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News from EMC World: VPlex, DD Boost, FAST 2 and enhancements to Clariion and Celerra

Headlines: EMC's release of VPlex, which joins storage across geographic expanse, attracts attention at EMC World 2010; plus, Data Domain expedites backups via new software, and EMC reveals plans for FAST 2.

Storage channel news roundup for May 6 to 12, 2010

VPlex active-active storage causes buzz at EMC World

EMC Corp.'s release of VPlex, a series of products and an architecture for joining together data storage across geographic expanse, attracted a good deal of attention from customers at EMC World 2010 in Boston on Monday, despite the fact that the private cloud it supports is still theoretical for the most part.

Of four VPlex products, two are available now: VPlex Local and VPlex Metro. Both products are comprised of appliances, called engines, which consist of dual quad-core processors, a 32 GB cache and an 8 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) connection with an InfiniBand internal network. VPlex utilizes technology obtained from YottaYotta about three years ago, though what once was YottaYotta's own operating system in its storage virtualization products has now been ported to Linux.

VPlex Local can hold up to four VPlex engines and 8,000 storage volumes for non-disruptive data migrations between EMC and non-EMC arrays in one data center. VPlex Metro can connect two individual Vplex clusters in a data center or as far as 100 kilometers. VPlex Metro can conjoin some or all of the storage volumes across the two clusters, and any data volume can be configured for concurrent access by applications in two sites

EMC officials said VPlex Geo and VPlex Global will be released early next year.

See this handbook on private cloud software and hardware.

Data Domain offers Boost in data dedupe processing

EMC Corp. Data Domain at EMC World released software that expedites data backups through the offloading of part of the data deduplication processing to the backup server. The software option, known as DD Boost, is currently supported by Symantec Corp.'s NetBackup and Backup Exec backup software, with intended EMC NetWorker support for the second half of the year.

Data Domain officials assert that this software will enhance performance by 50%. Similar to Symantec's OpenStorage API (OST), DD Boost incorporates the target data dedupe device to the backup software, but then goes on to offload processing to the server.

Data Domain said the DD Boost software library is delivered to the backup server and recognizes data segments inline while they arrive.

Read this checklist on questions to ask in a data dedupe project.

EMC presents FAST 2, block-level compression, common management interface for Clariion and Celerra

EMC Corp., at EMC World 2010 this week, gave a preliminary showing of data migration and storage efficiency capabilities, in addition to a common management console for its block-storage Clariion and multiprotocol Celerra midrange disk array platforms.

EMC disclosed that it intends to present the second version of its Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) software with sub-LUN automated tiered storage support and block-level compression for Clariion and Celerra this July; they will additionally feature support for flash as cache. This latest Unisphere management console will be a leap toward merging the systems, although EMC officials deny they will terminate either of the current platforms.

Clariion and Celerra are EMC's first disk arrays with announced support for FAST Version 2, which EMC announced would be deployed for all its disk arrays in this year's latter half. With the additional support for tiering storage at the block level instead of the LUN, the latest version allows for more efficient utilization of expensive flash capacity and pushes EMC to the forefront with the likes of competitors Compellent Technologies Inc. and 3PAR Inc. FAST 2's flash support as a cache extension will create quick response to more bursty performance crunches that could occur in the array.

Read the full story on EMC's preview of data migration and storage efficiency features for Clariion and Celerra.

Hospital uses tiered storage and virtualization to manage electronic medical records

Amidst the spread of electronic medical records throughout the U.S. healthcare system, one hospital has revamped its tiered storage infrastructure to make room for expanding volumes of vulnerable and mission-critical data by employing a group of products from IBM and Symantec Corp.

Jim Touchstone, senior systems engineer for Mississippi Baptist Health Systems, said the project was initiated with backup in 2005 to sustain the hospital's burgeoning data growth. Then, the hospital was utilizing Symantec's Backup Exec, but Touchstone said that "we'd become way too big for that product. We went with NetBackup 6.0 on Symantec's recommendation." Symantec and IBM also teamed up to put forward the appropriate IBM server to sustain the new backup implementation.

Since then, Touchstone said the group effort between Mississippi Baptist Health Systems, IBM and Symantec persisted, shortly stretching to span the whole four-tier data storage environment. The hospital collaborated with its vendors to ultimately create its own integrated data center stack.

Read the full story on how Mississippi Baptist Health Systems is managing its electronic medical records

Trading firm picks HDS, InMage for disaster recovery replication

Even companies not vulnerable to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks or catastrophic disasters need a good disaster recovery plan. For Interbank FX, a Salt Lake City-based currency exchange firm, any mission-critical trade server failure could result in the loss of thousands of dollars per minute.

Paxton Powers, infrastructure manager of Interbank FX IT, says his company's trading volume is above $40 billion per month, produces approximately $4 billion every business day. "An outage to our trading server would cost $100,000 an hour," he said.

