EMC presses ahead with compression

Data compression technologies and backup and recovery improvements highlighted EMC Corp.’s annual conference in Orlando, Fla. Last month, further cementing the outfit’s move into these burgeoning areas.

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based developer of information infrastructure technology released a host of updated products at the conference, include the EMC Disk Library (DL) 6000 series and the latest version of EMC Avamar data de-duplication software. The Disk Library 6000 series and the Avamar software, available this month, are scalable platforms designed for data backup and storage compression.

The Disk Library 6000 series can store up to 1.8 petabytes of compressed information with backup of more than 11 terabytes of data per hour. The Avamar data de-duplication software is supported by VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) software; the company says it facilitates faster backups of EMC Celerra network-attached storage systems.

Despite its substantial $1 million price tag, the 6000 series VTL should help large enterprises shave costs by allowing them to phase out and consolidate multiple smaller VTLs and backup operations into a single system to purchase and manage, noted officials of Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC.

“Traditional companies loved our disk libraries, but they needed something of even larger scale. That’s why we rolled out the Disk Library 6000 series. Avamar enables…companies to deal with data growth, speed and backup,” said David Donatelli, executive vice-president of storage product operations.

Donatelli added that the new and updated product releases are part of the company’s focus on its core data storage business.

“We’ve been very fortunate. If you look at the size of our storage business, we’ve more than doubled it over the last five years. This announcement helped to fill out our portfolio,” he said.

Based on the EMC Symmetrix DMX-3 platform, EMC said the Disk Library 6100 model supports up to 1,440 disk drives and uncompressed capacity of up to 615 terabytes, while the 6300 edition supports 2,400 drives and uncompressed capacity of 584 terabytes. EMC also said the Disk Library has Active Engine Failover, which allows for a second processor engine to take over in the event of a primary processor engine failure.

One analyst said the Disk Library 6000 and Avamar releases demonstrate the growing importance of organizations controlling their storage resources and capacity planning.

“As we’re consolidating with VMware and other server virtualization platforms, Avamar allows us to do that data protection process and de-duplicate the file. It’s pretty important for customers that want to get on a path of storage optimization,” said Brian Babineau, senior analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group. “It’s a system built for the backup process where we’re going to be moving a lot of data and trying to speed up the process. Overall, when you take both the Avamar and the de-duplication abilities, you can store 20 terabytes in 10-terabyte systems.

The storage efficiencies are only going to benefit the customer,” he said. Donatelli also said that while many traditional companies have been using tape-based data backup for decades, it has been an inefficient process.

“Customers don’t want to use tape because it’s slow to backup, it’s slow to recover, and it has reliability issues over time, so ideally, they always want to use disks,” he said. “When we introduced ATA drives in the arrays about three years ago, it became financially viable to put it on disk. When you start to add in de-duplication, the numbers now work. The customers can back up with disks.” Babineau said that while customers will have to pay more for the software platforms, the ultimate benefit will be not buying as much capacity for data backup.

“You’re going to save on capital expenditures on the hardware side of things….What I think is the hard part is getting familiar with the technology and making sure it works,” he said. “There’s plenty of people out there who can benefit by not saving the data twice.”

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