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Sepaton adds support for Symantec's OST

Will move toward NAS interfaces

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Sepaton is today adding support for Symantec's OST interface to its S2100-ES2 virtual tape library and DeltaStor deduplication software. It also has a strategy for extending its products to include CIFS and NFS support, and plans to move into the archive and potentially the search space.

OST or Open Storage Technology is an API for NetBackup and BackupExec to interface to storage hardware devices. Virtual Tape Library (VTL) and deduplication product vendors can devise plug-ins to enable, for example, their product to interact with the NetBackup media server. NetBackup sees the VTL or dedupe array as disk, not tape, and can tell it to create a backup image, delete it or deduplicate it.

Fidelma Russo, Sepaton's EVP for engineering and development, said: “By integrating with OST, customers ... benefit ... from OST’s enriched features such as improved replication features, improved utilisation and management of NetBackup Media Servers, and more efficient duplication of backup images for long-term archiving."

We brought up the subject of yesterday's Data Domain Global Deduplication Array announcement. Russo thought it validated the whole global deduplication idea and should help with Sepaton's multi-node grid architecture and its global deduplication.

The GDA is limited to two loosely-coupled nodes, and Russo said: "They have moved a lot of the deduplication processing into the media server. We think it's an interesting approach [but] NDMP and RMON aren't supported in this manner. The media server is the aggregation point for the customer.

"Having multiple nodes is not easy. Frank Slootman [Data Domain's head] has been signalling this for a couple of years. The design point for two [nodes] is a lot different from the design point for many. Software in the media server figures out which [GDA] node to use. The cluster is very loosely-coupled and if a node [controller] goes down you lose the backup data behind it."

We asked about Sepaton's future product development and Russo said: "Over the next year you'll see us taking more advantage of Moore's Law. You'll see us adding fatter nodes."

The company is set on expanding its role in the secondary storage world out from VTL with more access routes into the data stored on its hardware. Today's OST support is one example of that. We can expect network-attached storage (NAS) functionality, with CIFS and NFS support coming, possibly within twelve months. Russo said: "That will allow us to reach into more applications storing data such as archive and then, potentially, search."

The company is looking very carefully at what market segments to move into and may well partner in some of them. It stores a lot of metadata about the data in its repository and is looking to expose that to customers where there is value in it. For example, a customers' backup policies can be analysed to find which ones have good deduplication ratios so the policies can be optimised.

Sepaton is privately-owned, and has been trading for about seven years. Trading in 2009 was very good despite the economic climate, with HP having a very successful year with its OEM'd version of the products. The indications thus far are that customers are beginning to resume spending in 2010. Sepaton intends to have an IPO when conditions are right.

Sepaton's OST support should be available in the second half of this year. Its pricing has not yet been decided. ®

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