.
PAS users can consolidate devices and software licenses, using one license to protect
a data volume, regardless of the number of user sites or data centers. Since its data store
is virtualized, PAS lets you use any third-party SAN as a back-end device. The Actifio
Enterprise Manager can manage multipetabyte PAS environments via a single console.
Actifio’s DeDupe Async technology also reduces network bandwidth utilization, so
separate WAN optimization hardware and software isn’t needed. For cloud environments, the system provides multi-tenancy, network optimization and advanced reporting capabilities.
Actifio PAS connects to any host through a Fibre Channel or iSCSI link. Actifio’s
20T system scales to 20 TB, and is intended for remote or branch offices and small-tomidsize VMware and Oracle environments. The 100T system scales to 100 TB for data
centers or compute farms, big data applications, and heterogeneous physical and virtual
environments. The PAS enterprise edition, which can grow to more than 100 TB, is for
cloud or managed service providers, and globally distributed enterprises.
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15
SILVER
BACKUP HARDWARE
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Riverbed Technology Inc. Whitewater 3010
with Whitewater Operating System 2.0
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
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3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
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CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
The latest Riverbed Whitewater cloud storage gateway is a data protection and disaster
recovery appliance that integrates with existing data protection applications and can be
used to replace tape for backup. The Whitewater 3010 appliance runs the Whitewater
Operating System (WWOS) 2.0 and is designed for
enterprise-level performance,
allowing organizations to use
cloud storage for backup. The
software-hardware combo offers improved stability and performance, in-line processing
and more usable cache.
WWOS 2.0 indexes all data, local and in the cloud,
to provide maximum deduplication. Active Directory support allows Whitewater to
easily integrate with other apps and Windows management. The system supports up
to 32 TB of deduplicated local storage and 160 TB of deduplicated cloud storage, a capacity increase that represents a total of 1.6 PB and 4.8 PB of source data. WWOS 2.0
increases data ingest to 1.5 TB per hour for faster processing of larger backups, a 50%
improvement over previous models.
The system can help eliminate tape and reduce costs by connecting data protection
applications with cloud service providers without having to change existing infrastructure or policies.
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
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16
BRONZE
BACKUP HARDWARE
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
ExaGrid Systems Inc. EX130-GRID
with Secure Erase
RETHINKING DATA
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The EX130-GRID encrypted disk backup with deduplication system and Secure Erase
is a deduplicating backup target device that can encrypt backup data with its Secure
Erase feature that eliminates the risk in backup data security breaches. In most filebased systems, deletion means marking areas of a disk as free but actually leaving the
deleted data intact until it’s later overwritten. For companies
with high security concerns, that approach is inadequate
as they need assurances that deleted information has been
destroyed and is unrecoverable. Secure Erase uses a deletion technique that truly removes data by performing
overwrites to the affected areas, ensuring that the previous data is not recoverable.
The system can erase data from an entire node or
down to more granular levels such as a single backup job.
To ensure that data at rest is always encrypted, the 130 TB
disk backup system uses Seagate’s Self-Encrypting Drive
(SED) with 128-bit AES. The system can ingest and return data at up to 24 TB per hour and supports advanced
virtual machine recovery. It’s compliant with the Department of Defense 5220.22-M standard and the National Institute of Standards and Technology SP800-88 standard.
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
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STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
17
GOLD
NETWORKING EQUIPMENT
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
QLogic Corp. FlexSuite 2600 Series Fibre
Channel Adapters
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QLogic Corp.’s FlexSuite 2600 Series Fibre Channel adapter won the networking equipment category in the Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com 2012 Products of the Year
competition. Only one product was presented with an award in this category this year.
As organizations upgrade their SANs to 16 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) and 10 Gigabit
Ethernet (GbE), networking products that are upgradeable to the newest technologies
but preserve investments in existing infrastructure will be essential.
The sixth-generation QLogic 2600 Series FC adapter supports 16 Gbps FC
throughput per port with full hardware offload, and is backwards compatible to 8
Gbps and 4 Gbps networks. More impressively, the 2600 Series is transformable
to a converged network adapter
(CNA) to support 10 GbE networks.
With a single PCI Express (PCIe)
slot, you can install a host bus
adapter for your 8 Gbps or 4 Gbps
FC network, and use the same PCIe
3.0 card when you upgrade to 16
Gbps FC or 10 GbE.
“CNA cards are approaching a strategic default, and
the flexibility of this card fits an unpredictable IT future,” commented one judge.
The FlexSuite 2600 Series also received high marks for performance and functionality.
A field-programmable firmware upgrade is all that’s required to transform the FC
adapter into a QLogic 8300 series 10 GbE CNA. It will then support network interface
cards, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI traffic.
And just because it’s so flexible doesn’t mean it won’t perform as well as fixed 16
Gbps FC adapters. The 2600 Series can provide up to 1.2 million IOPS as a full-duplex,
line-rate 16 Gbps FC adapter. As a 10 GbE CNA, it supports up to 1 million FCoE IOPS.
QLogic provides the QConvergeConsole single-pane management application with
the adapters. They also support application programming interfaces from most thirdparty management tools such as VMware Inc.’s vCenter for virtualized environments.
The dual-port FlexSuite 2672 is priced at $2,225 with a five-year warranty. A singleport model (the 2670) is also available. In dual-port configurations, each port has its
own processor, memory and driver for high availability. This port-level isolation means
that if one port fails, the second port continues to operate without interruption.
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
18
GOLD
STORAGE MANAGEMENT TOOLS
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Dell Inc. vFoglight Storage 2.0
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
Dell’s vFoglight Storage 2.0 won the gold in the 2012 Products of the Year storage management tools category (this year, only one prize was awarded in this category).
Version 2.0 of vFoglight Storage is designed to give server and storage administrators a common performance monitoring tool. The product is Dell’s “last-mile” module
for its Foglight performance management software family, which it acquired when it
bought Quest Software in September 2012. At the application level of the product family is Dell’s Foglight, which monitors performance from an application level through
physical hardware. Its
vFoglight carries that monitoring through to the virtual
hardware. vFoglight Storage extends monitoring to
the storage that supports the
servers, to pinpoint performance problems within the
storage or to help identify
problems in the adjacent infrastructure that may be affecting storage performance.
The agentless product,
which is included with
vFoglight, allows users to see how much I/O is generated by each virtual machine. Its
functionality is accomplished by combining metrics data from VMware vCenter, the
storage array and the switch.
Dell vFoglight Storage 2.0, which shipped in early October 2012, allows users to “rewind” (like a DVR) to examine past events in storage devices, applications and servers,
to determine the source of a performance problem. The new version also adds compatibility with the EMC VNX and Dell Compellent platforms, as well as data and user interface integration with Dell’s vOPS Server Enterprise.
