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Mar 13 2015

Get Ready to Innovate: FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS CS200c with CommVault Simpana


For many years in a row, IT departments have sought for ways to substantially simplify their time-consuming and often hyper-complex backup and archiving operations and processes. The ETERNUS CS200c – Fujitsu's latest addition to its roster of popular data protection appliances – takes the idea of simplification one step further by wrapping up correctly-sized hardware, necessary software tools and required licenses into a single, complete, and ready-to-use appliance for SMBs and distributed environments.

Backup and archiving have long shared a reputation for being among the most crucial as well as the most disliked IT services. The reasons are manifold. End users are rarely involved in the underlying processes; they simply want to be able to store, retrieve and access critical data they need for their work. If everything goes as planned, that's cool, but not worth mentioning – only when a file or document isn't promptly available will they begin to dispute the IT department's competence. From an administrator's perspective, backup and archiving processes are often complicated, repetitive, time-consuming, and error-prone while still requiring a good deal of manual efforts – which is pretty frustrating in an era where even network management becomes increasingly automated and policy-driven. Finally, IT decision makers and management tend to worry about inflated hardware and operational costs resulting from maintaining parallel infrastructures. Modern backup and archiving solutions have to solve most of these issues at once in order to be attractive.

Business-Centric by Design
Since 2012, Fujitsu has consistently promoted the concept of "business-centric storage," i.e. the idea that 'good' storage solutions shall support business processes, not interrupt them. This was the underlying principle for the Fujitsu Storage ETERNUS CS800 and ETERNUS CS8000 data protection appliances, which cover the needs of large and midsize organizations that try to save on hardware investments and operating costs or look to unify their backup and archiving infrastructures. The experiences gained from building these solutions laid a solid foundation for creating a new line of appliances that address the needs of small and medium businesses and those with branch offices and distributed infrastructures. But we didn't want to rely on experience alone, and so we entered intense discussions with customers from this market segment, about pain points that must be solved and capabilities they'd like to see next. Here's what we learned:

  • More and more organizations wish/try to avoid the complexities of grown, i.e. heterogeneous environments, such as the use of multiple hardware platforms and backup applications with different management concepts that require extensive training. Instead they are searching for a single, consistent solution that's easy to handle and requires little or no 'human intervention.'
  • Likewise, they strive to comply with increasingly sharp legal standards for data retention and protection. To this end, IT departments need to be able to fulfill strict service level agreements and to ensure the permanent or near-permanent availability of data and services. A new backup platform should support these efforts.
  • Unlike large corporations, enterprises in our target group typically employ only a few IT specialists and even fewer certified storage administrators. A new data protection solution therefore has to provide a comprehensive set of automated and remote management tools and options that compensate for a lack of skills and enable smooth operation and maintenance.

The result of these concerted efforts is the FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS CS200c (pictured at the top), the first "data protection in a box" solution for the SMB market that integrates backup, archiving and data management functions and is business-centric by design.


Fig. 1: Components of the ETERNUS CS200c Reference Architecture


Fig. 1: Components of the ETERNUS CS200c Reference Architecture


Models and Capacities for Multiple Use Cases
Because of this underlying philosophy, the ETERNUS CS200c differs quite a bit from other storage solutions for SMBs. For the most part, such solutions vary only in size and offer a set of standard features and functionalities. By contrast, the ETERNUS CS200c builds on a reference architecture (cf. Fig. 1) that encompasses PRIMERGY servers, ETERNUS storage hardware, and CommVault's data protection and management software Simpana. This reference architecture may be adapted to a wide variety of use cases, ranging from simplifying backups in SOHO and ROBO scenarios to VM protection in virtualized environments. Altogether, the new appliance is available in five different configurations with different specifications:

  • The smallest entry-level model ETERNUS CS200c-S was designed to meet backup demands of home offices and small remote and branch offices, i.e. store data from a limited number of clients and backup streams. Remote replication to data centers or cloud repositories is possible. The system is based on a PRIMERGY RX2520 M1 rack server (cf. Fig. 2) and equipped with two second-generation, quad-core Intel® Xeon® E5-2403 processors running at 1.8. GHz and 16 GB of RAM. Further components include two pairs of 300 GB, 15k SAS HDDs in a RAID 1 setup (one for the OS, Simpana, metadata, software and index caches, the other for a dedup database), and six 1GbE ports. Data is stored on up to eight 1 TB, 7.2k SAS, 3.5 inch drives arranged in a RAID 6 configuration; capacities start at 2 TB and can be expanded in 2 TB increments to a maximum of 6 TB (limitations are due to the RAID level).