Read the full story on Interbank FX's choice of HDS, InMage for disaster recovery.

Data dedupe technology can limit virtual server sprawl

Both virtual servers and data deduplication technology have kept the data storage industry astir in the last couple of years. But the collaboration between virtualization and data dedupe is a concept vendors and users are even now fine-tuning.

"We saw the tipping point last year when the number of virtual servers exceeded the number of physical servers," said Steve Scully, research manager, continuity, disaster recovery and storage orchestration at IDC. "The biggest challenge is around backup of those virtual machines."

"Virtualization has caused server sprawl," said CA's VP of technology strategy, Eric Pitcher. "People say virtual machines get thrown away, but the reality is it doesn't happen. Typically you just keep creating them." Data dedupe is a means of combatting virtual server proliferation, he said.

With a conventional, non-virtualized backup system, Scully said that a company purchases a license for each server, operates the backup app on each server, backs up every file and sends to disk or tape. But regarding virtual servers, Scully said that "if you do that times 50 or 100, you're paying a lot for those licenses and not getting the potential advantage of dedupe technologies. "It's identical processes running without any knowledge of what the other guy is running." Virtual machines are frequently backed up as complete images instead of individual file sets.

Read this blog post on how data deduping goes beyond backup for VARs.

TwinStrata  provides multiprotocol storage access, cloud-based snapshots for public cloud

TwinStrata Inc. became the latest startup to join the cloud storage software market when it recently deployed its CloudArray product. CloudArray is a virtual appliance offering multiprotocol storage access, local caching, web-based application access, cloud-based snapshots and data migration for public cloud data storage repositories.

TwinStrata enters the market soon after similar startups Nasuni Corp. and StorSimple Inc. moved into the same general area — offering local storage caches and management applications to front cloud data storage repositories. Like those companies, TwinStrata intends to offer what it refers to as intelligent caching, where the most active data stays local while static data stays in the cloud and data is drawn back and forth between the two repositories automatically, as per either policy or access frequency.

Read about the steps to building a cloud storage services business.

ParaScale updates cloud data storage software with keyless encryption and multi-tenant FTP

ParaScale Inc. recently strengthened the security in its ParaScale Cloud Storage (PCS) software, keyless encryption, multi-tenant FTP access and data integrity checking.

Even with cloud infrastructure storage vendors this quarter adding security features for cloud data storage, analysts predict there remains room to widen the draw of the new medium to the most rigid enterprises.

ParaScale Cloud Storage 2.5 offers clustered file storage for on-premise or hosted clouds. The software can be installed on any end user's or service provider's Linux hardware and enables the running of applications on the clustered storage servers and the booting of virtual machines (VMs).

ParaScale's keyless encryption allows for a user's authentication into the back-end system to quickly generate an encryption key to write to the user's allocated virtual file system (VFS). Another process will likewise enable users to securely access reading data.

ParaScale's vice president of marketing and business development, Jack Norris, said the keyless encryption system allows service providers to provide secure multi-tenancy to users.

See the full story on ParaScale's updates to its cloud data storage software.

Quantum rolls out two latest data dedupe appliances for SMBs, remote offices

Quantum Corp. this week launched two new data deduplication appliances for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and remote offices.

The DXi4510 and DXi4520 belong to Quantum's latest DXi4500 series of 2U disk backup appliances with network-attached storage (NAS) interfaces. The 4510 contains 2 TB of usable disk and is priced at $12,500, and the 4520 holds 4 TB of usable capacity at $22,500. Powered by Nehalem quadcore CPUs, the hardware  has four Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Quantum disk systems product manager Mike Sparkes  says that either appliance can be used by SMBs or ROBOs, depending on capacity requirements.

Read about data deduplication software trends.

Caringo CAStor updates with 'Darkive' spin-down, becomes Dell OEM partner

Caringo Inc. recently added a power-saving disk spin-down feature called Darkive to its CAStor object storage software. Caringo also revealed that it has become an OEM partner for Dell Inc.'s latest object storage platform.

In addition to Darkive, CAStor 4's upgrades consist of the enhanced scalability of its Content Router which transfers data for disaster recovery (DR), the capability to add content to an object to generate audit trails, immutable override that allows administrators to supersede retention and deletion policies, and improved reporting features for its Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) that monitors CPUs, disk drives and other devices.

In addition, Caringo launched a software developer's kit (SDK) to facilitate the writing of applications for CAStor ISVs.

Mark Goros, Caringo CEO, said that the goal was to automate processes as much as possible. "Storage is too boring for humans.We're always trying to get humans out of the equation," he said.

Goros said Dell contributed to the development of the power and cluster management and immutable override capabilities, and said Dell is Caringo's "preferred OEM partner" for these features.

See the full story on Caringo's addition of disk spin-down to its CAStor object storage software.

Additional storage news

Check out last week's storage channel news roundup.

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