Implementing better backup can consolidate storage, not just data protection storage but all storage. Every data center wants to reduce the number of storage systems it supports and eliminate storage migrations. The challenge is finding a solution that can address all workloads and protocols while also waiting until various storage assets are ready for replacement. As a result, storage consolidation projects often never get out of the starting gate. StorONE offers a unique solution, S1:Backup, that starts by consolidating and improving backup storage and then evolves to consolidating production storage and cloud workloads.
Another challenge that storage consolidation through better backup resolves is risks. Moving to a single storage platform means committing multiple storage workloads to a single, often unfamiliar, storage vendor. The S1:Backup solution removes risk from the process. It enables IT to learn the new storage system while also placing it under real-world stress that workload generators can’t simulate.
Better Backup Needs Consolidation Capabilities
The first step for better backup to consolidate storage is to ensure that the potential solution can deliver the end-game; complete storage consolidation. Achieving the long-term goal of consolidation requires that the solution can cost-effectively meet production workloads’ performance demands and the backup processes capacity demands. Equally important is data integrity and protection from media failure. Finally, the solution also must support all the various protocols like block, file, and object.
Better Backup Results
Of course, the next step is delivering a better backup experience. Today’s backup software solutions like Commvault and Veeam are fundamentally different than legacy products. They support block-level incremental backups as well as “instant recoveries”, which instantiate virtual machines on backup storage. The data is no longer exclusively a sequential IO stream. There is now a degree of randomness to the data.
The performance of the backup storage today is more critical than ever. Not only does it need to ingest data at high speeds, but it also needs to act as production storage for any instantiated VM. The use of flash to both to stage writes to the hard disk tier and host instantiated VMs enables incredibly high ingest rates and production-class performance when the software instantiates the VM on backup storage.
Since the StorONE solution can evolve into an enterprise-class storage system, it also provides complete protection from controller or media failure. Instantly recovered VMs will benefit from the full enterprise-class features like snapshots and replication.
The initial use case is, of course, backup, so that means the solution has to be affordable. StorONE bundled solutions provide the best $ per GB value in the industry today. For example, a system with 30TB of Flash and 500TB of HDD is only $99,000.
From Better Backup to Better Consolidation
The next step is for the solution to evolve into a production-class storage consolidation platform. The most logical way to attack a big project like consolidation is one step at a time. We’d suggest looking at the next production storage system set to come off maintenance, and as it does start moving workloads to, what was the backup appliance. Then repeat the process as other storage systems in your environment continue to reach their end of life.
As we move from backup-only workloads to production-class workloads, you may need to add more flash capacity to meet performance demands and additional hard disk capacity to meet production storage capacity demands. These additions are quickly made, without downtime, by adding expansion shelves and software license upgrades.
There is no requirement to upgrade the storage controllers. The same controllers that deliver high capacity can also simultaneously deliver high performance. That is one of the values of having a storage software platform written from scratch for efficient hardware utilization.
From Better Backup to Backup Replacement
The final step is to come full circle and replace backup in its entirety. Our vRAID will protect your data from media failure and provide the industry best rebuild times. Once all production workloads are on StorONE, you can leverage our advanced snapshots capabilities to take snapshots as frequently as every three minutes and retain those snapshots indefinitely, without impacting performance.
The “3-2-1” Rule of Backup states to qualify as a solution, our platform must provide three or more copies of data, with two copies that are independent of each other, and one copy that should be off-site. Our snapshots more than meet the three copies of the data requirement. Combined with separate snapshot copies on the remote site, our replication capability easily meets the one copy off-site part of the rule.
You can meet the two independent copies requirement by running an occasional backup with your software, or StorONE can meet this requirement by itself. Our customers can implement a second StorONE cluster within the data center and replicate to that system, maintaining a separate snapshot schedule on-premises. This process more than meets the “two” part of the rule and backup software is then disconnected and delicensed, further saving the IT budget.
Storage Consolidation projects typically fail because they require too big of a commitment up front, and the solution is too restrictive. To embrace consolidation, customers must “go big or go home” and eliminate five of six workloads upfront. At StorONE, we believe in letting customers go at their own pace. Better backup can consolidate storage by starting with a low-risk workload like backup, or a workload where you know the storage is coming off maintenance. Then add use cases as the need arises and gain confidence in our software.
To learn more about starting consolidation with backup, watch our virtual whiteboard session, “Building a Better Backup Appliance.”