EMC supersizes VTLs, extends de-dupe

By Kevin Komiega

EMC recently rolled out a pair of large, Symmetrix-based virtual tape systems and several new software upgrades for data de-duplication, backup, and archiving.

The EMC Disk Library 6000 series scales up to 1.8PB of compressed capacity and can back up more than 11TB per hour, according to company claims. The 6000 series currently offers hardware compression, but users seeking data de-duplication capabilities will have to wait until early 2008, which is when EMC says data de-dupe will be made available across its entire family of disk libraries.

EMC boosted the scalability and performance of its new libraries by basing the DL6000 series on the Symmetrix DMX-3 platform, versus the midrange Clariion, which serves as back-end storage for the company’s other virtual tape library (VTL) systems.

The DL6100 supports up to 1,440 disk drives per system and offers RAID-5 protection with a maximum uncompressed capacity of 615TB, or up to 1.845PB of compressed capacity. The DL6300 supports up to 2,400 drives and offers RAID-1 protection with a maximum uncompressed capacity of 584TB, or 1.752PB compressed.

“The DL6000 series is clearly targeted at our largest customers who have gigantic data centers and gigantic backup-and-restore problems,” says Jay Krone, director of storage product marketing at EMC. “There are also a lot of Symmetrix customers who want to continue to use the array that they’re familiar with.”

EMC’s Disk Library family touts consolidated media management that gives users control of their entire tape pool through a single application interface, thereby eliminating some of the redundant management tasks commonly associated with managing multiple VTLs in traditional deployment scenarios. The libraries also feature Active Engine Failover, which kicks in when a processor engine fails, and enables automatic fail-over to a second processor engine so that the disk library is able to continue servicing the backup server or application.

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Heidi Biggar, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group, says EMC’s transition from Clariion to Symmetrix as the foundation for DL6000 libraries boosts capacity and performance.

“Users are looking for more and more capacity. ESG research confirms this, with 54% of respondents to a recent VTL survey citing scalability as a key purchasing criterion,” says Biggar.

The sheer size of the 6000 series systems make the DL6100 and DL6300 viable options for companies looking to consolidate multiple, smaller virtual libraries onto a single platform to simplify VTL management.

“VTL proliferation is a potential problem, particularly from a management perspective,” says Biggar. “Consolidating onto a single larger platform does address the problem; however, it’s not necessarily the only answer and it doesn’t always make sense in all environments.”

EMC also announced support for data de-duplication in its VMware and NAS platforms. The company debuted EMC Avamar version 3.7 software, which supports VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) for the protection and reduction of backup times in virtual machine environments.

The Avamar backup-and-recovery software uses data de-duplication technology to eliminate the transmission of redundant backup data over the network to secondary storage. With support for VCB, VMware customers have a new way to de-duplicate backup data stored in virtual machines, in turn reducing the amount of data backed up and minimizing the impact on host servers.

Customers can now use de-duplication capabilities with Celerra NAS systems via NDMP backups. In addition, EMC’s Backup Advisor software now supports Avamar software, providing monitoring, analysis, and troubleshooting, as well as diagnostics to provide analysis of failed backup jobs.

Backup, recovery, archive

Rounding out EMC’s recent backup announcements was the addition of several new features for NetWorker, RecoverPoint, and DiskXtender, as well as the debut of a product for bare-metal recovery.

EMC’s new HomeBase software offers added server protection by automatically capturing and storing point-in-time profiles of the server configuration required for bare-metal recovery. HomeBase integrates into the backup-and-recovery workflow and, at the time of recovery, applies a source server’s profile to the new target server hardware, eliminating the need to re-configure systems and applications in the case of hardware failure or disaster.

The newest version of EMC’s RecoverPoint continuous data protection (CDP) software supports Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). RecoverPoint is now also integrated with EMC Replication Manager, which enables users to manage RecoverPoint-protected applications and other supported replication technologies via a single console.

On the archiving front, the company’s DiskXtender for NAS archiving software now provides expanded file migration interoperability with support for file servers from NetApp and other vendors. The software frees up space on primary storage, improves application performance, and reduces backup data sets while speeding recovery.

This article was originally published on July 01, 2007