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EMC's Slootman: No dedupe for Disk Library VTL; Storage clouds gather over SNW

Headlines: EMC's backup division president Frank Slootman says Data Domain will be the vendor's lone disk target deduplication platform, with Disk Library serving strictly as a VTL; Hitachi Data Systems makes a play for the cloud; SNIA tackles cloud standards; and customers talk about adopting cloud services at Storage Networking World.

EMC's Slootman: No data deduplication for Disk Library virtual tape library

PHOENIX -- After buying Data Domain for $2.1 billion, EMC Corp. made former Data Domain CEO Frank Slootman president of its data backup and recovery division.

We caught up to Slootman at Storage Networking World for his first extensive interview since the acquisition closed, and discussed how EMC will position its two data deduplication backup platforms, why Data Domain's dedupe won't be sold with Disk Library or other traditional EMC hardware, and why the Quantum Corp. deduplication OEM deal is history.

SearchDataBackup: What products are in your division?

Slootman: Avamar, NetWorker, Disk Library and Data Domain. The group has about $1.25 billion in sales annually.

SearchDataBackup: EMC has sold Quantum's data deduplication software with Disk Library. Will you sell Data Domain software with Disk Library instead?

Slootman: No. Disk Library is a straight VTL [virtual tape library] , like it always should have been. It's a brute-force system, no finesse. That's the way it was when it first came out, then they tried to turn it into something it is not by adding deduplication and replication. They bastardized the product, so much so people don't even know what a VTL is anymore. People think VTL is a generic term for backup to disk. People think Data Domain is a VTL, but 90% of the systems we sell are IP-connected, not with a Fibre Channel protocol.

Learn about performance issues to consider when recommending an enterprise virtual tape library.

Storage clouds gather over Storage Networking World

PHOENIX -- Cloud storage is a popular topic at Storage Networking World (SNW) Fall 2009, with Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) today launching the Hitachi Content Platform cloud platform and the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) revealing its Cloud Storage Initiative plans to develop standards for cloud services.

HDS rolled out the Hitachi Content Platform -- an upgrade to the product formerly known as the Hitachi Content Archive Platform (HCAP) -- as its cloud delivery mechanism.

The content platform now supports logical partitions to segregate data and administration for multitenancy, access rights to prevent unauthorized access, and encryption. It also includes a REST interface to connect to the cloud, namespaces, chargeback, and supports compression and single instancing. Miki Sandorfi, chief strategist of file and content services at Hitachi Data Systems, said one cluster can support an enterprise and cloud simultaneously. The new version of the content platform is expected to be available by the end of the year.

Find out how to get a foothold in the cloud storage market using a hybrid system approach.

Online data deduplication calculators don't always add up to accurate dedupe ratios

If you've considered data deduplication products, you may be familiar with the online calculators that purport to show dedupe ratios on the web sites of EMC Corp.'s Data Domain, CommVault Systems Inc., NetApp Inc. and others. Analysts say that while these calculators are more than mere marketing gimmicks, they're useful only to a point and fail to show which vendor's deduplication will give you the most bang for the buck.

The problem with the calculators, analysts say, is that they're too simplistic to take into account all variables involved with assessing data reduction ratios from a deduplication system.

"Any kind of calculator is going to attempt to take an abstraction," said Dave Russell, vice president for Gartner Research, with a specialty in storage and servers. "It's going to take a limited set of information, make some assumptions and then come up with a result, probably a result that's favorable to the technology that's being positioned. I'm not trying to suggest that deduplication doesn't offer a lot of benefits, but … it's not a simple model."

Check out our data deduplication cheat sheet.

Iron Mountain Digital opens cloud storage APIs for data archiving

Iron Mountain Digital, a subsidiary of Iron Mountain Inc., this week said it will open application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers inside corporations as well as for independent software vendors (ISVs) to integrate applications with its cloud storage for data archiving.

The APIs, which contain proprietary instructions as well as instructions based on the Representational State Transfer (REST) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) standards, are similar to the APIs made available by other cloud storage service providers such as Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) and EMC Corp.'s Atmos OnLine. Storage accessed through such APIs is often referred to as object-based storage, since it organizes data objects rather than using a hierarchical file system structure to store blocks of data on disk. Proponents of object-based storage argue that it's more scalable and can allow for richer metadata than traditional file systems.

Learn how to become a cloud storage services provider.

IBM adds STEC SSDs to its SAN Volume Controller (SVC) storage virtualization device

IBM this week added solid-state drive (SSD) support to its SAN Volume Controller (SVC) storage virtualization device as part of a series of updates designed to boost the performance of the product.

SVC 5 will support up to 32 SSDs, according to Chris Saul, storage virtualization marketing manager at IBM. A fully configured 32 solid-state drive SVC can perform at up to 800,000 read IOPS, Saul said. SVC stores the tables it needs to virtualize multiple back-end storage arrays in cache, so the SSDs would boost the response times on data held within SVC.

