Copan overhauls enterprise VTL

Posted on June 18, 2008

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By Kevin Komiega

—Copan Systems has added a series of enhancements to its Revolution 300 Series virtual tape library (VTL) platform that increase storage density, security, performance, and the reliability of the system's de-duplication engine.

From a capacity perspective, Copan has added support for 1TB SATA drives to boost the 300 Series to a total raw capacity of up to 896TB in a single frame, which equates to a virtual capacity of up to 8PB of de-duplicated capacity.

On the performance front, the company introduced a 40-drive VTL cache option, with the ability to support more than 1,000 concurrent data streams. The 40-drive cache, referred to by Copan's CTO Chris Santilli as a "landing zone," has been specifically designed for the de-duplication environment. The 1,000 concurrent streams can be supported on the four-shelf version of the Revolution 300 and, according to Santilli, it's particularly geared toward organizations de-duping on a daily or weekly basis.

Copan also beefed up the availability and reliability of its de-duplication feature with the addition of a "hot-standby" option that essentially provides a spare de-duplication engine. The standby de-dupe engine steps in and replaces a failed unit, maintaining client access to critical data in the event that the primary de-dupe engine fails. Santilli says the hot standby complements Copan's existing VTL Failover option, which eliminates unscheduled outages by re-routing backup traffic through alternate hardware in the system.

There is also a new tape caching feature available for users that need to create physical tapes. Tape caching automates the movement of data from a VTL to physical tapes when required.

Copan's main play for VTL market share is anchored in its MAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks) architecture, which only powers on drives when necessary.

Santilli says the best way to store data long-term is to put as much of your digital assets into a single MAID box as possible. He says Copan's research shows that, at most, 12% of data is accessed per month. The rationale is that drives are not being powered on if the data is not being accessed.

"On average, users are spinning up our disks 1.6 times per day. Our drives are [qualified) at 50,000 spin-ups," says Santilli. "There is no way anyone is going to power these drives up 50,000 times."

Santilli claims the MAID architecture combined with de-duplication yields an 85% reduction in power and cooling costs.

Finally, Copan has added a free shredding function that destroys tape data. The feature uses US DOD standard 5220.22-M to overwrite data and is aimed at companies that are faced with high security needs dictated by federal compliance or corporate governance requirements.

All of the new features for the 300 Series are available now, but Santilli did not disclose pricing. He says the VTL cache option will require the addition of new hardware, and the tape caching feature will be offered as a software license.



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