NAS: ONStor launches data-mirroring software

Posted on October 20, 2006

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By Ann Silverthorn

—Today, ONStor introduced Data Mirror, a new software solution that allows users to replicate both data and configurations from primary ONStor NAS filers to secondary ONStor filers located across a campus or around the world. Data Mirror is designed to reduce restore times, conserve bandwidth, and accommodate unlimited capacity.

ONStor's new software mirrors all user data and configuration information to a secondary site through either IP or Fibre Channel links. By automatically mirroring virtual servers, authentications, and network configurations, Data Mirror avoids recovery delays due to manual errors and the need for storage administrators to re-map drives.

"If configurations aren't identical at the primary site and the target site, users and applications may not have immediate access to the backed up data," says John Toor, vice president of marketing at ONStor. "We use virtual servers at the primary site to accelerate the recovery process."

Toor says that when Data Mirror users view data at the primary site, they see it through a virtual server, which looks like a NAS device with its own name, IP address, and authentications. Many of these virtual servers can exist in a single node or cluster. Data Mirror then replicates the virtual servers to the target site. If a virtual server changes or a new one is created, then the configurations automatically replicate.

ONStor's new mirroring is block-based and incremental. If the user changes only a small part of a file, then only the block within it, rather than the whole file, transfers. Initially, the entire primary device is mirrored and incremental changes follow.

With Data Mirror, storage administrators can change the configurations of clusters, and they can also delegate lower-level duties to junior administrators. Storage administrators can offload device responsibilities that do not require their day-to-day expertise, but still can maintain control over all the devices so that they are properly protected. Delegating control solves the problem of consolidating servers from multiple work groups and frees the senior administrator from having to manage all the users and groups on every server.

Another advantage, according to Toor, is scalability in performance and capacity. ONStor allows customers to decide how much throughput they want to go along with a given capacity.

"With conventional NAS, filer throughput and its costs are tied to a given capacity," says Toor. "We let customers choose the amount of filer bandwidth they need. If transactional environments need more bandwidth, then they can add more without having to retire existing resources. Or, in archiving environments, they can scale capacity without scaling performance."

Data Mirror is priced at $10,000 per node. The software works with any ONStor Bobcat or Pantera product, and mirroring does not require matching models at the primary and secondary sites.


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