Our judges gave vFoglight Storage 2.0 the highest marks in the storage management
tools category in five of the six ratings areas: ease of use and manageability, innovation,
performance, ease of integration and value. One judge said vFoglight Storage 2.0 provides “excellent all-around storage and network management.”
Pricing for vFoglight Storage 2.0 is $1,298 per CPU socket when purchased with
vFoglight. This version of vFoglight Storage requires vFoglight Version 6.7.
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
19
GOLD
STORAGE SYSTEMS
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Tegile Systems Inc. Zebi HA2800 Storage Array
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
The Zebi HA2800 multiprotocol array can be used as an all-flash system or in front of a
pool of hard drives as a hybrid array. It includes up to 4.4 TB of flash and allows one or
two 72 TB expansion shelves for up to 144 TB of hard drive capacity. Tegile claims the
all-flash array can sustain 200,000 IOPS.
Tegile Systems calls its storage architecture a Metadata Accelerated Storage System (MASS). It stores and manages metadata independently of data on solid-state
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
drives (SSDs) for faster retrieval. All Tegile arrays have FlashVols that pin data into
SSDs, ensuring maximum quality of service to those volumes so they run at maximum
performance.
Tegile’s reporting allows users to associate storage resources to virtual machines,
accelerating capacity and performance planning as well as troubleshooting. Tegile also
uses in-line compression and data deduplication for its SSDs and hard drives, which it
claims can increase usable capacity up to five times. The arrays feature snapshots and
remote replication for data protection.
Zebi arrays support Fibre Channel, iSCSI and network-attached storage (NAS) protocols. An array can be optimized for backup operations with high network throughput
and in-line dedupe and compression, or for virtualization with high IOPS. For caching,
Zebi arrays use a combination of DRAM and SSDs.
Our judges gave the HA2800 high marks for innovation and value, with its base
price of approximately $235,000. One judge called the system “One of the more complete hybrid unified storage products—full storage array functionality and excellent performance at a reasonable price.”
Another judge noted that the HA2800’s “inline dedupe and hybrid disk, and snapshot and replication make for a comprehensive feature set.”
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
20
SILVER
STORAGE SYSTEMS
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
NexGen Storage Inc. n5-150 Storage System
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
Startup NexGen designed the n5 Storage System to deliver storage quality of service
(QoS). That means IT administrators can guarantee performance to specific applications and isolate workloads from one another on the SAN. Its users can provision performance in the same way they would provision capacity, so they can apply different
QoS profiles to multiple applications simultaneously.
NexGen’s hybrid
iSCSI systems use
Fusion-io PCI Express
(PCIe) flash cards along
with hard drives, and
they tier data in realtime with their Dynamic
Data Placement feature.
The n5-150 is the largest of NexGen’s three models. It scales from 2.4 TB to 4.8 TB of
SSD capacity, and from 48 TB to 192 TB of overall storage capacity.
Judges gave NexGen high scores for innovation, with one calling out its QoS and use
of PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs) in a hybrid architecture.
NexGen offers a performance guarantee for the n5-150, promising to double the
system’s capacity or improve performance by 50% for free if it doesn’t increase performance of a user’s previous disk system by 10 times, triple IOPS per rack unit of hybrid
storage or triple the capacity per rack unit of all-SSD arrays.
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
21
BRONZE
STORAGE SYSTEMS
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Nimbus
Data Systems Inc. Gemini Flash
Memory Array
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
Nimbus is already three generations into its all-flash array architecture, and the Gemini model comes with a 10-year warranty for multi-level cell (MLC) flash. That’s about
twice as long as the expected maximum life of most flash systems available today.
Gemini also has a new processor and Parallel Memory Architecture that stripes I/O
across a non-blocking internal switch to increase throughput and eliminate the need
for over-subscription. Each flash drive has dedicated bandwidth to the controller and
runs at line-rate speeds. The flash array
can scale to 48 TB in a 2U device.
Nimbus claims it can sustain
1,000,000 IOPS.
Nimbus Data Systems’
Gemini can support 1 GbE/10
GbE/40 GbE iSCSI, 8 Gbps and
16 Gbps Fibre Channel, and 40
Gbps and 56 Gbps InfiniBand
connections.
Our judges found that Gemini goes beyond just the performance you’d expect from
a flash array. It also supports block and file storage and has dual controllers for high
availability.
“Excellent unified storage functionality in an all-flash array,” one judge wrote. “It
has broad interconnect support and high performance in a no-single-point-of-failure
architecture.”
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
22
GOLD
STORAGE SYSTEM SOFTWARE
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Microsoft Corp. Windows Server 2012
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
The many new data storage features and enhancements in Microsoft’s Windows Server
2012 caught the attention of our judges in the storage system software category of this
year’s Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com 2012 Products of the Year competition.
The latest version of Microsoft’s server operating system earned the highest average
score for functionality among the 11 storage system software finalists. Windows Server
2012 also was tops in value, ease of use and manageability, and ease of integration into
existing environments. One
judge cited the “great new innovations” in the product.
Among the most prominent new features are Server
Message Block (SMB) 3.0 for
high-throughput, low-latency
data transfers between servers and storage; the Resilient
File System (ReFS), which
offers greater scalability than
NTFS; Storage Spaces virtualization technology to create
storage pools and enable failover between multiple nodes on commodity hardware; data
deduplication; clustering enhancements; and virtualization improvements, such as live
storage migration and Hyper-V Replica disaster recovery.
“This version of Windows will be very appealing to Microsoft shops,” said one judge.
“It’s faster, has better storage performance, is more flexible and it’s more feature rich.”
The IT manager of a Midwestern grain processing company said Storage Spaces is
an important feature that will help to lower the entry cost for shared storage, facilitating a “just a bunch of disks” (JBOD) configuration.
“This is going to be huge in the SMB space,” predicted the IT manager.
A senior system engineer at a large, diversified manufacturing and retail company
in Eastern Europe said he’s happy to have the ability to use a continuously available file
server for Hyper-V workloads. “It simplifies storage management and decreases investments into an expensive Fibre Channel infrastructure,” he wrote in an email.
Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Server 2012 in September
2012. Windows Server 2012 also serves as the underlying technology for Windows Storage Server 2012, which is used in NAS and iSCSI storage systems sold by OEMs.
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
23
SILVER
STORAGE SYSTEM SOFTWARE
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
Atlantis Computing Inc. ILIO Diskless VDI 3.0
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
Atlantis’ ILIO Diskless Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) 3.0 scored the highest
average marks for performance of all the entries in the storage system software category. The software reduces the size of virtual desktop images, making it possible to
store them in the local server’s memory, rather than disk drives, and to reduce their
boot time.
One judge on our panel
called Atlantis ILIO Diskless
VDI software “highly innovative
software that reduces VDI infrastructure requirements and
admin manual-labor-intensive
tasks.” The judge viewed the
product as the “true definition
of doing more with less: higher
performance at lower cost.”
