Storage should be the most reliable thing in the data center, not the least. What data centers today need is enterprise storage that affordably delivers at least 7-9's of reliability, at scale. That's a goal of less than three seconds of anticipated unavailability per year - less than the reliability of most data centers.
Data availability is the key attribute enterprises need most to maximize their enterprise storage value, especially as data volumes grow into scales. Yet traditional enterprise storage solutions aren’t keeping pace with the growing need for greater than the oft-touted 5-9’s of storage reliability, instead deferring to layered on methods like additional replication copies, that can drive up latency and cost, or settling for cold tiering which zaps performance and reduces accessibility.
Within the array, as stored data volumes ramp up and disk capacities increase, RAID and related volume/LUN schemes begin to fall down due to longer and longer disk rebuild times that create large windows of vulnerability to unrecoverable data loss. Other vulnerabilities can arise from poor (or at best, default) array designs, software issues, and well-intentioned but often fatal human management and administration. Any new storage solution has to address all of these potential vulnerabilities.
In this report we will look at what we mean by 7-9’s exactly, and what’s really needed to provide 7-9’s of availability for storage. We’ll then examine how Infinidat in particular is delivering on that demanding requirement for those enterprises that require cost-effective enterprise storage at scale.
Flash technology has burst on the IT scene within the past few years with a vengeance. Initially seen simply as a replacement for HDDs, flash now is triggering IT and business to rethink a lot of practices that have been well established for decades. One of those is data protection. Do you protect data the same way when it is sitting on flash as you did when HDDs ruled the day? How do you take into account that at raw cost/capacity levels, flash is still more expensive than HDDs? Do data deduplication and compression technologies change how you work with flash? Does the fact that flash technology is injected most often to alleviate severe application performance issues require you to rethink how you should protect, manage, and move this data?
These questions apply across the board when flash is injected into storage arrays but even more so when you consider all-flash arrays (AFAs), which are often associated with the most mission-critical applications an enterprise possesses. The expectations for application service levels and data protection recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) are vastly different in these environments. Given this, are existing data protection tools adequate? Or is there a better way to utilize these expensive assets and yet achieve far superior results? The short answer is yes to both.
In this Opinion piece we will focus on answering these questions broadly through the data protection lens. We will then look at a specific case of how data protection can be designed with flash in mind by considering the combination of flash-optimized HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, HP StoreOnce System backup appliances, and HP StoreOnce Recovery Management Central (RMC) software. These elements combine to produce an exceptional solution that meets the stringent application service requirements and data protection RTOs and RPOs that one finds in flash storage environments while keeping costs in check.
Backup and recovery, replication, recovery assurance: all are more crucial than ever in the light of massively growing data. But complexity has grown right alongside expanding data. Data centers and their managers strain under the burdens of legacy physical data protection, fast-growing virtual data requirements, backup decisions around local, remote and cloud sites, and the need for specialist IT to administer complex data protection processes.
In response, Unitrends has launched a compelling new version of Unitrends Enterprise Backup (UEB): Release 9.0. Its completely revamped user interface and experience significantly reduces management overhead and lets even new users easily perform sophisticated functions using the redesigned dashboard. And its key capabilities are second to none for modern data protection in physical and virtual environments.
One of UEB 9.0’s differentiating strengths (indeed, the entire Unitrends product line) is the fact that in today’s increasingly more virtualized world, they still offer deep support for physical as well as virtual environments. This is more important than it might at first appear. There is a huge installed base of legacy equipment in existence and a lot of it has still not been moved into a virtual environment; yet it all needs to be protected. Within this legacy base, there are many mission-critical applications still running on physical servers that remain high priority protection targets. In these environments, many admins are forced to purchase specialized tools for protecting virtual environments separate from physical ones, or to use point backup products for specific applications. Both options carry extra costs by buying multiple applications that do essentially the same thing, and by hiring multiple people trained to use them.
This is why no matter how virtualized an environment is, if there is even one critical application that is still physical, admins need to strongly consider a solution that protects both. This gives the data center maximum protection with lower operating costs, since they no longer need multiple data protection packages and trained staff to run them.
This is where Unitrends steps in. With its rich capabilities and intuitive interface, UEB 9.0 protects data throughout the data center, and does not require IT specialists. This Product in Depth assesses Unitrends Enterprise Backup 9.0, the latest version of Unitrends flagship data protection platform. We put the new user interface through its paces to see just how intuitive it is, what information it provides and how many clicks it takes to perform some basic operations. We also did a deep dive into the functionality provided by the backup engine itself, some of which is a carryover from earlier versions and some which are new for 9.0.
All businesses have a core set of applications and services that are critical to their ongoing operation and growth. They are the lifeblood of a business. Many of these applications and services are run in virtual machines (VM), as over the last decade virtualization has become the de facto standard in the datacenter for the deployment of applications and services. Some applications and services are classified as business critical. These business critical applications require a higher level of resilience and protection to minimize the impact on a business’s operation if they become inoperable.
The ability to quickly recover from an application outage has become imperative in today’s datacenter. There are various methods that offer different levels of protection to maintain application uptime. These methods range from minimizing the downtime at the application level to virtual machine (VM) recovery to physical system recovery. Prior to virtualization, mechanisms were in place to protect physical systems and were based on having secondary hardware and redundant storage systems. However, as noted above, today most systems have been virtualized. The market leader in virtualization, VMware, recognized the importance of availability early on and created business continuity features in vSphere such as vMotion, Storage vMotion, vSphere Replication, vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM), vSphere High Availability (HA) and vSphere Fault Tolerance (FT). These features have indeed increased the uptime of applications in the enterprise, yet they are oriented toward protecting the VM. The challenge, as many enterprises have discovered, is that protecting the VM alone does not guarantee uptime for applications and services. Detecting and remediating VM failure falls short of what is truly vital, detecting and remediating application and service failures.
With application and service availability in mind, companies such as Veritas have come in to provide availability and resiliency for them. Focusing on improving how VMware can deliver application availability, Veritas Technologies LLC. has developed a set of solutions to meet the high availability and disaster recovery requirements of business critical applications. These solutions include Veritas ApplicationHA (developed in partnership with VMware) and Veritas InfoScale Availability (formerly Veritas Cluster Server). Both of these products have been enhanced to work in a VMware-based virtual infrastructure environment.