EMC Data Domain takes another significant leap forward

Data Domain has been a hugely successful product for EMC and as we enter the cloud and software-defined storage era they have once again enhanced the technology with a couple of great new features: Cloud Tier Data Domain can now support both an active tier and a cloud tier – using a Data Movement Policy. Data that is of a specific age will be automatically moved out of the active tier into your public or private cloud object storage platform of choice, fully de-duplicated, for long term retention. Data can be encrypted (using DD Encryption) and locked (using DD Retention Lock) before tiering it to the cloud, and a separate DD Cloud Tier licence is required. The capacity of the cloud tier can Continue reading

EVO:RAIL is dead long live VxRail

On paper EVO:RAIL was a great idea – VMware provides the Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI) software (vSphere and Virtual SAN) and the major server and storage vendors provide the hardware, but one of the biggest problems was that it was 100% designed by VMware therefore how could the likes of EMC, NetApp, Dell, HP, HDS, etc. innovate? The answer of course was they couldn’t and the product was therefore not a great success  – something therefore had to change. The good news is that EVO:RAIL has become VxRail and it will be sold exclusively by VCE (a VMware and EMC company). Also with EVO:RAIL there was a very limited choice of hardware, you had to start with four nodes, scale in four node increments and use vSphere Continue reading

NetApp AltaVault enables you to kiss goodbye to tape and legacy PBBAs

Purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) were specifically designed to eliminate tape and I remember going to EMC World, around the time of the Data Domain acquisition, where there were t-shirts and banners all over the place saying “Tape Sucks”. I then went to the Data Domain session where there were customers talking about their experiences with Data Domain, but guess what? They all used tape for long-term retention – how ironic. So why were they all still using tape? Simple answer – cost. PPBAs are great at what they do, especially Data Domain, but they do have architectural weaknesses, that can drive up costs and therefore in most cases still require the use of tape: Scalability – you cannot easily start small and scale to what Continue reading

Is there another storage platform as feature rich as NetApp FAS?

I think it is fair to say that NetApp FAS running Clustered Data ONTAP is a very feature rich platform – the move to the clustered version of ONTAP has brought many next-generation features including Scale-out and Non-disruptive Operations. As a benchmark let’s compare FAS to EMC’s solutions – I fully appreciate that EMC has taken a best of breed approach, but my feeling is that for most non-enterprise customers this is not a sustainable strategy – customers want simplicity and ease of use, and you are not going to get that by deploying four different storage platforms to meet your needs. I have chosen EMC because they are the overall market share leader and they have the broadest set Continue reading

Some thoughts on NetApp’s acquisition of Riverbed SteelStore

Here at SNS we are big fans of Riverbed SteelStore (see Riverbed Whitewater Cloud Storage Gateway is now SteelStore for more of our thoughts), but it has always seemed that it is a product that Riverbed are not particularly focused on. The great news is that yesterday NetApp announced that they have acquired the SteelStore product line. Back in 2009 NetApp announced that they had acquired Data Domain for $1.5 billion, only to be gazumped by EMC a few weeks later with an improved offer of $2.1 billion. Since then Data Domain has gone onto dominate the De-duplication Backup Target Appliance market for good reason, as it is an excellent product with proven scalability, reliability and application integration (see EMC Data Domain backup and Continue reading

What were the major announcements at EMC World 2014?

Now that the dust has settled on EMC World 2014 we have put together a quick summary of the major announcements: VNX – Hybrid Unified Array D@RE (Data-At-Rest-Encryption) will enable a fully integrated and simple to deploy option to encrypt all the data within the array. Interestingly all VNX2s have shipped with the encryption hardware included, it will just require a software update and license to enable the feature. Support for 800 GB eMLC drives should make it more affordable to create a large all-flash tier and take advantage of the MCx flash-optimisation technology. It was announced that later this year vVNX (aka Project Liberty) will be released which will make it possible to spin-up a fully featured VNX either in your “Private Continue reading

EMC Storage Solutions Overview – Q4 2013 update

This is our regular update providing a summary of EMC’s storage solutions that SNS focus on. The following core products are covered – VNX, RecoverPoint, VPLEX Metro, XtremIO, XtremSF and XtremCache, and Data Domain. VNX – Unified Storage The VNX builds on the popular CLARiiON and Celerra platforms, and provides dual controller block (FC, FCoE and iSCSI) and NAS (CIFS, NFS and pNFS) scale-up storage. The recently updated platform (“VNX2″) focuses on Flash drive performance scaling, tier 1 capabilities such as Active-Active LUN access, and capacity optimisation using de-duplication and tiering. Key strengths: Multi-core optimisation designed for Flash, 4th generation Flash Cache and tiering technology, de-duplication, and state-of-the-art VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V support across all protocols and replication technologies RecoverPoint – Continue reading

What does EMC’s storage portfolio have to offer small to medium sized organisations?

EMC has traditionally been known for providing solutions to enterprise-class organisations with technologies such as Symmetrix VMAX (scale-out block) and more recently Isilon (scale-out NAS). They also have a great technology stack for small to medium sized organisations built around the VNX mid-range storage platform, so we thought it would be useful to put together a quick summary of the key products: VNX – Unified Storage The VNX builds on the popular CLARiiON and Celerra platforms, and provides dual controller block (FC, FCoE and iSCSI) and NAS (CIFS, NFS and pNFS) scale-up storage. The recently updated platform (“VNX2″) focuses on Flash drive performance scaling, tier 1 capabilities such as Active-Active LUN access, and capacity optimisation using de-duplication and tiering. For smaller organisations Continue reading

EMC Data Domain backup and archive storage – now compelling for organisations of all sizes

This year has seen the release of new models (DD2500, DD4200, DD4500 and DD7200) and a focus on using Data Domain for both backup and archive storage – including tight integration and optimisation for leading products such as Symantec Enterprise Vault. These new models significantly increase scalability and performance, and are available at a lower cost per GB: Historically mid-sized organisations with 10 TB or more were not optimally served from a cost and scalability point of view by Data Domain – the new DD2500 changes this as it provides four times the performance and scalability, at a cost that is 38% less than the model it replaces (DD640). Today most backup, archive and primary storage solutions have basic de-duplication Continue reading

Event: EMC World Technical Briefing at Pinewood Studios and London

Now that EMC World is over we have put together a couple of technical briefing sessions to bring the best of the event to the UK. The focus of the event is Storage, Disaster Recovery, Backup and Virtualisation for 2013 and beyond. This event will provide detailed coverage of EMC’s “VNX2″, VPLEX, VMAX, Xtrem and Data Domain products along with all the latest developments in VMware’s Server Virtualisation and End User Computing technologies. Agenda 09:30 – Registration 09:45 – Welcome and introductions 10:00 – Storage update 11:00 – Break 11:15 – Disaster Recovery update 11:45 – Backup and Recovery update 12:00 – Break 12:15 – Server Virtualisation update 13:00 – End User Computing update 13:30 – Lunch and Close Dates 13th Continue reading