Atlantis ILIO Diskless VDI
is installed on each physical
server that runs virtual desktops. The software requires a Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere
hypervisor. When deployed, Atlantis ILIO Diskless VDI becomes the NFS or iSCSI data
store for Citrix XenDesktop or VMware View virtual desktops.
Product features include inline deduplication, in-memory compression, automation
of installation and configuration, and content-aware analysis of I/O operations in realtime at the NTFS file-system and block levels.
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
24
BRONZE
STORAGE SYSTEM SOFTWARE
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
VeloBit Inc. HyperCache 1.12
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
One of the hottest trends in storage is server-based flash caching, and VeloBit HyperCache 1.12 stood out in an increasingly crowded field, scoring high marks from the
judges on performance, value and ease of integration into the data center environment.
Like other flash cache software, HyperCache is able to boost
performance without changes
to existing applications, storage
or data protection. The product
works with any type of solid-state
drives, including PCI Express and
SATA, and supports major operating systems and hypervisors.
One of the main differentiators VeloBit touts is HyperCache’s content-locality caching
algorithm, which prioritizes data
in the cache based on popularity rather than how recently it
was used. Another point of distinction from some other flash cache software is HyperCache’s support for both read and write caching.
“Good idea, good price,” commented one judge.
Other product features include data compression, user-defined write-cache depth,
automatic performance optimization, and a performance monitoring utility that
displays metrics in real-time and enables past-performance analysis.
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
25
FINALIST
2012 PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
2012
STORAGE MAGAZINE
PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
BACKUP AND DISASTER
RECOVERY SOFTWARE
AND SERVICES
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
Asigra Inc. Cloud Backup V12
Code 42 Software Inc.
CrashPlan PROe v3
CommVault Simpana 9
Service Pack 8
Dell Inc. Quest vRanger 6.0
Digitiliti Inc. DigiLibe V3.5
Druva Inc. inSync 5.1
EVault Inc. EVault 7
FalconStor Software Inc.
RecoverTrac 2.5
FileTek Inc. StorHouse
Version 5.6 with RFS 5.0
Quantum Corp. DXi V1000
Veeam Software Inc. Veeam
Backup & Replication 6.5
Zerto Virtual Replication 2.0
BACKUP HARDWARE
Actifio Inc. Protection and
Availability Storage 5.0
EMC Corp. Data Domain
DD990
ExaGrid Systems Inc. EX130GRID with Secure Erase
Oracle Corp. StorageTek
SL150 Modular Tape Library
Riverbed Technology Inc.
Whitewater 3010 with
Whitewater Operating
System 2.0
Sepaton Inc. S2100-ES3
Series 2922
StorServer Inc. StorServer
Enterprise Backup
Appliance 3100
Symantec Corp. NetBackup
5220 Backup Appliance with
NetBackup 7.5 Software
NETWORKING EQUIPMENT
Emulex Corp. LightPulse
LPe 16000B 16 Gbps Fibre
Channel HBAs
QLogic Corp. FlexSuite
2600 Series Fibre Channel
Adapters
STORAGE MANAGEMENT
TOOLS
Clear Technologies Inc. Visual
Storage Intelligence 2.5 VSI
Dashboard Portal
Dell Inc. vFoglight Storage 2.0
IBM SmartCloud Virtual
Storage Center V5.1
StorageQuest Inc.
StorageQuest Archive
Manager 4.0
STORAGE SYSTEMS
Astute Networks Inc. ViSX G4
Avere Systems Inc. FXT 4500
Edge Filer
EMC Corp. VMAX 40K
Hitachi Data Systems Corp.
Hitachi Unified Storage VM
Nasuni Corp. Nasuni 4.0
NexGen Storage Inc. NexGen
n5-150 Storage System
Nimble Storage Inc. Nimble
CS400 Series
Nimbus Data Systems Inc.
Gemini Flash Memory Array
Pure Storage Inc. FlashArray
FA-320
Riverbed Technology Granite 1.0
Starboard Storage Systems
Inc. AC72 Storage System
StorSimple Inc. StorSimple
7520
Tegile Systems Inc. Zebi
HA2800 Storage Array
Tintri Inc. VMstore T540
Whiptail Technologies Inc.
Invicta ISSA-12
STORAGE SYSTEM SOFTWARE
Afore Solutions Inc.
CloudLink 2.0 with Secure
Virtual Storage Appliance
Atlantis Computing Inc. ILIO
Diskless VDI 3.0
Caringo Inc. CAStor 6.0 with
Elastic Content Protection
Inktank Storage Inc. Ceph
iWave Software LLC Storage
Automator Version 6.5
Maginatics Inc. MagFS
Version 1.5
Microsoft Corp. Windows
Server 2012
Proximal Data AutoCache V1.0
Sanbolic Inc. AppCluster V2.0
VeloBit Inc. HyperCache 1.12
Virsto Software Corp. Virsto
for vSphere 1.5
About the Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Products of the Year STORAGE MAGAZINE AND SEARCHSTORAGE.COM invited
data storage product companies to nominate new or enhanced products for the 2012 Products of the Year awards. For previously available products, the upgrade must have incorporated significant new features. Products could be entered in six categories: backup and
disaster recovery software and services, backup hardware, networking equipment, storage management tools, storage systems and
storage system software.
Products were judged by a panel of users, analysts, consultants, and Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com editors. Products
were rated based on innovation, performance, ease of integration into environment, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value.
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
26
VM-SPECIFIC STORAGE
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
STORAGE BUILT
FOR VIRTUAL
ENVIRONMENTS
The benefits of virtualizing servers
and desktops are usually evident,
but the storage side of the shop
often struggles to support virtualized
environments. Here’s what storage
vendors are doing to address the
problem.
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
By Jacob Gsoedl
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
and aggregation, and the anticipated efficiency
gains and lower costs that will be realized from those approaches, have been
the primary drivers behind the adoption of server virtualization and virtual
desktop infrastructure (VDI). While virtualization has generally lived up to its
promises, with less physical infrastructure needed to support servers, desktops
and applications, it has had a less advantageous effect on storage. “With server
virtualization and VDI, storage has become one of the main virtualization challenges,” said Mark Peters, a senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise
Strategy Group (ESG).
THE NOTIONS OF CONSOLIDATION
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
27
VM-SPECIFIC STORAGE
The complexity of shared storage, inconsistent performance related to resource contention caused by virtual machines (VMs) competing for available
storage resources, and storage management challenges have been the main areas of concern. As these challenges abound, there’s an increasing list of vendors
offering products that employ techniques and strategies to solve or at least mitigate the storage challenges that have plagued virtual server and VDI deployments up to now.
