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Sepaton's virtualisation surge

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With its latest software release Sepaton is providing virtual ES2 arrays to departments in private clouds and customers in public clouds. It also has a roadmap to turn its grid-architecture high-end ES2 deduplicating secondary storage array engines into virtual machine appliances.

The ES2 is a secondary storage system based on a grid of engine nodes and connected back-end storage based on Dot Hill and LSI Engenio enclosures and, recently, Hitachi Data Systems AMS arrays. It started out as a virtual tape system, with a content-awareness of the data being backed up, and is now becoming a generalised secondary storage system with thin provisioning, multiple interfaces and abstraction layers.

Version 5.4 of its software adds the notion of storage pools, which are logical ES2 arrays in their own right and to which compute resource and storage policies can be dynamically applied. For example, deduplication can be applied across all storage pools for maximum storage efficiency on a specific per-pool basis if a stringent security policy is applied that requires data in separate pools to be isolated.

A load balancer can be used to apportion ES2 storage engine resource to the pools so that service level agreements can be met. Pools can also have their own policies for replication, backup runs and backup application; if customers need a separate NetBackup pool they can have one. The pools can be delineated by disk type as well, say one for Dot Hill and another for AMS storage, with different tiers of disk storage for different customers, environments and applications. All new ES2 arrays come with AMS storage but the existing storage is fully supported by the new software.

In the future Sepaton intends to deliver WORM (Write Once, Read Many) and encryption capabilities on a per-pool basis.

There has been an increase in the set of backup applications supported and they include NetBackup, with support for OST hopefully expected next month when certification commences, TSM, NetWorker and HP Data Protector. Data can be securely erased with a full audit trail to meet data deletion compliance requirements. Replication can now be paused, resumed and checkpointed.

Sepaton has introduced ContentAware DataAnalytics so that sysadmins can look at details of MySQL backups, Windows files, Oracle files and others. Ingest loads can be compared and resources balanced to meet demand by backup app, content type, time of day, week, month etc. The data can be used as the basis for charge-back or customer billing. Trend charts can be produced to that ES2 admin staff know what's going on in their array and what is liable to happen in the future.

Looking ahead COO Fidelma Russo said Sepaton is adding 64bit deduplication, 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel, and support for Fibre Channel Over Ethernet, NFS access, and iSCSI, using 10GbitE. These should arrive in the second half of this year. In the first half of 2011 we should see the availability of the ES2 software as a packaged virtual machine (VM) appliance. It could be deployed in blade servers, giving customers the ability to dynamically ramp the amount of compute resource up and down by switching VMs on and off.

The company has previously mentioned adding eDiscovery capabilities.

The second half of 2011 should see the capability of having the link to the back-end storage virtualised so that it could be a local array in the data centre or a cloud storage capability allowing for enormous capacity in the cloud, or the fastest performance through having local arrays, with on-demand allocation of capacity resource as well as compute resource.

Sepaton is surging ahead to a future in which data centres are virtualised and deliver services in a private or public cloud environment or both. Its customers are enterprises delivering private clouds, managed service providers with public clouds and a combination of the two. It aims to provide "complete data lifecycle protection management" in the cloud to them, using a fully virtualised secondary storage array resource.

Existing customers get the new 5.4 software as part of their support agreement. ®

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