Quantum to debut de-dupe options

Posted on August 01, 2007

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By Kevin Komiega

Quantum has announced plans to extend its family of disk-based backup and replication appliances by adding an enterprise-class version of its DXi system with more capacity, performance, and multiple options for policy-based data de-duplication.

The new DXi7500, which Quantum plans to make available next month, will boast a significant capacity jump over its predecessors (up to 240TB) and performance of up to 8TB per hour. And since the DXi7500 runs the same management software as the DXi3500 and DXi5500 backup appliances, it is capable of serving as a repository for centralizing backup and disaster recovery for other Quantum appliances at multiple distributed sites.

Mike Sparkes, product manager of disk systems for Quantum, says the other members of the DXi family work well in the midrange, but some customers are looking for bigger platforms with data- reduction capabilities.

“For the most part, the early adopters of data de-duplication technology have been smaller companies, but we’re seeing the beginning of a second wave of adoption among larger enterprises,” says Sparkes. “Large customers are starting to eliminate tape at [remote and branch office sites] and moving data back over the WAN to large, enterprise-class repositories.”

De-dupe options

With the DXi7500, Quantum may become the first disk-based backup vendor to offer both inline and post-process de-duplication in a single system. The DXi7500 uses a policy-based approach to de-duplication, allowing users to choose when and how they eliminate redundant data.

“We found the performance of inline de-duplication was well-matched with our midrange appliances, but could not keep up with the capabilities and performance of the enterprise systems. Users typically opt for post-process de-dupe with the larger solutions so now we’re providing the ability to choose,” says Sparkes.

However, Heidi Biggar, an analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), says there’s a slight difference between true inline data de-duplication and what Quantum is offering on the DXi7500.

“I wouldn’t say that Quantum does inline de-dupe. They offer two types of post-process de-duplication,” Biggar says. “Users can choose to begin the de-dupe process before the entire backup volume has been written to the DXi Series, or they can wait until the full volume has been written and then begin the process.”

That said, Biggar warns users not to get bogged down in a definition or terminology debate, but rather to ask vendors specific questions such as how the technologies affect backup performance, how they scale, how they affect time to recovery, and what the capacity considerations are. “Both approaches can provide significant benefits, but choosing the optimal solution requires that these questions be asked,” she says.

The DXi7500 isn’t all about de-duplication. Tape is still a top consideration at Quantum. To that end, the DXi7500 offers users the option of integrated tape creation, allowing removable media to be written outside the backup window without using the media server or the data center’s SAN. In the DXi7500, integrated media creation maintains full bar-code tracking with the backup application. Quantum is also working with Symantec to support its Direct to Tape feature in Veritas NetBackup 6.5. The Direct to Tape feature support will allow direct tape creation to be both fully automated and under the direct control of the backup software.

The DXi7500 can be presented to the backup software as a NAS mount point (CIFS/NFS), as a virtual tape library (VTL) with either FC or iSCSI connectivity, or across all presentations simultaneously. The DXi Series is compatible with all major backup applications and does not require users to change their existing backup methodology or infrastructure.

Pricing for the DXi7500 has yet to be finalized, but Sparkes says it will follow the same capacity-based pricing model used for the midrange DXi products. A base configuration of the DXi7500 supports 24TB of raw storage capacity.


Quantum brings de-dupe to SMBs

By Kevin Komiega
Quantum recently began shipping a low-cost, disk-based de-duplication appliance targeted at small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

The GoVault Data Protection Solution is available in stand-alone or server-embedded versions with two removable disk cartridges for on-site and off-site data protection. In addition, GoVault includes backup software for Windows featuring data de-duplication technology that Quantum officials claim can reduce the amount of data stored by as much as 20x, thus reducing the number of cartridges required for backups.

SMBs often lack resources and expertise when it comes to managing storage. That’s why Quantum isn’t going to waste much time explaining the ins and outs of data de-duplication to its potential customers.

“SMBs are concerned about disaster recovery and off-site backup, just like larger enterprises, but today’s solutions are viewed as too resource-intensive and, in many cases, price becomes the main factor in purchasing decisions,” says Tom Hammond, a product manager at Quantum. “We’re marketing GoVault in simple terms: It requires fewer cartridges, it’s less expensive than other offerings, and it requires very little management,” he adds.

Hammond claims that GoVault’s cost per megabyte is lower than some entry-level tape products. The starting price is $400 for an internal server dock, two 40GB cartridges, SATA-II cabling, and data de-duplication software. Cartridges are priced from $100 and are available in 40GB, 80GB, 120GB, and 160GB capacities.

The appliance only stores changes to files, which can shrink the backup window over time. Files can be restored using drag-and-drop capabilities from the Explorer interface.

GoVault also features password protection and encryption to secure cartridges while they are transported off-site for disaster recovery or in the event they are stolen or misplaced.

The system averages transfer rates of 26MBps to 34MBps, and its sealed hard disk cartridges are designed to be removed for off-site data protection. The cartridges can withstand up to a one-meter drop on hard surfaces and provide a 10-year shelf life for archiving.


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