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
CONVERGING VMs AND STORAGE
Collapsing server virtualization and storage, with both compute and storage
services running on a single system, is touted by one group of vendors as the
ideal approach. The idea is to dedicate a certain percentage of the computing
resources of the underlying host to storage tasks and the remaining resources
to virtual machines. The simplification resulting from including and managing
storage within a single platform is the primary value proposition. Being able
to optimize and manage storage better in relation to VMs can be another benefit of combining storage and VMs in a single system. On the downside, and
depending on the underlying design, combining storage and VMs in a single
system can limit the ability to scale storage and computing resources independently of each other. Moreover, in solutions where storage and VMs share the
same underlying computing resources (CPU, memory and networking), storage processing is more likely to impact VMs and vice versa.
A handful of vendors are now offering converged virtualization and storage
products.
On the lower end of the spectrum, Scale Computing with its HC3 system
offers converged virtualization and storage systems for small and medium-size
companies. Descending from a multinode scale-out NAS origin, HC3 runs the
open-source Red Hat KVM hypervisor on top of its storage system. With all
storage and virtualization tasks managed within a single console and an all-inclusive licensing model that covers the cost of the hypervisor, HC3 tries to minimize the cost and complexity of server virtualization for smaller environments.
While Scale Computing added virtualization to its storage platform, Nutanix
Inc. took a server-centric approach where the storage stack simply runs as an
additional service parallel to the VMs. Nutanix virtualizes storage from physical server nodes into a unified pool of scale-out converged storage (SOCS),
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
28
VM-SPECIFIC STORAGE
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
with VMs running on each server accessing the shared storage pool as if they
were accessing a SAN. With a software-based scale-out NAS architecture and
hybrid solid-state drive (SSD)/SATA storage nodes claiming NetApp-parity in
storage features, Nutanix targets both SMBs and enterprises.
Contrary to Nutanix, SimpliVity Corp., with its OmniCube platform, claims
to be a storage platform first that can also host virtual machines. A VM-centric
scale-out NAS targeted as primary storage, with features like real-time data deduplication and compression, cloud integration and hybrid SSD/SATA storage
nodes, it competes head-on with Nutanix.
Pivot3’s vStac unified storage and compute product shares the block storage
of local servers into an iSCSI SAN, which can be accessed by VMs running on
those servers. Pivot3 is targeting its converged storage and compute platform at
the VDI and surveillance markets.
MANAGING STORAGE AT A VM LEVEL
Traditional storage is usually managed and provisioned to servers at a LUN
or volume level and shared among multiple VMs. As a result, it’s been difficult to perform storage management tasks, such as snapshotting or replication,
at a VM level. Several storage startups have acknowledged this problem and
bypassed traditional LUN/volume-based storage management for a VM-centric
model.
Tintri Inc., with its VMstore product, offers a hybrid disk/SSD dual-controller storage system for virtualized server environments that features real-time
deduplication; Tintri claims to keep all active VM data in SSD while it shuffles
inactive data to SATA disks in the background. Most significantly, Tintri provisions and manages storage at a VM level. Cloning, snapshotting and replication are all performed at a VM or virtual-disk level. “We are able to monitor
and control I/Os by VM and, as a result, are able to have both server and desktop VMs on the same server,” said Kieran Harty, Tintri’s CEO. Similar to Tintri, both Nutanix and SimpliVity provision and manage storage at a VM level.
The price they pay for managing storage at a VM level is that these storage
systems can no longer be used to serve non-virtualized physical servers. In fact,
Nutanix, SimpliVity and Tintri are currently only available for VMware, but
all three vendors claim to be hypervisor-agnostic, and both Nutanix and Tintri
Continued on page 31
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
29
VM-SPECIFIC STORAGE
Strategies that make storage
more VM-friendly
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
STRATEGY
MERITS
CHALLENGES
Convergence
of storage and
virtual machines
(VMs)
1 Simplification
1 Scalability
Storage
management
at a VM level
1 Improved
1 Storage
Software-defined
storage and
virtual storage
appliances (VSAs)
1 Abstracting
storage
from the underlying
hardware
1 Enables storage
to be offered as a
service independent
of the underlying
storage hardware
1 Today,
Packaged server
and desktop
virtualization
solutions
1 Tested
and proven
turnkey system
with predictable
scalability and
vendor support
1 Reduced risk
1 Higher
Integration
of hypervisors
and storage
1 Simplified
1 Implementations
The use of solidstate drives and
deduplication
1 Improved
1 Higher
cost
STORAGE n
1 Lower
cost
storage
management
and reporting
of virtualized
infrastructure
management
performance
challenges
and VMs
compete for the
shared physical
server resources
1 Storage
can’t be
used by traditional
non-virtualized
servers
mostly
offered as entry-level
storage in the form
of VSAs
cost
acquisition
vary by vendor
FEBRUARY 2013
30
VM-SPECIFIC STORAGE
Continued from page 29
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
said they’ll support Microsoft Hyper-V and Red Hat KVM in the near future.
Traditional storage vendors have been busy adding the ability to get VMspecific metrics and monitoring to their reporting and monitoring tools. “EMC
Storage Analytics, available for VNX and VMware first [Q1/2013] is designed to
do predictive analysis to be able to spot problems on a VM and LUN,” said Eric
Herzog, senior vice president (VP), product management and product marketing, EMC.
SOFTWARE-DEFINED STORAGE AND
VIRTUAL STORAGE APPLIANCES
By definition, virtualization decouples application services from the underlying hardware and there’s a clear trend for it to expand beyond computing. Examples of this shift include software-defined networking (SDN), which has
gotten much buzz lately, and VMware Inc.’s active promotion of the concept of
software-defined data centers (SDDCs). Software-defined storage (SDS) is simply a part of this concept, and a number of storage vendors are picking up on it.
For instance, Nutanix touts its solution as software-defined storage that runs
on a standardized sheet metal infrastructure. Virtual storage appliances (VSA),
where the storage software runs on a virtual machine and is distributed as a VM
image, are other examples of this trend of abstracting the storage application
from the underlying hardware. The VMware vSphere Storage Appliance transforms the local storage of up to three servers into a shared storage resource that
runs virtualized applications. Similarly, NetApp Inc.’s Data Ontap Edge is a
virtual machine that runs Data Ontap, currently only supporting a single server
node, but able to seamlessly interact with other NetApp storage. Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.’s StoreVirtual VSA, based on the LeftHand OS, is able to pool the
local storage of up to 10 hosts and present it as shared storage.
PACKAGED VIRTUAL SERVER AND VDI
STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Unlike converged VM/storage products that are typically single systems, packaged solutions combine servers, networking, storage, hypervisors, other components and applications to offer a preconfigured, fully tested solution for
STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
31
VM-SPECIFIC STORAGE
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
server virtualization and VDI deployments. Hitachi Data Systems’ (HDS) Unified Compute Platform (UCP) Pro and HDS UCP Select are packaged HDS solutions for server virtualization, VDI and cloud computing that include licenses
and support for all included components by HDS.
