Compellent introduces 'thin replication'

Posted on October 16, 2006

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By Ann Silverthorn

—The new version of Compellent's Storage Center SAN platform is designed to cut bandwidth and storage management requirements by half, according to company claims. Storage Center 3.5 focuses on remote replication and disaster recovery. The company calls the new set of features "Thin Replication."

Thin Replication is delivered through two software products—Enterprise Manager and Remote Instant Replay. Enterprise Manager is a storage resource management (SRM) application designed to streamline replication. It also provides the ability to manage all local and remote Compellent environments from a single console.

Remote Instant Replay provides continuous (and virtually unlimited) snapshots to deliver asynchronous or synchronous replication. About 90% of Compellent's customers use asynchronous replication, which doesn't require the acknowledgement of transmitted data that synchronous replication does.

Storage Center 3.5 Thin Replication is based on the following features:

  • Bandwidth simulation—With this feature, users can see what kind of performance they can expect and how long it would take to replicate their data. It tells them the amount of bandwidth they need to purchase and saves them from over-purchasing;
  • Multi-site set-up and management—Users can view multiple Storage Centers from one console. Configuration takes just six mouse clicks, and Wizards eliminate specialized end-user training, according to the company;
  • Bandwidth shaping—Users can give priority to mission-critical volumes and can also meter bandwidth available to each replicating volume and ensure fair distribution if multiple replications are running concurrently;
  • Bandwidth optimization—With thin provisioning, the initial synchronization does not require remote-space pre-allocation, and only written blocks are sent. In addition, during replication only changed blocks of data are sent to the remote site rather than entire blocks. Data de-duplication constantly monitors the contents of the blocks. If the block has already been sent, it is not sent again; and
  • Instant validation and recovery—Once a snapshot is replicated, it can be tested. Instant read-and-write means that the data can be accessed without bringing the system down. Also, the disaster-recovery capabilities can be tested while the system is still replicating.

A complete Compellent solution is priced at about $100,000 for two midrange SANs (10TB total) with automated tiered storage, thin replication, snapshots, and thin provisioning. Remote Instant Reply starts at $15,000 per site.

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