A storage startup wants to make snapshots in vogue again.
San Francisco’s Reduxio Systems launched the first in its line of enterprise storage offers at VMworld. Its HX 550 Flash Hybrid Storage system includes an application management and recovery feature it calls BackDating. CEO and co-founder Mark Weiner said the feature is even better than the traditional storage snapshot feature, which has not seen any innovation in years.
Reduxio’s storage systems use the company’s TimeOS with a metadata architecture that tracks all I/O operations to the storage, he said, and BackDating provide a mechanism to recover data right down to the second in the history in any volume. This means there is no need to manage or set schedules for snapshots. “We keep track of every block in the system when it is put on disk and where,” he said. “When you need a snapshot, you roll back to that section of the data.”
It was NetApp that popularized snapshots, noted Weiner, but said there has been little to no innovation with snapshot feature in the past 20 years because everyone was on the same platform – hard disk drives. A number of companies played around with snapshots in the ‘90s, but it was NetApp that really took the technology and ran it with it.
Since then, IT departments have seen the rise of virtual machines, consolidation and the decoupling of hardware and software, said Weiner, as well as new storage media in the form of flash. “Computer rooms are full of servers full of decoupled virtual machines with snapshots that are impossible to manage.”
Determining when to take snapshot becomes onerous, said Weiner, and snapshots can have negative impact on the performance of the storage. In order to implement snapshots to the second, Weiner said it was necessary to build it in to the OS right from the get go. “It’s a much lower level activity,” he said. “We had to think about doing it up front. It had to come from a new company.”
To be clear, Reduxio is not the only flash storage array maker to offer a snapshot capability. Kaminario, for example, includes snapshot capabilities in its K2 storage array. In addition, snapshots do solve the issue of data recovery from solid state storage. The Storage Networking Industry Association announced at the recent Flash Memory Summit the creation of a new Special Interest Group around Data Recovery/Erase to foster development of tools and standards. Data recovery from SSDs is challenging as the features the help increase the longevity of the drives keep moving data around, making it difficult to resurrect data.