“UCP Pro and Select are proven, scalable solutions to minimize the risk
and eliminate the guessing game in cloud, virtual server and VDI deployment
projects,” said Ravi Chalaka, VP of solutions marketing, HDS. Similar solution-oriented products are offered by Dell with vStart, EMC with VSPEX, HP’s
CloudSystem Matrix and NetApp’s FlexPod.
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
FLASH AND DATA DEDUPLICATION
TOP PRODUCTS
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Inconsistent performance related to the underlying storage resources has been
the bane of many virtualized environments. “Virtualization has greatly helped
server utilization by maximizing the number of VMs that run on a single server.
Key hypervisor storage APIs
VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI). Provides storage
vendors with the ability to integrate with VMware vSphere to offload
specific storage operations from the hypervisor to the storage system.
●● VMware vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA). A set of APIs
that permits storage arrays to integrate with vCenter for management
functionality to give vSphere insight into storage capabilities of the
underlying storage system.
●● Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) in Microsoft Windows Server 2012.
ODX is what VAAI is for VMware, enabling storage vendors to integrate
with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V to offload storage operations to
the storage system.
●● Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). Enables applicationconsistent data protection of virtual machines (VMs) and applications
on VMs.
●●
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But at the same time, it has increased the performance requirements of storage
systems,” said Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO in Stillwater, Minn.
Storage systems in virtualized environments have to be able to withstand
spikes such as “boot storms,” in which a large number of systems tax the storage system simultaneously. Solid-state storage plays a major role in dealing with
this problem. While disks perform reasonably well with sequential workloads,
they fare poorly with random workloads of virtualized servers and desktops.
Available flash-based storage products can be categorized into two groups:
All-flash arrays
●● Hybrid flash/disk arrays
●●
All-flash array vendors target the very high end of the application market,
where latency needs to be minimized at any cost and the number of IOPS maximized to as high as 1 million-plus. Nimbus Data, Pure Storage, Violin Memory
and Whiptail are key players in the all-flash storage array market. As a result of
the high cost of SSD, all-flash arrays are pricey and data reduction techniques
like compression and data deduplication are often not an option since they may
adversely impact performance. With the focus on performance, some all-flash
array vendors are lacking a few storage features of traditional storage arrays.
Hybrid flash/disk arrays combine SSD and high-capacity disk drives to
achieve a favorable price-performance ratio. While their performance doesn’t
usually exceed a few tens of thousands of IOPS, they cost much less than allflash arrays. Instead of targeting the very high-end market, they target the mass
market. Besides traditional storage vendors, several startups, such as GreenBytes, Nimble Storage and Tegile Systems, offer hybrid flash/disk products
with a focus on the virtualized server and VDI market. Hybrid flash/disk storage arrays are more likely to enable inline deduplication or compression. “Unlike NetApp, our metadata acceleration engine deduplicates across the whole
array,” said Rob Commins, Tegile Systems’ vice president of marketing.
HYPERVISOR INTEGRATION
The integration with hypervisors has been one of the main differentiators of
storage products that target the virtualized server and desktop market. VMware
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has spearheaded storage APIs (see “Key hypervisor storage APIs”) that allow
offloading of storage tasks, such as snapshotting and copying, to the storage
system, and that enable reporting on and managing storage from within hypervisor management tools such as VMware vCenter. Microsoft Windows Server
2012, with its greatly improved SMB 3.0 file system and Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) feature that enables offloading of storage tasks to storage arrays,
is clearly narrowing, if not closing, the gap with VMware. Evaluation of the
level of integration of a storage system with hypervisors should be a top priority when evaluating a storage system for virtual servers or VDI.
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With multiple competing approaches and products, choosing the right product for your virtual server and VDI infrastructure may seem intimidating. The
simplicity of a converged VM/storage product is appealing as long as scalability concerns can be addressed and you can tolerate that they can only be used
as storage for supported VMs. Proven packaged turnkey solutions may be more
expensive but are most likely to scale and perform as expected. And, by relying on the experience and support of the vendor, they’re especially attractive
in larger virtual server and VDI deployments with limited IT resources. While
all-flash arrays have a place for very high-end applications where performance
matters most, hybrid flash/disk arrays from both traditional storage vendors
and startups are likely to dominate, especially if they take advantage of available storage APIs and integrate tightly with hypervisor products.
Server and desktop virtualization is significantly impacting the direction of
storage products, and features such as VM-specific storage management and
software-defined storage are likely to play a bigger role in evolving storage
systems. n
JACOB N. GSOEDL is a freelance writer and a corporate director for business systems.
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THE STATE OF
STORAGE
NETWORKING
With so much attention focused
on virtualizing servers and storage,
the fabric that ties them together
is often overlooked—but there’s a lot
happening with storage networking
technologies to keep up with
ever-increasing I/O demands.
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By Dennis Martin
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
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STORAGE NETWORKS, much
like their data networking kin, tend to evolve slowly,
with enterprises approaching tech refreshes cautiously and incrementally. But
the IT computing landscape is undergoing profound change in response to new
demands and the new technologies designed to address those demands.
The sheer number of applications a typical data center hosts and the amount
of data these applications churn through directly stress storage networks. The
unprecedented volume of data being generated today due to the proliferation of
devices such as smartphones, surveillance cameras, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and countless other devices with sensors places new demands
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on storage systems and the storage networking technologies that link them to
servers and other client devices.
NEW TECHS STRESS STORAGE NETWORKS
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Among the technologies being employed to help address application and data
growth are server virtualization, solid-state storage technologies and a new generation of servers. Although very different, these technologies share a common
characteristic: they demand I/O and flexible configurations that many storage
fabrics simply can’t provide.
●●
TOP PRODUCTS
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erver virtualization. Server virtualization is solidly entrenched in today’s
S
IT environment, and the number of virtual machines (VMs) deployed per
physical host is growing. Not long ago, five to 10 VMs per host was typical,
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Adapters and PCIe slots
INCREASED SPEEDS in I/O adapters correspond roughly to newer genera-
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tions of server and bus technologies. This table shows the host bus slot
requirements for each speed of adapter. The PCI Express (PCIe) slots also
include the number of lanes required.
ADAPTER TYPE (DUAL PORT)
HOST BUS SLOT REQUIREMENTS
1 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC)
PCI, PCI-X
2 Gbps FC
PCI, PCI-X
4 Gbps FC
PCI-X 2.0 or PCIe 1.0 (x4)
8 Gbps FC
PCIe 1.0 (x8) or PCIe 2.0 (x4)
10 Gigabit Ethernet
PCIe 2.0 (x8) or PCIe 3.0 (x4)
16 Gbps FC
PCIe 2.0 (x8) or PCIe 3.0 (x4)
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often based on the number of processor cores and amount of memory available in the physical server. Recently, it has become more common for a
single physical server to host 15, 20 or 25 VMs. As the density of virtual machine deployments increases, so does the I/O on the storage network.
