A convergence is happening in the cloud service provider space. More cloud-based archive and backup providers are evolving to account for transactional/production data while managed service providers want to extend their reach into the archival/backup space. One company at the forefront of this convergence is cloud service provider American Internet Services (AIS). Today I talk with AIS’s VP of Network Engineering, Steve Wallace, about how this convergence is impacting cloud service providers in general and AIS specifically.
Ever since continuous data protection (CDP) was introduced nearly a decade ago, it has largely been a technology looking for a problem to solve. However in the last few years it is finding a home in the most unlikely of places – social media websites. But maybe what is most interesting is that little known R1Soft CDP has emerged as the early and widely recognized leader in this space.
A couple of weeks ago I was getting a briefing on Atempo Live Navigator regarding its deduplication and near-CDP features that are specifically targeted for desktops, laptops and file servers. But since that conversation, it struck me that CDP and near-CDP technologies have been around for years which got me to thinking. Why is it that traditional approaches to backup persist even as arguably better approaches to data protection such as CDP and near-CDP struggle to get traction?
This week I am spending a couple of days at Compellent’s annual C-Drive conference in Minneapolis, MN where about 500 users, value added resellers (VARs) and Compellent sales reps are in attendance. Since a couple of years have passed since I attended the last one, I thought I would make the 6-hour drive from Omaha to Minneapolis to catch up on the latest going-ons with Compellent and gain some insight as to how they plan to recoup after their latest earnings stumble.
The new relationship that Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) struck with InMage Systems to use InMage about three months ago had a number of immediate ramifications. It provided HDS with a new heterogeneous replication option that it could use across its own storage systems; it made HDS more competitive in customer accounts where it did not traditionally have a foothold and it provided an entrée for HDS into next generation data protection technologies for disaster recovery.
Enter FalconStor with its NSS Virtual Appliance, which is the first software vendor to receive this ratification from VMware in the SRM landscape. FalconStor brings a very open approach to this solution. By placing a FalconStor NSS appliance in between the ESX Server’s and the storage farm the solution can now become truly hardware independent as the FalconStor appliance can virtualize some or all of the storage on the back-end.
After a receiving a briefing on today’s announcement on HP Data Protector’s enhanced integration with VMware, one has to wonder why HP is making any noise about this new functionality at all. While Data Protector’s enhanced integration with VMware virtual machines (VMs) provides some nice integration and recovery features for its HP EVA storage system as well as EMC’s DMX storage system, it appears all HP did was take a feature it now offers for physical machines and make it available for VMware VMs as well. Further, we saw little in this announcement that would make us think Data Protector is well suited to provide improved levels of recovery for companies that are anything but primarily homogeneous HP shops.
I started out the day with an hour-long briefing with Xiotech’s CTO Stephen J Sicola and Storage Architect Peter Selin. Xiotech has been talking up a storm about the ground-shaking importance of its new Intelligent Storage Elements (ISE) ever since Xiotech announced it at Storage Networking World about a month ago. However Xiotech and I have not had a chance to connect for me to take a close look at its architecture so Stephen and Peter spent some time talking me through it.
One thing that struck me was that Compellent users really understand what a game-changing technology that virtualization is. I sat through 2 or 3 presentations during the two days of the conference (May 7 – 8) and also met with a fair number of users (~10) between sessions, over meals and at the evening events and all of them were pretty stoked about the capabilities that virtualization in general and Compellent specifically delivers.
Should there be a “Use more, pay more” fee for Internet use? Should the cost of sending a text message to Grandma about junior’s birthday party be the same as the cost of sending the entire video of junior’s birthday party? How much of the Internet is a person or company entitled to? These were some of the questions that CIO magazine’s Gary Beach recently attempted to address in a video commentary, Net Neutrality: Why the Internet Can’t Remain Free, which recently appeared on CIO magazine’s website.
As its name suggests, Compellent’s Storage Center is a compelling product for companies to evaluate but they need to exercise caution in how they implement it and in what circumstances. Compellent’s Data Instant Replay feature should match the snapshot capabilities of other storage systems and exceed many in its recovery capabilities. However Compellent’s use of thin provisioning to provide this feature should give companies pause about what types of application data they should migrate to Storage Center and what other promised benefits of its thin provisioning feature it will not be able to deliver.
Someone once said to me that making changes in an enterprise mission-critical production data center storage area network (SAN) is akin to changing the wheels on a 747 as it is taking off. There is no room for error, you better be damn good at what you are doing and you need at least three back out plans in your back pocket should something go wrong. So what does this have to do with Continuity Software’s RecoverGuard? RecoverGuard’s premise is that it monitors the hardware on SANs at the production and disaster recovery sites and gathers information about their configuration. Once gathered, it compares the information and reports on the discrepancies that exist between production and disaster recovery sites.
LeftHand Networks’ new focus on SMBs and ROBOs is seen in today’s new product offering – their Virtual SAN Appliance (VSA). It provides for failover between different VMware ESX servers using VMware’s VMotion feature without a requirement for an external iSCSI or FC SAN. LeftHand Networks circumvents this requirement for an external SAN by using its SAN/iQ software to virtualize disk (internal or external) on each VMware server and then creating a cluster of VMs on different VMware physical servers.