67% Performance Boost and WORM Functionality Highlight Latest NEC HYDRAstor Software Release

The NEC HYDRAstor grid storage platform is best described as one that can evolve and grow on an as-needed basis while introducing newer technologies as they become available. Today’s announcement continues to reinforce this compelling value proposition that the HYDRAstor platform delivers. In today’s software release NEC improves HYDRAstor’s performance, adds in-flight encryption to its replication feature and extends its support of application-aware deduplication to Tivoli Storage Manager and EMC NetWorker all at no extra charge to HYDRAstor users.

Ever since the HYDRAstor was first released, its grid storage architecture has served as an example of how easy a storage system can be to manage and grow assuming it is designed with today’s user requirements in mind. Today’s new release is no exception to that as the new software extends or improves upon HYDRAstor’s capabilities in three main areas:

1.  Up to 67% performance boost. This performance boost is based solely on doing a software upgrade for the HYDRAstor with no requirements for additional hardware or new license fees. Prior to this release each HYDRAstor Accelerator Node provided up to 300 MB/sec. By simply upgrading the HYDRAstor software, performance will jump up to 500 MB/sec per Accelerator Node or 1000 MB/sec for a standard two Accelerator Node configuration. This translates into faster backups as each node is able to process the data inline quicker.

What is also of note is that these new performance numbers are published for general applications and do not assume a scenario that is only applicable for a very specific application with a rare configuration as other storage vendors tend to do. This means more users can achieve the published performance numbers, and users with high duplicate data rates in their backup streams could see even higher performance numbers that what NEC is publishing.

2.  New encryption and chargeback capabilities. One of the tenets of NEC’s design of the HYDRAstor is that core software functional improvements that most customers need should be made available to both existing and new HYDRAstor customers at no additional charge. Today’s release continues that trend as it has added in-flight encryption of replicated data as well as a new storage chargeback capability.

  • Simplified in-flight encryption of data. More enterprise organizations are looking to protect their remote offices as well as replicate data in their main data center to a secondary site. But as they do so they want to ensure that the data is encrypted while in-flight so it cannot be used for nefarious purposes in the event it is intercepted or compromised.

To accommodate this request that NEC has received from many of its customers, NEC has added an encryption feature to the HYDRAstor software base, which first encrypts data before it goes over the wire and then decrypts it on the other side so it can be read. This inline encryption can be enabled or disabled at a file system granularity and is available as a free enhancement for all Accelerator Nodes that have licensed HYDRAstor’s RepliGrid WAN-optimized replication.

  • Storage charge back enforcement with file system-based quotas. Storage charge back was another feature requested by NEC’s customers that were seeking to designate different quotas for different file systems or applications so they could manage the entire HYDRAstor storage pool. This new feature should help organizations better respond to today’s tough economic conditions by first helping them understand the storage consumption of individual applications, departments or business units, and then charging them accordingly.

3.  Enhancement of existing HYDRAstor functionality:

  • Increased flexibility in resiliency depth settings. The HYDRAstor has always offered the flexibility to increase or decrease the resiliency of its system. Now organizations can dial the resiliency level up or down at the file system level. Using this enhanced feature, users can assign a particular application to a specific file system and based upon the importance of the application and its data, adjust its protection up or down.

This feature becomes very handy as many scratch, reference, or test data can now be assigned to HYDRAstor file systems that have a lower level of resiliency and lower overhead while the data associated with critical application data can be dialed up to meet their higher protection requirements.

  • Capacity on Demand. More organizations are looking to deploy disk-based backup into remote offices but need to justify the cost. To accommodate these organizations, NEC is providing new smaller models that can start at lower levels of capacity and price but still get all of NEC’s software features. NEC is also making it possible to expand the logical storage capacity of the HYDRAstor system at a later time via a software license, without requiring the addition of any hardware components.
  • Extending application-aware deduplication. NEC announced application-aware deduplication in June 2009. This feature interrogates data as it comes in from a particular application (such as backup or archive software) and determines whether or not the data is a duplicate after it filters away metadata that the application has injected into the data payload.

In its first release of application-aware deduplication, HYDRAstor supported CommVault® Simpana® and Symantec NetBackup, but this release adds application-aware support for Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) and EMC NetWorker.

Another significant feature that NEC added with this software release is HYDRAlock WORM (Write Once Read Many) support, which can be licensed separately. With HYDRAstor’s implementation of WORM, users can configure individual file systems with different policies for different applications to automatically secure files so they cannot be deleted or altered. Similar to the licensing model used for RepliGrid, HYDRAstor’s WAN-optimized replication, the new HYDRAlock WORM functionality can be licensed on a per Accelerator Node basis so the customer only pays for the part of the system that needs it.

HYDRAstor’s beauty is that organizations can scale it as they need, get the features they need as they need them (through software updates such as are found in this release) and not have to worry about some painful, pending storage migration because of HYDRAstor’s grid storage architecture. Economically and safely keeping information on disk for longer periods of time without the hassles associated with storage system upgrades are now the keys for organizations to getting more value and reducing their spending on storage, and NEC continues to deliver on these key areas.

As organizations continue to manage data, it does not make much sense for them to continually spend monies for features and enhancements that should be part of a product’s natural evolution. The NEC HYDRAstor is part of this new trend. It adds new features and enhancements such as application-aware deduplication, more granula
r setting for data resiliency, reduct
ions in up-front storage costs, in-flight encryption, and performance boost free of charge.

These new features further position the NEC HYDRAstor as the platform of choice for archive and backup data by providing more value, more capabilities, and more efficiency while still keeping organizational costs associated with managing the data under control.

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