●●
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olid-state storage. Solid-state storage provides a tremendous boost in data
S
storage performance and, for the first time, our lab tests are beginning to
show that storage devices are no longer the data center bottleneck in many
cases. That’s the good news; the bad news is that the bottleneck is shifting
to the storage network.
CI Express (PCIe) 3.0. The latest generation of data center servers inP
cludes the PCIe 3.0 peripheral interface. PCIe 3.0 supports twice the bus
speed of the previous PCIe generation, and these newer servers support up
to double the total number of lanes of PCIe per processor, resulting in a quadrupling of the total I/O bandwidth available in a single server. These new
servers produce network-taxing I/O, but have enough horsepower to offer
10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) on the motherboard, which is a step toward
wider adoption and more affordable prices for 10 GbE.
NEXT-GENERATION STORAGE INTERFACES
The networking industry is responding to these new demands, offering enhancements to existing networking products and protocols, as well as more innovative responses to growing I/O issues. Not only do we have higher speeds
available for all familiar storage interfaces, including Ethernet, Fibre Channel
(FC) and others, but we also have ways to virtualize the I/O path that are particularly complementary to server virtualization.
Ethernet. Ethernet is widely used for both data and storage networking.
Ethernet provides a good transport for file storage protocols such as Network
File System (NFS) and Server Message Block (SMB, formerly known as CIFS),
and can also be used for block storage protocols such as iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).
The 10 GbE specification was ratified in 2002, yet a decade later use of 10
GbE is just beginning to pick up and it soon will become the dominant Ethernet
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connection interface. According to the most recent Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Storage Purchasing survey, 28% of respondents have implemented
10 GbE for their storage networks (versus 30% with 1 GbE); two years ago,
only 13% had deployed 10 GbE. Early uses of 10 GbE were limited to trunking
between switches and the components were expensive. The 10GBASE-T
specification, ratified in 2006, described the familiar RJ45-style Ethernet
According to the most
and with it the promise of a lower pricerecent Storage magazine
per-port for 10 GbE.
SearchStorage.com Storage
Increasing adoption of 10 GbE
Purchasing survey, 28%
might also be attributed to blade servers, which typically have 10 GbE inof respondents have
terfaces in the blade chassis, and the
implemented 10 GbE for
declining prices of 10 GbE components.
their storage networks.
There are two different connector types used with 10 GbE: SFP+ and
RJ45. The SFP+ connector technology has been around for several years and is
the same technology that’s used with 8 Gbps and 16 Gbps Fibre Channel connections, although with different line rates. 10 GbE SFP+ is available with either copper or fiber-optic cables. The copper cables, known as Direct Attach
Copper (DAC), have the transceivers mounted directly on the cable, and are
good for short distances such as within a rack or to a nearby rack. The fiber-optic cables generally require the transceiver to be mounted into the cage in the
switch or adapter port. The fiber-optic cables are used for short and moderate
distances.
The RJ45 connectors are the familiar connectors used on Cat5, Cat5e and
Cat6 Ethernet cables. 10GBASE-T cables should be Cat6a or Cat7 to use the
full supported distance of 100 meters. Cat6 cables can be used with 10GBASET environments up to 55 meters. Cat5e cables aren’t recommended for 10 GbE.
The 10 GbE server adapters support SFP+ or RJ45 connectors, but not both
on the same adapter. 10 GbE switches support either SFP+ or RJ45, although
some support both in the same switch.
Even as 10 GbE products are beginning to proliferate, 40 GbE and 100 GbE
specifications were ratified in June 2010. These technologies are available in
products today, but they’re expensive and primarily used for switch-to-switch
trunking or aggregation. These technologies use multiple lanes of 10 GbE to
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achieve the aggregate speeds: 40 GbE uses four lanes running at 10 Gbps (4x10)
and 100 GbE uses a 10x10 aggregation.
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Fibre Channel. The Fibre Channel Industry Association called 2012 the year
of “10-10-10,” with 10 million FC switch and adapter ports already shipped, $10
billion invested in FC technology and 10 exabytes (EB) of FC storage shipped.
Fibre Channel is still the dominant high-end storage networking architecture,
satisfying enterprise workloads, server virtualization and cloud architectures.
The technology is known for its reliability and high performance.
Speeds for Fibre Channel have been doubling every three or four years since
New speeds for Ethernet and
Fibre Channel
JUST WHEN YOU THINK you’ve obtained the latest and greatest, you can
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expect the computer industry to take another step ahead. To help you
plan for the future, here’s what you can expect in the not-too-distant
future.
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●●
Ethernet. We’ve seen the first 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) host adapter
cards become available, and more are expected in 2013. The next
server refresh cycle, probably happening in the second half of 2013
or early 2014, will trigger yet another wave of new I/O capabilities,
including more 40 GbE host adapters.
Fibre Channel. The 32 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) specification is expected
to be stabilized in the first half of 2013. Once it’s stabilized, products
are expected within a year or two. Figure on seeing 32 Gbps FC products in late 2014 or early 2015.
Find more information on roadmaps for these and other storage
interfaces on the Demartek Storage Networking Interface Comparison
page.
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1997, when the first 1 Gbps FC components became available. The current top
speed is 16 Gbps FC, first introduced in switches and adapters in 2011. As a
SAN interface, FC is very much alive and well, and work is already underway
on development of 32 Gbps FC. These days, FC is rarely used on the back end—
as a disk drive interface for enterprise disk drives—because drive manufacturers have moved to SAS for that interface.
FC maintains backward compatibility with at least two previous generations,
so 16 Gbps FC works with 4 Gbps and 8 Gbps FC gear. Current 16 Gbps FC SAN
switches are also backward compatible with 2 Gbps FC. That means a company
can upgrade adapters, switches and
storage systems independently, without
Fibre Channel maintains
having to upgrade the entire FC SAN inbackward compatibility
frastructure at one time.
with at least two previous
Hardware isn’t the only issue. VMware vSphere 5.1 and Windows Server
generations, so 16 Gbps FC
2012 (and Hyper-V) support and have
works with 4 Gbps and
specific knowledge of 16 Gbps FC and,
8 Gbps Fibre Channel gear.
in some cases, have in-box drivers for
some 16 Gbps FC components. With
these hypervisors both supporting 64 virtual CPUs and 1 TB of RAM per virtual
machine, it’s not hard to imagine a virtual server environment that can easily take advantage of the increased I/O bandwidth. Windows Server 2012 with
Hyper-V also supports Virtual Fibre Channel. For the FC host bus adapters
(HBAs) that support N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), this allows a guest VM
to access a virtual FC HBA directly, giving the virtual machine the same Fibre
Channel support and access as a physical machine.
