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Dell Storage Center Achieves Greater than Five Nines Availability at Mid-Range Cost

Dell Storage SC Series achieved a five nines (5 9s) availability rating years ago. Now the SC Series is displaying 5 9s and greater with technologies that are moving availability even farther up the scale. This is a big achievement based on real, measurable field data: the only numbers that really count.

Not every piece of data requires 5 9s capability. However, critical Tier 1 applications do need it. Outage costs vary by industry but easily total millions of dollars per hour in highly regulated and data-intensive industries. Some of the organizations in these verticals are enterprises, but many more are mid-sized businesses with exceptionally mission-critical data stores.

Consider such applications as e-commerce systems. Online customers are notorious for abandoning shopping carts even when the application is running smoothly. Downing an e-commerce system can easily cost millions of dollars in lost sales over a few days or hours, not to mention a loss of reputation. Other mission-critical applications that must be available include OLTP, CRM or even email systems.

Web applications present another HA mission. SaaS providers with sales support or finance software can hardly afford downtime. Streaming sites with subscribers also lose large amounts of future revenue if they go down. Many customers will ask for refunds or cancel their subscriptions and never return.

However, most highly available 5 9s systems have large purchase prices and high ongoing expenses. Many small enterprise and mid-sized business cannot afford these high-priced systems or the staff that goes with them. They know they need availability and try to save money and time by buying cheaper systems with 4 9s availability or lower. Their philosophy is that these systems are good enough. And they are good enough for general storage, but not for data whose unavailability quickly spirals up into the millions of dollars. Buying less than 5 9s in this type of environment is a false economy.

Still, even the risk of sub-par availability doesn’t raise the money that a business needs for high-end availability systems. This is where the story gets very interesting. Dell Storage SC Series offers 5 9s and higher availability – and it does it at a mid-range cost. Dell does not sacrifice high availability architecture for a lower CAPEX and OPEX but also provides dynamic scalability, management simplicity, redundant storage, space-saving snapshots and automatic tiering.  Thanks to the architecture behind Dell Storage SC Series, Dell has achieved a unique position in the high availability stakes. 

Publish date: 10/19/15
Report

Business Continuity Best Practices for SMB

Virtualization’s biggest driver is big savings: slashing expenditures on servers, licenses, management, and energy. Another major benefit is the increased ease of disaster recovery and business continuity (DR/BC) in virtualized environments.

Note that disaster recovery and business continuity are closely aligned but not identical. We define disaster recovery as the process of restoring lost data, applications and systems following a profound data loss event, such as a natural disaster, a deliberate data breach or employee negligence. Business continuity takes DR a step further. BC’s goal is not only to recover the computing environment but also to recover them swiftly and with zero data loss. This is where recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO) enter the picture, with IT assigning differing RPO and RTO strategies according to application priority.

DR/BC can be difficult to do well in data centers with traditional physical servers, particularly in SMB with limited IT budgets and generalist IT staff. Many of these servers are siloed with direct-attached storage and individual data protection processes. Mirroring and replication used to require one-to-one hardware correspondence and can be expensive, leading to a universal reliance on localized backup as data protection. In addition, small IT staffs do not always take the time to perfect their backup processes across disparate servers. Either they do not do it at all –rolling the dice and hoping there won’t be a disaster – or they slap backups on tape or USB drives and stick them on a shelf.

Virtualization can transform this environment into a much more efficient and protected data center. Backing up VMs from a handful of host servers is faster and less resource-intensive than backing up tens or hundreds of physical servers. And with scheduled replication, companies achieve faster backup and much improved recovery objectives.

However, many SMBs avoid virtualization. They cite factors such as cost, unfamiliarity with hypervisors, and added complexity. And they are not wrong: virtualization can introduce complexity, it can be expensive, and it can require familiarity with hypervisors. Virtualization cuts down on physical servers but is resource-intensive, especially as the virtualized environment grows. This means capital costs for high performance CPUs and storage. SMBs may also have to deal VM licensing and management costs, administrative burdens, and the challenge of protecting and replicating virtualized data on a strict budget.

For all its complexity and learning curve, is virtualization worth it for SMBs? Definitely. Its benefits far outweigh its problems, particularly its advantages for DR/BC. But for many SMBs, traditional virtualization is often too expensive and complex to warrant the effort. We believe that the answer is HyperConverged Infrastructure: HCI. Of HCI providers, Scale Computing is exceptionally attractive to the SMB. This paper will explain why. 

Publish date: 09/30/15
Report

Unitrends Enterprise Backup 9.0: Simple and Powerful Data Protection for the Whole Data Center

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.

Publish date: 09/17/15
Report

Making Your Virtual Infrastructure Non-Stop with Veritas Products

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.

Publish date: 09/04/15
Report

Redefining the Economics of Enterprise Storage (2015 Update)

Enterprise storage has long delivered superb levels of performance, availability, scalability, and data management.  But enterprise storage has always come at exceptional price, and this has made enterprise storage unobtainable for many use cases and customers. Most recently Dell introduced a new, small footprint storage array – the Dell Storage SC Series powered by Compellent technology – that continues to leverage proven Dell Compellent technology using Intel technology in an all-new form factor. The SC4020 also introduces the most dense Compellent product ever, an all-in-one storage array that includes 24 drive bays and dual controllers in only 2 rack units of space.  While the Intel powered SC4020 has more modest scalability than current Compellent products, this array marks a radical shift in the pricing of Dell’s enterprise technology, and is aiming to open up Dell Compellent storage technology for an entire market of smaller customers as well as large customer use cases where enterprise storage was too expensive before.

Publish date: 06/30/15
Report

The Promise of VM-Centric Storage and VVols: Tintri VMstore Delivers the Future Promise Now

The din surrounding VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVols) is deafening. It started in 2011 when VMware announced the concept of VVols and the storage industry reacted with enthusiasm and culminated with its introduction as part of vSphere 6 release in April 2015. Viewed simply, VVols is an API that enables storage arrays that support the functionality to provision and manage storage at the granularity of a VM, rather than LUNs or Volumes or mount points, as they do today. Without question, VVols is an incredibly powerful concept and will fundamentally change the interaction between storage and VMs in a way not seen since the concept of server virtualization first came to market. No surprise then that each and every storage vendor in the market is feverishly trying to build in VVols support and competing on the superiority of their implementation.

Yet one storage player, Tintri, has been delivering products with VM-centric features for four years without the benefit of VVols. How can this be so? How could Tintri do this? And what does it mean for them now that VVols are here? To do justice to this question we will briefly look at what VVols are and how they work and then dive into how Tintri has delivered the benefits of VVols for several years. We will also look at what the buyer of Tintri gets today and how Tintri plans to integrate VVols. Read on…

Publish date: 06/26/15
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