GreenBytes launches multifunction deduplication appliances

Posted on September 17, 2009

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By Kevin Komiega

-- Startup GreenBytes has thrown its hat into the data deduplication ring with a pair of storage appliances, but there's a twist. The company's GB-X Series of deduplication systems combine native inline deduplication with an enterprise-scale file system – the GreenBytes File System (GBFS), which is based on Sun's open-source software – to extend deduplication to primary storage.

The GB-X deduplication appliances are designed to function in a number of different roles in the data center, according to Bob Petrocelli, GreenBytes' CEO and CTO. Petrocelli says the appliances have been field-tested in a variety of use case scenarios, including as a target for data protection operations, as a storage repository for virtual machines (VMs) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments, and as a workgroup device that stores user home folders.

Petrocelli likens the appliances to competing deduplication systems from Data Domain. In fact, that's exactly the market GreenBytes is going after.

"We're selling the appliances entirely through the channel and aiming at the SMB and midrange markets. Our ingest rates and deduplication capabilities are comparable to or better than those of Data Domain for about a third of the cost," Petrocelli claims.

GreenBytes has embedded its deduplication technology in its file system to make it possible to deduplicate file blocks as they are stored in real-time. Petrocelli claims the inline dedupe and compression algorithms can produce a 30% reduction in files, a reduction of data backup streams of up to 20X, and a 50X reduction in virtual desktop/VDI environments.

GreenBytes' GB-2000 with optional 10GbE connectivity touts an ingest rate of 650MBps, and the GB-4000 with standard 10GbE has an ingest rate of 950MBps.

GreenBytes has its sights set on VARs that are – or were – in business with Data Domain.

"There are two areas where VARs are feeling the heat – smart provisioning for VMs and a demand for high-performance, reasonably priced deduplication appliances," says Petrocelli. "We're looking at VARs that have sold Data Domain appliances in the past and have been displaced by the EMC acquisition, or those that want a Data Domain-like box."

The GB-X management interface is based on the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). GreenBytes developed customer MMC plug-ins to make things easier on general IT staffers with Windows management experience.

The appliances support unlimited snapshots with integrated Microsoft shadow copy support, replication, and cross-platform (CIFS/NFS) file-sharing tasks, all of which are administered through the MMC.

GreenBytes' appliances are usable in Windows and UNIX file system environments. Windows Active Directory can be used to auto-provision storage using a built-in CIFS server, eliminating the need for middleware. The appliances also support iSCSI volumes, with the associated storage being provisioned from within a single, centrally managed pool.

The GB-X Series also includes power management capabilities that put drives into lower power states to reduce energy consumption. On the high end, a 216TB GB-4000 appliance has a power consumption rate of just 7 watts/TB. The GB-2000 appliance draws less than 150 watts.

The GB-2000 appliance scales from an entry-level configuration of 12TB up to 60TB, while the GB-4000 scales from 24TB to 216TB.

The approximate price for an entry-level GB-2000 model with 12TB of raw capacity is $65,000.

GreenBytes is currently embroiled in a legal spat with Sun Microsystems over the use of deduplication with the open-source ZettaByte File System (ZFS), upon which GreenBytes' file system is based.

The company claims Sun improperly used GreenBytes' deduplication technology by implementing it within its own storage stack. Petrocelli is optimistic that the legal tussling will soon be over.

"We're fairly confident that the [situation] is going to result in a good outcome for both parties," he says. "It may affect how Sun does deduplication or it may just go away altogether, but it won't impair us either way."

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