EMC upgrades CDP, launches VTL

By Kevin Komiega

EMC recently began shipping two additions to its data-protection portfolio, including a new version of its RecoverPoint network-based replication and continuous data-protection (CDP) software and its first virtual tape library (VTL) system built specifically for IBM zSeries mainframe environments.

EMC’s focus for the release of RecoverPoint 3.0 centers on concurrent local CDP and remote replication and tighter integration with the company’s line of Clariion disk arrays.

With RecoverPoint 3.0, users can now protect and replicate the same data in local and remote-site combinations rather than having to choose which data is replicated and which data is protected by CDP. EMC has also reworked how RecoverPoint is managed by supporting continuous remote replication (CRR) in the software’s graphical user interface (GUI), offering users a new tree-view layout with single views of each consistency group and including workflow wizards for configuration, operation, and fail-over.

“Prior to this release of RecoverPoint 3.0, customers were able to use both remote replication and CDP simultaneously, but only if they were applying those technologies to different production data sets,” says Rob Emsley, senior director of software product marketing at EMC. “We are now offering concurrent CDP and remote replication at the same time on the same production data.”

Emsley says the adoption of CDP technology among EMC customers has been hindered by the inability to run CDP on top of replication. RecoverPoint 3.0 solves that problem.

“The ease of implementing CDP on top of replication has inhibited adoption. We see the combination of CDP with remote replication without having to sub-segment production data as an inflection point for adoption,” says Emsley.

In addition, EMC has integrated RecoverPoint functionality directly with Clariion CX3 disk arrays in an effort to simplify RecoverPoint deployments by allowing users to perform write-splitting functions in the array. This new capability is supported across the entire family of RecoverPoint products, including the entry-level RecoverPoint/SE, and should facilitate the adoption of RecoverPoint within Clariion environments. Prior to version 3.0, RecoverPoint only supported write-splitting in the form of host agents or on an intelligent fabric switch. Version 3.0 puts write-splitting technology directly in the Clariion firmware.

The integration means Clariion CX3 customers replicating data from one Clariion to another no longer need to deploy agents or additional fabric-based devices, which Emsley says lowers installation and deployment costs and enables rapid deployment of CDP and remote replication.

The array-based splitting function also enables CDP and CRR protection for Fibre Channel and iSCSI-attached data volumes with RecoverPoint.

Additionally, RecoverPoint now provides expanded support for a number of operating systems, including Windows, VMware ESX, Linux, and Solaris, and has been tested and qualified for replicating VMware File System (VMFS) volumes on CX3 arrays.

Users can now deploy RecoverPoint in three different scenarios, including heterogeneous storage environments where customers leverage intelligent fabrics via EMC Connectrix; in Clariion CX3 environments where customers perform array-based splitting; or in environments where customers utilize the host-based driver to perform the write-splitting function.

Mike Fisch, analyst and director of storage and networking research at the Clipper Group, says the majority of EMC’s success with RecoverPoint has been due to the product’s remote replication feature. However, the concurrent CDP capabilities in version 3.0 could help educate users about the value of CDP.

“Most of EMC’s success has been on the replication side of things. CDP is still a newer technology that is being established. Replication provides them with a foot in the door because everyone agrees that replication is a good thing,” says Fisch. “Customers are seeking CDP, but they still represent the minority of the market.”

Fisch believes CDP still faces an uphill battle in terms of mainstream adoption, despite the fact that the technology has been available for years.

“CDP is snapshot copies taken to the extreme. There are still people out there learning about and adopting snapshot technology, which has been around for a long time. So would they necessarily think a step beyond snapshots?” asks Fisch. “The Clipper Group is still positive about CDP adoption, but it will take time.”


For more on CDP, go to CDP moves into the maturity phase.


VTL for mainframes

EMC is also extending its open systems VTL technology into the mainframe world with the introduction of the EMC Disk Library for Mainframe (EMC DLm) product.

Emsley says the DLm is the first virtual tape system for use in IBM zSeries environments to offer high-performance disk-based backup-and-recovery, batch processing and storage—eliminating the challenges associated with traditional tape-based operations.

EMC claims competing mainframe VTLs utilize physical tapes on the back-end, perpetuating the management overhead and costs associated with tape media handling and limiting the scalability of VTL infrastructures. The DLm combats those problems by providing an alternative to tape-based mainframe VTLs that allows users to process and retrieve information at disk speeds and scale their VTL infrastructure as workloads increase without the need for additional sub-systems, tape libraries, or specialized network adapters.

The DLm is based on 1TB SATA disk drives with RAID-6 protection, tape emulation, and hardware compression. Available in two configurations—with either two or four virtual tape emulators (VTEs)—the DLm scales to approximately 500TB of compressed capacity while delivering up to 600MBps of throughput.

The DLm connects directly to IBM zSeries mainframes using FICON or ESCON channels and appears to the mainframe operating system as standard IBM 3480, 3490, or 3590 tape drives. The DLm supports all tape commands transparently, enabling customers to use their existing work processes and applications without modifications. Furthermore, the DLm enables asynchronous replication of data over IP networks.

The DLm can be ordered with either two or four VTEs, each of which supports 256 virtual tape drives for a maximum of 1,024 drives.

An entry-level configuration of the DLm model 4080 with two VTEs is priced from $850,000, but Emsley says most users will opt for a two-cabinet, 95TB configuration, which will bump the price to approximately $1.5 million.


For more VTL-related articles, go to VTLs with de-dupe produce real ROI and Lab Review: VTL delivers real performance with virtual reels.

This article was originally published on April 01, 2008