Windows IT Pro Storage UPDATE--Virtualization Technologies Improve Backup Performance --November 6, 2006

-Storage Viewpoint: Virtualization Technologies Improve Backup Performance
-News from the Industry: Pillar Data Systems Addresses Needs of SMBs and Enterprises

-New and Improved
- File-Level Backup for VMware Infrastructure 3
- Backup Providers Announce Support for VMware Consolidated Backup



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==== 1. Virtualization Technologies Improve Backup Performance ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

As enterprise data needs grow, so do the difficulties of maintaining, managing, and protecting the huge amounts of data that tend to accumulate when sufficient storage is available. One of the biggest problems has been the inability to back up data quickly and securely. Traditional tape-backup capacity is controlled by the tape's speed, which limits the amount of data that can be backed up to a single tape device during any available corporate downtime.

Many solutions are available for the data backup and restore problem, and the most promising has been the technique of virtualizing tape libraries. Virtual tape libraries (VTLs) minimize the bottleneck for backups because they use disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) backup techniques, whereby data is copied from the active data pool at disk-to-disk speed, then migrated from the copy to tape at the administrator's discretion.

HP recently announced a major increase in virtualized storage capabilities with its HP StorageWorks 300 Virtual Library System (VLS) Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) Gateway. Designed for use in complex SAN environments, the HP VLS300 can support as many as six HP EVAs, handle 500TB of capacity, and achieve a maximum system performance of 2400MBps. The HP VLS300 also emulates multiple tape drives in order to run multiple, simultaneous backup streams. The product supports a maximum of eight gateway nodes, and you can configure the hardware so it appears to network servers on a SAN as 1 to 128 individual tape libraries and as many as 1024 tape drives. The base model comes with licenses for 50TB of total capacity and can be expanded in 2TB increments by purchasing additional licenses.

For enterprise HP customers that already use HP SAN storage technologies, the HP VLS300 can work with the current HP StorageWorks 6000 VLS, which supports a maximum of 70TB of storage. If a user has implemented HP tape libraries and autoloaders, the HP VLS300 emulation will enable a seamless transition to the virtualized backup because the unit's virtualization will look like HP tape loaders and libraries to applications already using those devices. This means that you don't need to make any changes to any application that was using those tape devices to implement the virtualized backup environment. You can find additional details about the HP VLS300 at

This enterprise-class, virtualized backup capability announcement meshes well with another HP storage announcement:storage blades for the HP BladeSystem. The HP StorageWorks SB40c storage blades add DAS capabilities to the existing enterprise-class blade server systems in HP's lineup, supporting as many as six 2.5" Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives to provide a maximum per-blade storage of 876GB for RAID 0, 1, 5, or 6. Combining blade-server storage within the blade enclosures means that the technologies applied to server consolidation will continue to simplify the management and physical requirements for large-scale, consolidated server systems. For more information about HP's storage-blade technologies, go to

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==== News from the Industry ====
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Pillar Data Systems Addresses Needs of SMBs and Enterprises

Pillar Data Systems' vision is simple: Build storage solutions that overcome the cost and complexity burden that users face. I spoke with Russ Kennedy, senior director of marketing and strategy for Pillar Data Systems, to learn more about the company's vision. I found out that although heterogeneous environments and growing amounts of data are driving the need to make products easier to use and maintain, small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) and enterprises have different priorities when it comes to storage products. SMBs and even small-to-midsized enterprises (SMEs), take their applications' varying storage requirements into consideration. Additionally, SMBs and SMEs need to manage everything in one platform. The Pillar Axiom storage system's new entry-level configuration helps these smaller customers by offering multiple protocol options such as NAS, Fibre Channel SAN, and iSCSI SAN and lets them use either SATA or Fibre Channel drives. This configuration starts at 1.6TB of storage and scales to 24TB.

Kennedy added that although enterprises want a simple and easy solution, which Pillar Axiom offers, its new, expanded configuration addresses some of the needs of larger businesses, which include better availability, scalability, security, and performance.

==== New and Improved ====
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

File-Level Backup for VMware Infrastructure 3

Vizioncore announced esxRanger Professional 2.0, a software solution that provides image-level and file-level recovery for VMware Infrastructure 3. esxRanger Professional's backup engine identifies and stores only the sections of the virtual machine (VM) that have changed from the preceding full backup. The software's file-level recovery backup decreases or eliminates the need to install agent software on each VM for file-level backups. The software also features an Archive Retention Policy function, which automatically sweeps files on set parameters, removing outdated backups to provide storage for new backups. Pricing for exsRanger Professional starts at $499 per CPU socket. For more information, visit Vizioncore on the Web at:

Backup Providers Announce Support for VMware Consolidated Backup

VMware announced broad industry support for VMware Consolidated Backup, software that's part of VMware Infrastructure 3 Enterprise edition and uses virtualization technology for backup and recovery. Backup and recovery vendors such as CA, CommVault, EMC, IBM Tivoli, and Symantec have pledged support for the product, which means that customers can use their existing backup products to back up VMware VMs. VMware Consolidated Backup helps simplify data protection by offloading backup to a centralized server. This means that you can run more VMs as you reduce VMware Infrastructure's load and also eliminate hardware dependencies. For more information, visit VMware on the Web at:


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==== Resources ====

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Events and Resources

No IT pro today works in a completely heterogeneous environment, and with virtualization, your chances of dealing with multiple OSs are increasing. Attend TechX World--available online December 14--and find out about virtualization, OS interoperability, directory and security integration, and data interoperability. Register today for free!

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Learn from industry expert Mike Otey about different approaches to server consolidation and how to stop server sprawl by using consolidation and virtualization. Find out how to use virtualization to run legacy OSs, make Linux and Windows coexist, and more. You'll even get step-by-step instructions for building a virtual machine for Windows Server 2003. On-demand Web seminar.

Information is the "I" in "IT." Do you know where your information is? Is it protected? Backed up? Download this free podcast today to find out the top 5 reasons that you should be considering storage consolidation.

Your business, like most today, relies upon its computing systems to store financial information, house proprietary data, and maintain communications channels. This increasing reliance also increases the dangers to your systems from security breaches, including viruses, spyware, spam, and hackers. Visit the Windows Protection Site at for the latest tips on safeguarding your system.

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