I/O VIRTUALIZATION
Virtualizing the I/O path allows physical devices such as network or storage
adapters to be allocated as multiple logical devices; conversely, it also makes
it possible to combine physical devices into larger logical devices. In the Fibre
Channel example above, we can see that virtual Fibre Channel allows us to take
advantage of NPIV, providing multiple virtual FC HBAs to guests in a virtual
machine environment.
Single-root I/O virtualization is another way to share I/O adapters such as
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Ethernet network interface cards (NICs). Not only can these NICs be shared
among several guests in a virtual machine environment, the management of
this sharing can be offloaded into the card, freeing up host CPU cycles. This is
now supported for Ethernet NICs in most hypervisors.
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SOFTWARE-DEFINED NETWORKS
If you’re running a hypervisor, you already have one form of a software-defined
network (SDN). The hypervisors can use the Ethernet NICs to make a virtual
network switch within the adapter, providing network switching functions entirely within a server. For network activity that stays within the guests running
on one physical server, this becomes a form of a software-defined network.
Other forms of SDN that have emerged recently separate the control functions from the hardware itself. These are especially appealing with cloud providers who have to pool resources across multi-tenant environments.
The Open Networking Foundation is leading an industry effort to move
SDN forward. However, SDN is still very new with much yet to be developed.
It looks like an interesting effort and promises to provide several benefits, including improved automation and management of networks, and the opportunity to increase the speed of innovation. n
DENNIS MARTIN has been working in the IT industry since 1980, and is the founder and president of
Demartek, a computer industry analyst organization and testing lab.
CLOUD STORAGE
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HOT SPOTS | JASON BUFFINGTON
We need a backup
dedupe layer
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As backup dedupe matures, it’s still very much a proprietary
technology. We need standardization to eliminate some of today’s
software-hardware headaches.
J
UST ABOUT EVERYONE who works with disk-based backup understands the
need for data deduplication. For many, that includes the use of a deduplication storage appliance as a data backup target. Most backup
software products can use deduplication appliances that present themselves as either a file share (NFS or CIFS) or a tape device (virtual tape
library or VTL). The challenge with those approaches is that the backup software doesn’t know it’s writing to a deduplication target. All the data is sent
from the backup software to the appliance, and then most of the data is discarded when the appliance determines it has it stored.
If simply leveraging a deduplication appliance was “Dedupe 1.0,” then
“Dedupe 2.0” is to optimize the process by making the backup software deduplication-aware. It seems as if almost every deduplication array now offers API
libraries that enable backup software to optimize the backup process, such as:
EMC Data Domain with DD Boost
●● HP StoreOnce Catalyst
●● Quantum DXi with Accent
●●
The list goes on, but the point is that for backup software users to better leverage their deduplication hardware, their software provider has to embrace that
particular hardware vendor’s accelerator APIs. Of course, many of those hardware providers also sell data backup software that leverages those APIs, such
as EMC NetWorker with Data Domain or HP Data Protector with StoreOnce.
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HOT SPOTS | JASON BUFFINGTON
We can classify the alternatives a little differently, on a “good-better-best”
scale:
“Good” deduplication is simply using a deduplication appliance.
●● “Better” deduplication involves a backup server that’s dedupe-aware.
●● “Best” deduplication enables deduplication at the production source server
within the backup agents.
●●
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Unfortunately, there are very few hardware plus software “best” offerings.
For example, EMC Data Domain offers a “best” solution with NetWorker
(meaning its deduplication can occur client-side), whereas other software solutions that leverage Data Domain only offer “better” deduplication from the
backup server. This isn’t a knock on EMC, but on the complexity of adding
those deduplication APIs to the client agents. If a third-party software vendor wanted to deliver a “best” deduplication experience that still appealed to
that software vendor’s broad customer base, they would have to engineer their
agents to use DD Boost, Catalyst, Accent and others, and then absorb some
appreciable development, testing and support requirements.
One backup software vendor, Symantec, has a different approach through
its OpenStorage Technology (OST) mechanisms. Instead of the deduplication
appliance presenting itself as a VTL or file share, or offering its own API accelerator, it can support Symantec’s OST standard that provides interoperability
with Backup Exec and NetBackup. Essentially, instead of the software vendors
writing to the APIs of one or more hardware vendors, the hardware vendors
write to Symantec’s OST specifications. Hardware vendors do this because of
the Symantec products’ time and presence in market, but what if other software vendors each published specifications similar to OST? This creates the
same challenges described above, where each hardware vendor would have to
develop and support multiple software specifications.
So, what’s the answer? In a perfect world, there would be a data deduplication API layer that works across wide ranges of backup software and hardware
vendors. Symantec OST is used by many hardware vendors, but only with Symantec software products. EMC DD Boost has a broad ecosystem of software
partners, but it only works with EMC Data Domain appliances. What would
happen if Symantec or EMC licensed the API libraries for interoperability
across all hardware/software players? Who would support it, and what would
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HOT SPOTS | JASON BUFFINGTON
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happen to the differentiation in the “better together” stacks? At first glance, it
appears to benefit a variety of constituents, including participating vendors,
partners, and IT organizations struggling with the current mixing and matching. But in reality, it’s a chicken-and-egg challenge and nobody is moving.
A standard backup data deduplication layer may seem like a pipe dream, but
it isn’t the first time it’s been suggested. At one time, backup software vendors
each wrote their own backup software agents per application workload. Each
of those software vendors did their own engineering to understand how to get
the data out of the databases and other production applications, as well as how
to restore the data. Meanwhile, storage hardware vendors used to create their
own application agents to enable their own data protection solutions. All those
vendors talked about innovation and differentiation (and they were right), but
it made solution designs and support challenging not just for IT teams, but
for partners and vendors. What if someone had suggested a common layer for
backup software, storage hardware and applications?
Actually, someone did. With Windows as the primary OS, and Exchange and
SQL Server as key applications that would benefit, Microsoft introduced Volume
Shadow Copy Service (VSS) several years ago to enable that common layer from
within the Windows OS. Backup software vendors now include VSS requesters
in their agents, hardware vendors include VSS providers and application vendors can now use VSS writers. Adoption was slow initially, but now almost every Windows application uses VSS—and everyone benefits. A common layer for
backup software and storage hardware to interoperate happened once for application backups. Let’s hope it will happen again for deduplication. n
JASON BUFFINGTON is a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. He focuses primarily on data
protection, as well as Windows Server infrastructure, management and virtualization. He blogs at
CentralizedBackup.com and tweets as @Jbuff.
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READ/WRITE | MIKE MATCHETT
Cloud has a silver lining
for ROBO storage
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Providing and managing storage for remote and branch
offices can be a challenge, but a hybrid approach using local
and cloud-based storage may be the best solution.
