- By Jim Hankins
As I stated in part 1, it's difficult to judge the merits of a disk-based backup or virtual tape products with deduplication capabilities based solely on the deduplication ratio that a particular vendor might be touting for its product. The deduplication ratio a customer will see is dependent on a number of variables unique to that customer's backup environment. What I'd like to examine in part 2 are some other features that a customer should consider when comparing disk-based backup or virtual products from different vendors.
As I also mentioned in part 1, HP is introducing deduplication capabilities into our existing HP StorageWorks Virtual Library Systems as well as introducing two brand new products, the HP StorageWorks D2D2500 Backup System and the HP StorageWorks D2D4000 Backup System. These products are intended to meet different customer needs depending on the size of the customer's backup environment. Therefore, it's important to examine the features of these two different products versus other competitive products based on these different customer requirements.
For medium to large scale enterprise backup environments, the key features of our VLS9000 product is its grid-like scalability and appliance-based management.
Grid-like scalability simply means customers can extend the performance and capacity of the VLS9000 by adding additional nodes (one node standard, expandable to eight) or by adding additional capacity per node. Each node of the VLS9000 provides 600 MB/sec and 30 to 80 TBs of capacity. Similar competitive products are offering only single node capability which means it's difficult to grow performance and capacity as the customer's needs grows.
All nodes and components of the VLS9000 can be managed as a single appliance. This allows the customer automatic management of all the hardware and software, including self-configuration, self-monitoring, self-diagnostics, performance load balancing, self-tuning and self-maintenance. Additionally, the entire capacity of the VLS9000 can be presented as a single virtual library. Similar competitive products come pre-configured from the factory, but any expansion or repair tasks can be tedious and complex, and if not done carefully can impact the system's performance and reliability.
For our brand new D2D2500 and D2D4000 Backup Systems, HP focused on delivering three key features for smaller backup environments. Those features are a very affordable price point, ease of deployment and management, and robust integration to physical tape.
One of HP's unique design advantages for our D2D2500/4000 products is our ability to leverage the economies of scale of our volume server and disk drive business. This allows us to build these new products and offer them at price points that are 30 to 40% below competitive product offerings in this customer segment.
The D2D2500/4000 also provides a fully functional graphical user interface (GUI) that allows the product to be easily setup and deployed. Ongoing management and configuration of the products is also performed via the easy to use GUI. Other competitive products provide only limited functionality from their user interface and some tasks require the customer to switch to a command line interface to complete important configuration steps. For some customers this can be a challenging and difficult way to setup and maintain the product.
Our D2D2500/4000 was also designed with tape integration fully in mind. Tape integration allows customers to copy data from the D2D2500/4000 directly to physical tape for offsite disaster recovery or for long-term archives. Tape integration is not available for many competing disk-based backup products, leaving the customer to piece together a disparate and perhaps non-interoperable solution for physical tape backup of their system.
And finally, one of the other exciting capabilities that deduplication enables is low bandwidth replication for disaster recovery. So for customers with multiple data centers or remote sites, deduplication and replication can be a powerful combination for a faster, more reliable way of moving backup data between sites. With deduplication, only the changed backup data needs to be sent between sites allowing customers to use more affordable low bandwidth WAN connections. HP will be offering replication on our VLS, D2D2500 and D2D4000 products before the end of the year.