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Nov 18 2015

New Horizons, Pt. 1: Data Protection in a Box with FUJITSU ETERNUS CS200c S2


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. Part 1 of our two-part blog explains what's new about the second-generation ETERNUS CS200c S2.

When we first introduced the "original" ETERNUS CS200c, we were keen to explain how it differed from other storage solutions targeted at small and medium businesses (SMBs). Our main point was that it built on a reference architecture that combined PRIMERGY servers, ETERNUS storage hardware, data protection and management software from our technology partner Commvault, and professional services into a tightly integrated package. This reference architecture could be adapted to fit a large amount of diverse use cases that ranged "from simplifying backups in SOHO and ROBO scenarios to VM protection in virtualized environments." As a result, the packages were available in five different configurations, all of which were based on PRIMERGY RX2520 M1 servers with varying, but fixed capacities of internal storage; the larger "scale models" could also be expanded with external ETERNUS JX40 storage subsystems configured as JBODs. This combination of flexibility, adaptability and expandability was relatively unusual for an SMB solution, but quickly turned into the secret behind its success. So for the second generation, our developers decided to further adhere to the general concept, but upgrade crucial components – and thereby the solution's capabilities.

New Server Platform
The first-generation ETERNUS CS200c was built around Fujitsu's PRIMERGY RX2520 M1 rack server. The second edition uses a more powerful PRIMERGY RX2540 M1 instead: like its predecessor, this is a dual-socket system, but one equipped with two of the latest Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v3 processors with up to 36 cores and clock speeds ranging from 1.6 to 3.6 GHz. Main memory capacities start at 4 GB and scale up to 1.5 TB; moreover, the PRIMERGY RX2540 M1 relies on DDR4 modules instead of the older DDR3 technology, which means they can reach higher data transfer speeds while eating up less energy. In addition, customers may now choose from a much broader selection of SAS and SATA SSDs to boost internal storage performance.

Higher Capacities
Previously, the ETERNUS CS200c was available in five different configurations: S, M, L, XL and SC. The first four of these were dubbed "entry-level systems," used 3.5 inch HDDs and came with fixed maximum capacities between 6 and 24 TB of storage space. By contrast, SC (for: scale) models relied on 2.5 inch drives and started with a minimum of 6 TB internal storage that could be expanded to a total maximum of 96 TB with five additional JBODs. – Second-generation systems still fall into the entry-level or scale category, albeit with a few substantial changes. First, the XL category has been omitted; entry-level systems now ship in three different flavors: S (small) with capacities of 1 or 2 TB; M (medium), which starts at 4 TB and is upgradeable in 4 TB increments to a maximum of 24 TB; and L (large), which scales from a 6 TB minimum through 12 and 24 to 36 TB max. Second, the new SC models no longer attempt to satisfy advanced capacity and performance demands at once. Instead, they come in two different variants for different usage scenarios, both of which provide significantly more storage space than their predecessor, albeit in distinct configurations:

  • The capacity-optimized version resembles an entry-level L system in that it starts with a single 6 TB disk and scales in 6TB steps to 36 TB internal storage space. On top of that, customers can add up to three JBODs, each of which is equipped with 4 TB HDDs and initially holds another 16 TB that may be expanded to 32. Hence, the maximum storage capacity available with this variant amounts to 36 TB + 96 TB = 132 TB.
  • The performance-optimized version uses an alternate layout; here, the PRIMERGY server comes with an original fixed capacity of 10.8 TB and connects to a maximum of four JBODs. The JBODs themselves use 1.8 TB HDDs that allow for faster data transfers and scale from 7 to 28 TB, bringing the maximum total capacity to roughly 123 TB.

Altogether, this consolidation of the model range will make it easier for users to decide which system best fits into their infrastructure. It also should be noted here that the omission of entry-level XL systems does not lead to a loss in diversity or capacity. In fact, entry-level S models are now smaller than their predecessors, while the M and L variants clearly exceed the maximum capacities provided by their antecedents, effectively eliminating the need for an XL category. Plus, there are two scale models instead of one. So in essence customers now get a broader model selection to choose from.


