EMC builds up disk backup

De- duplication, spin down, low-power drives and simpler software

EMC

EMC has, as expected launched its Quantum software-based, de-duplicating, disk backup products. But it has also announced spin-down and low-power drives, simpler Networker backup software, and updated Avamar source-based deduplication products.

Deduplication technology detects repeated patterns in bytes or blocks of files and replaces them by pointers thus saving space and cutting the cost of storing backup and similar data on drive arrays.

The Disk Library 3D 1500 and 3000 products are de-duplicating disk-to-disk backup systems using software OEMed from Quantum. It is policy-based de-duplication which can be done inline at data ingest time or switched to post-process de-duplication to speed backup data ingestion. These are intended for mid-size businesses and LAN connection to servers, and are not virtual tape libraries. They use 1TB SATA drives with RAID 6 protection that protects against double drive failure.

There are optional Fibre Channel ports for storage area network (SAN) access. The DL3D 1500 has a 36TB capacity whilst its bigger brother DL3D 3000 has 148TB.

The Disk Library 4000 now has a 3D Option using the same Quantum de-duplication software. It is a virtual tape library for SAN storage environments. A second and no-cost option is the use of spin-down drives which go into sleep mode when idle and thus save power. A third option is to use 1TB SATA drives spinning at 5,400rpm instead of the regular 7,200rpm. This also saves power - the combination of spin-down and low-power drives saves up to 47 per cent of the energy costs of regular 7,200 SATA drives, EMC says.

These options are backwards-compatible with current DL 4000 products.

EMC has announced the second generation of its Avamar Data Store which also de-duplicates data but does so in the source data area, and not on the target D2D backup array. The company has also launched v4.0 of the Avamar software.

EMC positions Avamar versus its Disk Library de-duplication products by targeting the Avamar products at VMware, large file servers, remote offices and other environments where the backup process is hampered by network or other resource bottlenecks.

Avamar Data Store Gen 2 is Avamar v4.0 running on a new pre-configured, EMC-certified hardware platform, available in several models, ranging from single node to scalable, multi-node. It provides twice the capacity per server node of the previous generation - it can store the equivalent of 1 petabyte of non-de-duplicated, traditional backup capacity. EMC says this reduces overall cost of ownership by up to 25 per cent, compared to the first generation product.

The new Avamar software supports 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and offers expanded client support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005; Vista; Native Netware client backup and restore (Netware V6.5); and Novell Storage Servers (NSS) volumes on Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) SLES 10.

A new version of Networker, called Networker Fast Start, has a radically simplified installation with up to 80 per cent fewer steps needed to install it. This product is for medium-sized businesses and offers NetWorker server (Linux or Windows), 20 clients, support for five applications modules for hot backups (choice of Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange, and Oracle), 10 TB backup-to-disk or backup to EMC Disk Library, 40 slot Autochanger, and 40 hours of video instructor-led training.

Mark Sorenson, EMC’s information management software group SVP, said: “By adding key features like data de-duplication across our portfolio, customers can eliminate redundant data, move more easily to disk backup, and strengthen the management of their backup infrastructures. This differentiates EMC from other vendors who must ‘force-fit’ a single product across a range of de-duplication use cases."

The stated positioning difference between the Avamar and DL 3D de-duplication products may be thought artificial as in both cases data moves from a server's drives to a separate box, a target logically, and is de-duplicated. The actual choice between Avamar or DL 3D products will depend upon much more detailed information not presented here.

Availability: - EMC Disk Library 3D 1500 and 3000 will be generally available May 28, 2008 from EMC and its authorized partners. - EMC Disk Library 3D 4000 option will be generally available in July from EMC and its authorized partners. - EMC Disk Library 4000 with spin down and low power drives will be generally available May 28, 2008 from EMC and its authorized partners. - EMC Avamar V4.0 is immediately available from EMC and its authorized partners. - EMC Avamar Data Store Gen 2 will be generally available on May 23, 2008 from EMC and its authorized partners. - EMC NetWorker Fast Start is immediately available from EMC and its authorized partners.

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