Fig. 2: Base Unit for all ETERNUS CS200c Systems: the PRIMERGY RX2520 M1


Fig. 2: Base Unit for All ETERNUS CS200c Systems: the PRIMERGY RX2520 M1


  • The next category includes the models ETERNUS 200c-M, -L, and -XL, which are supposed to fulfill all basic backup and storage requirements of small and medium businesses. Consequently, we modified these systems to ensure they process greater workloads during backup and restore than the 'S edition' by replacing the quad-cores with two six-core, 2.2 GHz Xeon® E5-2420 v2 CPUs and doubling the amount of main memory to 32 GB. With two 10GbE ports, a dual-port 8 Gb/s FC controller, and an 8-port 6 Gb/s SAS controller, they also offer more connectivity options and greater flexibility to support snapshots as well as SAN mode and tape backups. Usable storage capacities amount to 4, 8, or 12 TB for M models; 6, 8 or 12 TB for L models; and 8, 16 or 24 TB for the XL category.
    • The powerful ETERNUS CS200c-SC scale system completes the family. Like the entry systems, it is built around a PRIMERGY RX2520 M1 rack server; It holds two faster Xeon® E5-2430 processors running at 2.5 GHz and 48 GB of RAM along with a fixed amount of 6 TB of usable internal storage distributed across eight 2.5 inch HDDs. LAN ports and controllers are identical with those of the M, L and XL editions. Designed to digest heavy workloads from a maximum number of clients and parallel backup/restore streams, the scale system offers up to 96 TB of backend storage. However, due to the cap on internal capacity, users will have to add external ETERNUS JX40 storage subsystems (cf. Fig 3) – each with 18 TB usable disk space – to expand the system and reach the maximum level.


Fig. 3: Expansion Unit for ETERNUS CS200c Scale Systems: the ETERNUS JX 40


Fig. 3: Expansion Unit for ETERNUS CS200c Scale Systems: the ETERNUS JX 40


Unique Software Design
Throughout the entire platform, Fujitsu's well-defined hardware designs are complemented by Simpana, the data protection software from our long-time partner CommVault, which we previously combined with the bigger data protection appliances from the ETERNUS CS family. Simpana provides a unique software architecture that meets the needs of SMBs as well as larger companies: unlike most competing solutions, it uses a unified software stack, called the Common Platform, as a basis for implementing core functions like backup/recovery, archiving, replication, deduplication, storage resource management (SRM) and information retrieval. Each of these originally separate processes is turned into a functional module of one and the same unified data management platform.

Thanks to this concept, Simpana is equally well suited for use in all open systems environments and with all major operating systems (Windows, Linux/UNIX, and MacOS). What's more, this applies to traditional pools of physical servers as well as to virtualized environments. The Common Platform architecture ensures Simpana users avoid from the outset a number of disadvantages that inevitably occur when working with point solutions, for example massive hardware expenses and increased operational costs resulting from parallel operation of backup, archiving, and data management infrastructures.

At the core of the Common Platform is a single virtual repository, called the ContentStore, which holds all important data and information, regardless of whether they are kept on disk, on tape or in the cloud. In other words, Simpana creates a single, central backup copy for all data sets that is accessible from every module. This design adds enormous flexibility and enables users to automate a boatload of core functions that would otherwise have to be handled manually and to centralize or outsource critical support and maintenance tasks. In addition, Simpana's built-in deduplication functions help SMBs to substantially reduce data growth over the medium and long term. Finally, this combination of revolutionary architecture, numerous automation options, simplified management, and limited data growth, will also result in major cost cuts.

Fujitsu's ETERNUS CS200c data protection appliance brings proven and tested technology from corporate data centers to those of small and medium enterprises as well as to remote and branch offices or heavily virtualized network segments. Some observers might take issue with a few minor restrictions such as the fact that field upgrades are only possible for capacity and within the chosen model range and that there's no option to seamlessly grow from entry to scale systems because they use different-size HDDs. Ultimately, however, they must agree that the massive advantages outweigh these limitations – all the more since they are easily overcome with the help of Fujitsu and its channel partners who will guide customers through the planning and implementation phase and provide comprehensive support and maintenance services.

For more information, including a detailed overview of licensing options, please see our TechCommunity Storage Webcast on Fujitsu ETERNUS CS200c, which is available from our Knowledge Base, or consult your account manager.

Stefan Bürger


About the Author:

Stefan Bürger

Head of Tape Automation at Fujitsu


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