S
TORAGE MANAGERS KNOW that providing great data storage services
to remote or branch offices (ROBOs) isn’t simply a matter of
replicating a single, small office solution or extending data center storage to each ROBO with a WAN. But some vendors still
insist that their traditional storage and data protection products can easily extend to cover ROBO needs, perhaps with just a few add-ons, a
third-party product or two, and a bit of custom scripting. What they don’t mention is how quickly costs can climb, how tough management can be, and what
to do with users who aren’t happy about compromising performance, accessibility or protection.
But there is hope. At Taneja Group, we’ve seen a couple of key trends that
bode well for ROBO storage. First, cloud-based and cloud-enabled services are
providing new opportunities to rethink and redesign storage services for distributed and mobile use cases. ROBOs are by definition distributed, and their
users tend to be highly mobile. Second, some vendors are taking advantage of
cloud services to build specific products to address ROBO storage challenges.
ROBO STORAGE ISSUES
ROBOs can range from a single user to a few dozen users, and some may even
have 100 users or more. We estimate that there are more than 10 million
ROBOs worldwide, and that number is growing steadily. Some of the storage
challenges that ROBOs contend with include:
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Scalability. Storage capacity and use tends to grow in most ROBOs over
time, and the data protection process and associated secondary storage must
scale accordingly.
●●
Manageability and reliability. Typically, ROBOs lack storage and data
protection expertise and resources, and remote management of storage provisioning and data protection across a number of ROBO servers and user
devices can be cumbersome and error prone.
●●
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
Collaboration and sharing. ROBO users often need to share files within
and among branches. ROBO users who rely on local branch infrastructure
usually won’t be able to share data and collaborate with local colleagues or
other sites.
●●
Cost. The total cost of a full ROBO storage solution includes hardware and
software, floor space, power and cooling at each site, and setting up and managing the local storage and data protection. Costs creep in for any additional
“local” elements, as well as for growing complexities in centralized management and operations.
●●
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
In addition to these inherent challenges, backup agent overhead, slow WANspeed recovery times and distributed security are sources of concern with traditional ROBO storage approaches. Traditional approaches are local offerings
that include physical storage at the ROBO, or centralized solutions that employ
caching/accelerators to access remote storage at a data center, or in a private
or public cloud.
LOCAL STORAGE FOR ROBOs
The most popular approach has been to deploy a Windows file server or NAS
device for local physical storage with backup to local tape (or disk) drives, and
offsite backup or replication for disaster recovery. Endpoint devices are backed
up locally or remotely to a data center or cloud. This approach provides highly
accessible primary storage, but it relies on local users to manage backups and,
considering cost and manageability, it can’t scale to many ROBO sites.
STORAGE n
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READ/WRITE | MIKE MATCHETT
CENTRALIZED STORAGE
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
The other major approach is to allocate storage centrally out of a data center or cloud, and provide access to it over the WAN via some form of cache
or accelerator. Local application servers and user endpoint devices are backed
up remotely, using agents that are compatible with the caching solution. This
method reduces local storage costs and provides some level of centralized management, but it creates a huge dependency on the WAN, is complex to deploy
and can reduce storage access performance.
CLOUD-ENABLED ROBO STORAGE
We believe the ideal ROBO storage offering should combine the performance
and feel of local storage with the scalability, resilience, manageability and economies of a central data center or cloud. A CTERA Networks Ltd. Cloud Storage
Enablement suite is an example of this approach. CTERA’s offering provides a
local ROBO appliance that functions as both local NAS storage and as a cloud
gateway. ROBO users get LAN-speed storage, but all files are deduped, compressed, encrypted and replicated to a private or public cloud for data protection. Local applications, servers and users can continue to leverage local
backup, while also getting off-site data protection. What marks this as a welldesigned ROBO solution are the cross-ROBO file-sharing and synchronization
features provided by the same components and connections.
There are certainly other ways to leverage cloud services for ROBOs, such
as piecing together best-of-breed offerings perhaps using Huddle for collaboration, Riverbed’s Granite storage for local performance and Mozy for end-user
cloud backup. But purpose-built, cloud-enabled ROBO storage products offer
centralized management over large-scale ROBO deployments. Ultimately, the
costs to deploy and operate prepackaged cloud-enabled storage, or storage appliance “gateways,” across hundreds of ROBOs can be far less than using traditional or piecemeal storage approaches.
If you’re looking for a storage offering that must scale to tens, hundreds or
even thousands of ROBO sites, cloud-enabled storage should be on your shortlist of alternatives. n
MIKE MATCHETT is a senior analyst and consultant at Taneja Group.
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SNAPSHOT
Use of cloud backup services expanding
RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
Cloud backup is one of the oldest cloud storage services around, but it’s only in the past
couple of years that it’s grown up enough to be seriously considered by enterprises. Approximately two-and-a-half years ago, our survey showed that 24% of companies were
using cloud-based backup, but today that number is up to 41%. Those users trust the
cloud, too, as 72% are confident enough to ship their primary data backups to the cloud.
It’s also being used as a BYOD antidote with 40% using cloud-based backup services to
back up laptops, phones and tablets. Most users (70%) rely on a cloud service provider for
software to send their data into the ether. But our respondents don’t put all their backup
eggs in one basket: 35% use multiple cloud backup services, with an overall average of 1.7
services per user. How much do they actually use it? Cloud backup users have an average
of 13 TB of data in the cloud, representing about 37% of their total backup volume. Eightyeight percent say they’re either satisfied or very satisfied with their cloud-based backup
services experiences. —Rich Castagna
13
DOES YOUR COMPANY CURRENTLY USE
A CLOUD BACKUP SERVICE?
PURPOSE-BUILT
STORAGE FOR
VIRTUAL SERVERS
YES
WHAT’S NEW IN
STORAGE NETWORKS
41%
59%
DESPERATELY
SEEKING BACKUP
DEDUPE
STANDARDS
CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
AVERAGE NUMBER
OF TERABYTES OF
BACKUP DATA
STORED WITH A CLOUD
BACKUP SERVICE
NO
WHAT KIND OF DATA DO YOU BACK UP USING THE CLOUD SERVICE?
72%
Primary data
40%
Mobile device data
36%
Archive data
33%
Data for a specific app
30%
Older, secondary data
27%
Remote/branch office data
6%
Other
0
10
20
30
40
50
STORAGE 60
n
70
80
FEBRUARY 2013
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TechTarget Storage Media Group
STORAGE MAGAZINE
SEARCHCLOUDSTORAGE.COM
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RETHINKING DATA
PROTECTION
Ellen O’Brien
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
THE DANGERS OF
3D DATA
TOP PRODUCTS
OF THE YEAR
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CLOUD STORAGE
IDEAL FOR ROBOS
CLOUD BACKUP
GAINING FOLLOWERS
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STORAGE n
FEBRUARY 2013
49
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