Fig. 1

Fig. 1: ETERNUS CS200c S2 Scale Model with Three JBODs


Faster Connectivity
First-generation S models came with six GbE and four 3 Gb/s SAS or SATA ports; the new version retains the former and replaces the latter with two 12 GB/s ports. M and L models are treated to a combination of four GbE and two 10GbE ports, two 12 Gb/s SAS connectors with eight lanes each, and two 16 Gb/s FC interfaces, allowing for massive performance increases between 25 and 100%. Scale models use the same combination of ports as the L and M variants.

While appliances offer many advantages over conventional storage solutions, most of these would be meaningless without the proper software in place. That's why all our data protection appliances are either equipped with an 'integrated package' that pairs the qualities of Commvault's Simpana data management suite with optimizations from Fujitsu or support the original product. For the second-generation ETERNUS CS200c, this package is available in two flavors:

  • All systems, regardless of size, have the Appliance Foundation Software (AFSW) pre-installed. AFSW includes an unlimited number of file system clients for virtual and physical systems. Modern backup, archiving and recovery capabilities protect ever-growing data volumes, efficiently manage information assets, and quickly find, recover and access data. The deduplication feature can be enabled at the source (client server) or the target (ETERNUS CS200c). Application support of Windows, Linux/Unix, Oracle, and SAP applications as well as snapshot, snapshot replication, tape attachment and cloud support are add-on functionalities.
  • The Appliance Advanced Software (AASW) includes all of the standard features of the Appliance Foundation Software package, but adds application support for Windows, Linux/Unix, Oracle, and SAP applications. Snapshot, snapshot replication, tape and cloud support are optional.

New Horizons in Availability and Licensing
While the first-generation models generally received very positive feedback, we also learned that quite a few customers wondered why they couldn't just go into a Fujitsu store and buy/order an ETERNUS CS200c. That was a pretty good question, because it made us realize that in order to simplify data protection, you have to make it easier to buy. As a consequence, we are now distributing the second edition via channel partners worldwide as well as via direct sales – and judging from the response to the earlier version, this may lead to an even greater success.

One of the things that can turn implementing adequate data protection into an ordeal is licensing. As a matter of fact, we frequently hear that customers would fix that problem immediately "if it weren't for the cost and complexity attached." With the second-generation ETERNUS CS200c, this explanation is no longer valid, because we made licensing almost as easy as setting up the appliance itself: Licensed systems provide licensing for the data repository capacity. In contrast to traditional licensing schemes, which require licensing and service for each client covered, we offer a 'flat rate' for an unlimited number of clients. The software maintenance service for all of these clients is covered by the appliance's software service. This simplifies the planning and handling of changes during data protection operations. Licensing is available in two forms, Foundation and Advanced, which basically correspond to the eponymous software packages. Alternatively, customers can also obtain a 'pure' ETERNUS CS200c S2 without a license; this solution is the best choice for existing Commvault environments. Just like a licensed system, this variant comes as an entry-level or scale solution with all hard- and software components pre-installed and pre-configured. It may then be combined with Commvault solution sets or standard Commvault software licensing, thus offering an easy way to quickly deploy new Commvault Media Agents tailored to meet individual requirements.

From faster base units to higher storage capacities and unusually comprehensive software packages, the FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS CS200c S2 clearly exceeds the capabilities of the previous generation and, in so doing, competes with solutions from EMC's Data Domain family, namely the DD2200 and DD2500. And there's a solid chance for our solution to win the race. The ETERNUS CS200c S2 fits in with a host of possible usage scenarios. First and foremost, this applies to all organizations that wish to simplify planning and implementing data protection policies. But the new generation will also help enterprises that need flat coverage of enterprise-level data protection or aim to set up a special 'dedicated' data protection platform, e.g. for Exchange environments or virtualization solutions such as our own PRIMEFLEX vShape® 5.2.

Readers who wish to learn more about the ETERNUS CS200c S2 are cordially invited to meet Fujitsu's storage team at the Fujitsu Forum 2015 in Munich today or tomorrow. See you there!

Stefan Bürger


About the Author:

Stefan Bürger

Head of Tape Automation at Fujitsu


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