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Sepaton 7.1 Brings More of the Joy of Deduplicating PBBAs into Enterprise Shops

Deduplicating purpose built backup appliances (PBBAs) have rapidly become the de facto standard as the preferred backup target in small and midsized enterprises (SMEs). However large enterprises have been slower to embrace these solutions because they often require highly manual setup processes and lack scalability. Enterprise backup environments, such as those with Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) can require particularly complex setup processes. Sepaton has addressed these concerns in its S2100 7.1 release and automated the deployment of virtual tape libraries (VTLs) in Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) environments. With it, large enterprises may leverage Sepaton to experience more of the same backup benefits that SMEs already enjoy.

Deduplicating PBBAs Promise a Quick and Easy Backup Fix

Part of the appeal of deduplicating PBBAs is that they are quick and easy backup fixes. Almost since Day One, their simplicity of deployment, configuration and maintenance – coupled with their ability to reduce capacity requirements, shorten backup windows and improve backup success rates – have made them a desirable primary backup target.

SMEs have particularly benefited from these solutions. In many cases, SMEs only need to plug a PBBA in and configure it as a target before instructing their backup software to start sending backup data to it.

However, large enterprises rarely see the “quick and easy deployment” side of deduplicating PBBAs. Even though PBBAs offer many of the same benefits to enterprise as they do to SMEs, not all PBBAs are designed to meet the needs of enterprises.  Therefore enterprises must carefully consider the obstacles they must overcome before they select and deploy a deduplicating PBBA.

Enterprise Deduplicating PBBA Considerations

Choosing the right deduplicating PBBA to anchor backup in an enterprise data center is one of the tougher technology decisions that enterprises have to make. As the PBBA touches and is touched by so much of the infrastructure, the enterprise-class PBBA must offer features such as:

  • Efficient deduplication. Deduplicating PBBAs in an enterprise data center where data volumes are both massive and fast-growing must store backup data as efficiently as possible. This requires that it recognize data in backup streams and then deduplicate it as granularly as possible to minimize storage requirements.
  • Encryption. No enterprise wants any of its backup data – much less any of its sensitive data – exposed. While most enterprise see the value of encryption, they also recognize that managing several different encryption key tools is a hassle and may outweigh encryption’s benefits.
  • Performance. Enterprises will concurrently backup multiple applications with large amounts of data. To meet these demands the deduplicating PBBA must offer advanced techniques to ingest and restore tens of terabytes (TBs) or more of data per hour.
  • Scale. Large enterprise may backup multiple petabytes (PBs) of data. As such, the deduplicating PBBA will minimally need to store hundreds of TBs with the flexibility to scale into the PBs over time.
  • VTL interface. Enterprises want as little disruption to their backup environment as possible. Since the deduplicating PBBA often replaces a physical tape library, configuring and presenting it as a VTL to the backup software facilitates a non-disruptive introduction into the environment as well as the use of Ethernet protocols such as NetBackup OST.

The Sepaton S2100-ES3 already provides many of these core features that a deduplicating PBBA needs to offer in order to anchor an enterprise data center backup architecture. The S2100-ES3 can start as small as two (2) nodes with 20 TBs that scales up to eight (8) nodes that handles over 80 TBs/hour with over two (2) PBs of usable storage capacity in a scale out grid architecture. Further, it already offers a VTL interface, granularly deduplicates data at a byte level and supports leading encryption key management (EKM) platforms to include support for the emerging Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP).

Sepaton Enhances the S2100-ES3’s Core Features …

The Sepaton S2100-ES3 7.1 software release enhances these core features in two important ways.  First, it adds support for Symantec NetBackup OpenStorage (OST) over Fibre Channel (FC).  While FC OST has been available as an option almost since OST first shipped, the need for it in FC environments is only beginning to surface as companies backup Big Data. It is also provides an easier migration path from FC to Gigabit Ethernet. Sepaton added OST FC support in this latest release of its software to meet these emerging enterprise needs.

Second, Sepaton stays at the forefront of addressing organizational security concerns. By qualifying SafeNet KeySecure v6.3 EKM, Sepaton demonstrates its commitment to KMIP – an industry standard for encryption key management. As long as an enterprise selects a KMIP-compliant EKM solution such as SafeNet KeySecure, Sepaton ensures that they may use the S2100-ES3 to encrypt the data and then manage its encryption keys with their choice of KMIP-compliant EKM.

… While Removing Some of VTL’s Setup Hassles

The other innovation that Sepaton introduces with its v7.1 software release centers on taking the hassle out of deploying the S2100-ES3 in Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) environments. One of the more time-consuming processes associated with deploying a deduplicating PBBA in a TSM environment is the time and effort that is required on the part of a TSM administrator to discover virtual tape drive devices, define and label them and then assign them to volume groups. This task can take up to six (6) hours.

Getting a VTL up and going quickly is particularly important in TSM environments as TSM benefits immensely in two ways by using a VTL instead of tape as its primary backup target. First, TSM may be configured to use the VTL instead of its own internal disk as a disk cache. This gives organizations more flexibility to create a much larger disk cache for faster backup and recovery.

A secondary benefit that TSM environments derive from a VTL is realized when TSM runs its housekeeping process. During this period, TSM consolidates and reduces space on tape cartridges. This process can take quite a bit of time as the tape library constantly mounts and unmounts tape cartridges to consolidate data from multiple tapes onto a smaller number. Using a VTL this is all done virtually so the housekeeping process completes in a fraction of the time since no physical mounting and unmounting of tape cartridges occurs.

Of course, for TSM environments to see any of these benefits, TSM must first recognize and utilize the VTL. To make VTL deployments a reality in TSM environments more quickly, Sepaton partnered with Gresham Enterprise Storage and qualified its Enterprise DistribuTape (EDT) software with its S2100-ES3.

Now using scripts that are built into the Gresham EDT software, once the Sepaton S2100-ES3 is presented to TSM, it takes only minutes (not hours) for a TSM administrator t
o discover and then start to use the S2100-ES3. Further, the Gresham EDT software accomplishes this discovery and introduction of the Sepaton S2100-ES3 into existing TSM environments without any disruption to operations.

Once deployed, TSM environments continue to see additional benefits from using the Gresham EDT software to discover and manage the S2100-ES3. As the S2100-ES3 may scale-out over time, the Gresham EDT software detects its growth and performs tasks such as host bus adaptor (HBA) load balancing and worldwide port name (WWPN) mapping so that TSM shops can take full advantage of the S2100-ES3’s performance by automating these tasks instead of relying on unpredictable and unreliable manual processes.

Sepaton v7.1 Delivers to Enterprises More of the Joys of Deduplicating PBBAs More Quickly

For years, the Sepaton S2100-ES3 has delivered the core features that enterprises need from a deduplicating PBBA to anchor their backup environments. In its v7.1 software release, Sepaton again shows its commitment to continually improving upon its core features with a particular focus on performance and security in this release.

In this release Sepaton also demonstrates a willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure its solutions are fast and easy to deploy and manage in enterprise environments. By integrating with the Gresham EDT software to expedite initial deployments and ongoing management in TSM environments, enterprises can enjoy more of the joys of deduplicating PBBAs that their SME counterparts already experience.

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