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Nov 24 2015

New Horizons, Pt. 2: Comprehensive Data Protection with FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS CS800 S6

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In a data-driven economy, organizations of all kinds and sizes must retain more information than ever before. But the more bits and bytes they keep, the harder they are to protect. That's why a few years ago we introduced our ETERNUS CS line of data protection appliances, which simplified and automated a lot of key functions and helped customers master this task. Meanwhile, however, ongoing exponential data growth and an increasing demand for effective and targeted information management pose new challenges that prompt us to refresh the product line and further push the envelope of data protection (DP). Part 2 of our blog explains what's new about the ETERNUS CS800 S6.

"Whether you're old school or new school, implementing proper data protection will never transmogrify into an easy feat, no matter how hard you try." I recently heard that quip from a storage admin with 25 years of experience under his belt and at first thought that he might be kidding. After all, we no longer live in a time where every important file has to be backed up to tape, and hardly anyone uses optical media anymore. But after thinking about it a little longer, I had to admit he was right: even with today's technologies, too many DP operations still rely on manual processes and scripting, and automation is piecemeal at best – provided it has been implemented at all. Add to that the new challenges described above, and you get a perilous mixture that's hard to handle for all companies, but especially small and mid-market organizations lacking dedicated IT resources and/or expertise. While all of these businesses along with their clients and employees deserve adequate DP solutions, they often had to settle for 'good enough' (read: second-best) products that came at an affordable price. Worse still, a large minority flat out refuses to deal with questions like "How could we manage to run daily backups?" or data protection in general. As a result, between 25 and 45% of them can't recover essential business information once their main data center crashes, and eventually go out of business.

Fujitsu's ETERNUS CS appliances help customers overcome these challenges as they make data protection simple, flexible and easy-to-deploy for companies of all sizes. In many cases, they may even enable them to manage the (formerly) unmanageable, that is, rein in the proverbial data tsunami or solve problems with long-term retention.

Tuning the Platform
The FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS CS800 is a turnkey data protection appliance that provides a simple and affordable solution for customers which follow a disk backup strategy with deduplication. In keeping with the tradition, all models are based on the latest PRIMERGY RX rack servers and ETERNUS DX storage arrays; however, this time around our hardware developers decided to also add ETERNUS JX storage subsystems to the mix in a bid for greater flexibility. As a result, the sixth incarnation of the ETERNUS CS800 is now more powerful and adaptable than ever:

  • Previous editions of the ETERNUS CS800 were available in two flavors, Entry and Scale. The refresh keeps up this separation, but expands the selection of entry models to choose from. Essentially, this means there are now two classes of entry models – a basic one ("Entry 1") that scales from 8 to 24 TB in a single unit and an extendable one that uses the same base unit, but may be fleshed out with up to three additional subsystems configured as JBODs. Each of these JBODs will house at least 16 and at most 32 TB of information, bringing the total maximum capacity of an "Entry Extendable" system to 120 TB. – Scale models have also received a modest makeover: the 32 TB base unit may now be augmented with up to ten same-size expansion shelves and max out at 352 TB storage space. Alternatively, it can be equipped with a hot spare that takes over in case one disk shelf ceases operation; if this option is selected, the maximum capacity decreases to 320 TB.
  • On the software side, the ETERNUS CS800 S6 fully supports all OST functions in Symantec/Veritas's NetBackup suite, for example Direct Copy-to-Tape, granular and instant recovery of VMware installations and encryption key management. Most importantly, this also includes Accelerator for files and folders and Accelerator for VMware, two features that were not supported on previous generations of the appliance. As the name implies, both accelerators will significantly boost backup speeds for both file servers and virtual environments, which is especially useful for IT departments that run daily fulls. The trick here lies in the sophisticated use of the appliance's deduplication function. In a standard setup, the backup software has to read all data on the host servers and then send it to the media servers, from where it is written to the deduplication pool on the target device. In addition, the media servers also create and store copies of the metadata associated with files or VMs and replicate them to the target device and the NetBackup Master console. This typically results in huge amounts of I/O operations and high network utilization that slow down or sometimes even disrupt regular network traffic and business applications. By contrast, both Accelerators are basically 'incremental agents' that install on the hosts and act as filters that separate only new blocks. As a result, only the changed blocks are sent over the wire to the dedupe pool/target device, where they become part of a synthetic full backup. This method substantially reduces the amount of data to be transferred, thus enabling faster backups and a much more efficient use of bandwidth. Moreover, it allows for improved metadata management, because the agents already stream them to the media servers, which in turn send them to the Master console. The Master console then directly 'syncs' the metadata with the backup target via a separate connection. In other words, they are no longer transferred over the main channel, which again frees up considerable network capacities. With the agent software installed, it's even possible to take a shortcut and send deduplicated data directly from the host to the pool/target.

In a nutshell, these changes will make it easier for IT departments to fulfill existing SLAs or even improve their services while at the same time reducing hardware investments and operational costs – or bluntly put, to do more with less.

Daniel Orth

Stefan Bürger

 

About the Author:

Daniel Orth

Pre-Sales Consultant ETERNUS CS

About the second Author:

Stefan Bürger

Head of Tape Automation at Fujitsu

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