BitWackr Blog

Deduplication beyond backup

Finally, the Arrival of Advanced Data Reduction (ADR) Appliances

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BridgeSTOR, LLC headquartered in Poway, CA and led by “serial entrepreneur” John Matze has just launched a family of ADR appliances featuring primary and secondary data deduplication, compression, thin provisioning and – by the way – optional (user selection – included feature) encryption for data at rest. We certainly support the conclusion that these data reduction features, when delivered with little-to-no performance impact, produce highly compelling business cases for end-user buyers.

The BridgeSTOR VMware primary storage appliance (referred to as an “Application Optimized Storage” appliance, or “AOS” appliance) for example, when deployed with ESXi servers or the VMware vSphere Essentials Kit, is said to offer cost-effective server and storage virtualization for consolidation and management of branch offices, small and medium businesses and distributed enterprises.

BridgeSTOR appliances combine in-line, ASIC-assisted block-level data compression, deduplication and thin provisioning for VMware templates, images and application data.  Typical data reduction ratios for a combination of Linux and Windows Virtual Machine OS images is claimed to range from 75% to 90%.

The BridgeSTOR storage appliance for VMware delivers capacity-optimized iSCSI and NAS storage optimized for use in a VMware vSphere 4.1 environment with multiple live virtual machines running capacity-intensive applications with mid-range IOPS requirements. Examples of applications for which these appliances are ideally suited include Cloud Storage, data mining, data warehousing, general business, R&D, geo-seismic, archive, VMware infrastructure and shared home directory applications.

Deduplication and compression reduce the storage capacity needs of VMware applications and significantly reduce the capacity requirements of VMware infrastructures including template storage and “standby” VMs.  They also further optimize VMware Data Recovery (vDR) data, further reducing the size of disaster recovery information used by VMware.

The website goes on to say that BridgeSTOR appliances for VMware provide an integrated, shared storage capability that supports popular VMware-specific storage features including:

  • vMotion
  • Storage vMotion
  • DRS and HA clustering
  • Volume Grow (by enabling dynamic LUN resizing and increasing the size of the VMware DataSTOR (VMFS) “live”)
  • Virtual and physical RAW LUN support

10 GbE Network I/O Virtualization

The other compelling bit of technology in the BridgeSTOR VMware appliance is called Virtual Input/Output – Network Attachment (VIO-NA) that provides the equivalent of a direct network connection to iSCSI SAN storage for virtual machines running in an ESX or ESXi environment. VIO-NA improves performance of virtual machines and reduces the latency they experience when accessing SAN storage because the VIO-NA feature bypasses the VMware hypervisor by using hardware intelligence on the NIC.

Among the key benefits of ADR appliances when used in conjunction with VMware ESX and ESXi servers are said to be:

  • Support for an extensive array of VMware features and capabilities
  • VMware certification
  • Capacity optimization that reduces  physical disk capacity requirements through a combination of in-line data  deduplication and data compression
  • Storage capacity optimization  in-line and with negligible performance penalty
  • Critical data is RAID protected
  • Assured data integrity through hardware-generated CRCs that are stored with data
  • Cuts capital expenses by reducing  the number of RAID arrays, filers and disk drives required
  • Slashes operating expenses by  reducing power and cooling requirements
  • At rest data security is ensured  through strong encryption technology

BridgeSTOR Appliances for Backup

In addition to capacity optimization for primary and VMware storage, BridgeSTOR has added hardware data compression to the Backup Exec 2010 Deduplication Suite and packaged these features in a 2U HP-built appliance. The overall data reduction produced by Backup Exec 2010 is the product of the deduplication ratio multiplied by the compression ratio (send me an email if you’d like to see the math  bob.farkaly@exar.com). So when Backup Exec 2010 says it is producing a data deduplication ratio of, say 10:1, the effective data reduction ratio becomes 20:1 when 2:1 hardware compression is added. A dramatic improvement.

Anyone “kicking the tires” on one of the “well-known data deduplication products” and a BridgeSTOR backup appliance will be pleasantly surprised to see how much further his or her budget can be stretched by walking past the “well-known data deduplication products”.

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Written by BitWackr

November 16, 2010 at 11:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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