IBM first previewed SVC with SSDs as part of Project Quicksilver in 2007. That test bed, consisting of SVC attached to a separate appliance containing Fusion-io NAND Flash devices, was clocked at 1 million IOPS.

Learn about the differences between flash-based solid-state disk and DRAM-based SSD.

ExaGrid doubles capacity with EX10000E data deduplication appliances, challenges EMC/Data Domain

ExaGrid Systems Inc. this week launched a new data deduplication backup system that can hold 100 TB of data, twice as much capacity as its previous largest system.

The new EX10000E nodes will store up to 10 TB of physical storage per 4U device, up from 5 TB of physical capacity for the 3U EX5000. ExaGrid also updated its EX Series software to support up to 10 nodes per grid, up from six in previous versions. A 10-node cluster would support 100 TB in a cluster.

ExaGrid customers need extra capacity because it does its deduplication post-process, but vice president of product management Marc Crespi said customers can also set the dedupe processing window according to how they make secondary backups. For example, a customer who wants to replicate data or write it out to tape to send offsite can set the ExaGrid system to wait until those secondary backups are made before it starts deduping.

Data deduplication can also be set to run concurrent with the initial backup to the ExaGrid appliance, as soon as 400 GB into the initial backup process (this is similar to how Quantum Corp.'s DX Series can be configured).

Read about effective remote backup with data deduplication.

3PAR fattens its thin provisioning arsenal

PHOENIX -- Thin provisioning pioneer 3PAR Inc. this week moved to extend the technology, rolling out 3PAR Thin Conversion, 3PAR Thin Persistence and 3PAR Thin Copy Reclamation at Storage Networking World Fall 2009.

3PAR has used thin provisioning in its storage arrays for seven years, but larger storage vendors such as EMC Corp., Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and NetApp have since added thin technology. Now 3PAR is try to staying a step ahead by solving some problems of thin provisioning with these three new applications that are designed to take advantage of 3PAR'S Gen3 ASIC and a Thin API developed with Symantec Corp. last year.

The goal of thin provisioning is to optimize capacity utilization by allocating disk storage only as it's needed. 3PAR's new applications are designed to make fat volumes thin and keep thin volumes thin over time.

Read the full story on 3PAR's new thin products.

i365 launches EVault Offsite Replication cloud data backup and disaster recovery service

i365 Inc. last week launched EVault Offsite Replication Service for cloud-based disaster recovery (DR), and released customer service APIs for developers to integrate other data backup solutions.

i365, a subsidiary of Seagate Technology LLC, is offering the replication service as a disk-to-disk-to-cloud add-on service to the company's EVault backup software or as a disk-to-cloud offsite disaster recovery service.

"We think the timing is right," said George Hoenig, i365's vice president of products operations. "The cloud idea is baked enough for customers to give it a shot."

Read the rest of this story on i365's EVault Offsite Replication service.

Storspeed comes out of stealth with SP5000 NAS caching and monitoring appliance 

Storspeed Inc. came out of stealth last week with its SP5000 network-attached storage (NAS) caching appliance designed to speed storage systems and report on their performance at a granular level without disrupting applications.

The SP5000 caching appliance is a 2U device containing 80 GB of DRAM and four drive slots for solid-state disks (SSDs). "We didn't want to go the Fusion-io or Gear6 route of using Flash on a card because we want to take advantage of the latest SSD technologies as they come out," said Mark Cree, Storspeed's CEO/president and founder.

Each SP5000 contains a 10 Gigabit Ethernet (1o GbE) switch and can be clustered up to six nodes with the first release. Inside is a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) that gives the box the horsepower to do deep packet inspection on each packet of data sent over the local-area network (LAN) to any NFS or CIFS-connected NAS device, enabling users to set caching policies for particular application workloads, file types and individual virtual machines.

Read the rest of this story on Storspeed's caching and monitoring appliance.

Iomega launches ix2-200 NAS desktop backup appliance with replication and iSCSI support

Iomega Corp., a subsidiary of EMC Corp., last week released an upgrade to its StorCenter ix2 network-attached storage (NAS) appliance, adding iSCSI support, Mac backup, device-to-device replication, and replaceable hard drives to the ix2 system first introduced last October.

The StorCenter ix-200 runs on CIFS and offers iSCSI support for block-level data backup and storage. Users can set-up both CIFS and iSCSI LUNs and volumes in the management interface.

Iomega aims ix2-200 at enterprise remote and branch offices, SMBs and home offices

Iomega introduced support for Apple's Time Machine backup to keep pace with the increased use of Macs by SMBs and home offices. Iomega's global product manager for network storage products Bill Hansen said the ix-200 "can work automatically as a time machine target."

Read the rest of the story on Iomega's StorCenter ix-200.

Additional storage news

Check out last week's storage channel news roundup here.

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