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Trusted Business Advisors, Expert Technology Analysts

Research Areas

Systems

Includes Storage Arrays, NAS, File Systems, Clustered and Distributed File Systems, FC Switches/Directors, HBA, CNA, Routers, Components, Semiconductors, Server Blades.

Taneja Group analysts cover all form and manner of storage arrays, modular and monolithic, enterprise or SMB, large and small, general purpose or specialized. All components that make up the SAN, FC-based or iSCSI-based, and all forms of file servers, including NAS systems based on clustered or distributed file systems, are covered soup to nuts. Our analysts have deep backgrounds in file systems area in particular. Components such as Storage Network Processors, SAS Expanders, FC Controllers are covered here as well. Server Blades coverage straddles this section as well as the Infrastructure Management section above.

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Profile

Optimizing VM Storage Performance & Capacity - Tintri Customers Leverage New Predictive Analytics

Today we are seeing big impacts on storage from the huge increase in the scale of an organization’s important data (e.g. Big Data, Internet Of Things) and the growing size of virtualization clusters (e.g. never-ending VM’s, VDI, cloud-building). In addition, virtualization adoption tends to increase the generalization of IT admins. In particular, IT groups are focusing more on servicing users and applications and no longer want to be just managing infrastructure for infrastructure’s sake. Everything that IT does is becoming interpreted, analyzed, and managed in application/business terms, including storage to optimize the return on their total IT investment. To move forward, an organization’s storage infrastructure not only needs to grow internally smarter, it also needs to become both VM and application aware.

While server virtualization made a lot of things better for the over-taxed IT shop, delivering quality storage services in hypervisor infrastructures with traditional storage created difficult challenges. In response Tintri pioneered per-VM storage infrastructure. The Tintri VMstore has eliminated multiple points of storage friction and pain. In fact, it’s now becoming a mandatory checkbox across the storage market for all arrays to claim some kind of VM-centricity. Unfortunately, traditional arrays are mainly focused on checking off rudimentary support for external hypervisor APIs that only serve to re-package the same old storage. The best fit to today’s (and tomorrow’s) virtual storage requirements will only come from fully engineered VM-centric storage and application-aware approaches as Tintri has done.

However, it’s not enough to simply drop in storage that automatically drives best practice policies and handles today’s needs. We all know change is constant, and key to preparing for both growth and change is having a detailed, properly focused view of today’s large scale environments, along with smart planning tools that help IT both optimize current resources and make the best IT investment decisions going forward. To meet those larger needs, Tintri has rolled out a Tintri Analytics SaaS-based offering that applies big data analytical power to the large scale of their customer’s VMstore VM-aware metrics.

In this report we will look briefly at Tintri’s overall “per-VM” storage approach and then take a deeper look at their new Tintri Analytics offering. The new Tintri Analytics management service further optimizes their app-aware VM storage with advanced VM-centric performance and capacity management. With this new service, Tintri is helping their customers receive greater visibility, insight and analysis over large, cloud-scale virtual operations. We’ll see how “big data” enhanced intelligence provides significant value and differentiation, and get a glimpse of the payback that a predictive approach provides both the virtual admin and application owners. 

Publish date: 11/04/16
Report

Qumulo Tackles the Machine Data Challenge: Six Customers Explain How

We are moving into a new era of data storage. The traditional storage infrastructure that we know (and do not necessarily love) was designed to process and store input from human beings. People input emails, word processing documents and spreadsheets. They created databases and recorded business transactions. Data was stored on tape, workstation hard drives, and over the LAN.

In the second stage of data storage development, humans still produced most content but there was more and more of it, and file sizes got larger and larger. Video and audio, digital imaging, websites streaming entertainment content to millions of users; and no end to data growth. Storage capacity grew to encompass large data volumes and flash became more common in hybrid and all-flash storage systems.

Today, the storage environment has undergone another major change. The major content producers are no longer people, but machines. Storing and processing machine data offers tremendous opportunities: Seismic and weather sensors that may lead to meaningful disaster warnings. Social network diagnostics that display hard evidence of terrorist activity. Connected cars that could slash automotive fatalities. Research breakthroughs around the human brain thanks to advances in microscopy.

However, building storage systems that can store raw machine data and process it is not for the faint of heart. The best solution today is massively scale-out, general purpose NAS. This type of storage system has a single namespace capable of storing billions of differently sized files, linearly scales performance and capacity, and offers data-awareness and real-time analytics using extended metadata.

There are a very few vendors in the world today who offer this solution. One of them is Qumulo. Qumulo’s mission is to provide high volume storage to business and scientific environments that produce massive volumes of machine data.

To gauge how well Qumulo works in the real world of big data, we spoke with six customers from life sciences, media and entertainment, telco/cable/satellite, higher education and the automotive industries. Each customer deals with massive machine-generated data and uses Qumulo to store, manage, and curate mission-critical data volumes 24x7. Customers cited five major benefits to Qumulo: massive scalability, high performance, data-awareness and analytics, extreme reliability, and top-flight customer support.

Read on to see how Qumulo supports large-scale data storage and processing in these mission-critical, intensive machine data environments.

Publish date: 10/26/16
Profile

Petabyte-Scale Backup Storage Without Compromise: A Look at Scality RING for Enterprise Backup

Traditional backup storage is being challenged by the immense growth of data. These solutions including tape, RAID devices that are gated by controllers and dedicated storage appliances simply aren’t designed for today’s enterprise backup storage at petabyte levels, especially when that data lives in geographically distributed environments. This insufficiency is due in large part to inefficiency and limited data protection, as well as the limited scalability and the lack of flexibility of these traditional storage solutions.

These constraints can lead to multiple processes and many storage systems to manage. Storage silos develop as a result, creating complexity, increasing operational costs and adding risk. It is not unusual for companies to have 10-20 different storage systems to achieve petabyte storage capacity, which is inefficient from a management point of view. And if companies want to move data from one storage system to another, the migration process can take a lot of time and place even more demand on data center resources.

And the concerns go beyond management complexity. Companies face higher capital costs due to relatively high priced proprietary storage hardware, and worse, limited fault tolerance, which can lead to data loss if a system incurs simultaneous disk failures. Slow access speeds also present a major challenge if IT teams need to restore large amounts of data from tape while maintaining production environments. As a result, midsized companies, large enterprises and service providers that experience these issues have begun to shift to software-defined storage solutions and scale-out object storage technology that addresses the shortcomings of traditional backup storage.

Software-defined scale out storage is attractive for large-scale data backup because these storage solutions offer linear performance and hardware independence – two core capabilities that drive tremendous scalability and enable cost-effective storage solutions. Add to this the high fault tolerance of object storage platforms, and it’s easy to see why software-defined object storage solutions are rapidly becoming the preferred backup storage approach for petabyte-scale data environments. A recent Taneja Group survey underscores the benefits of software-defined scale out storage. IT professionals indicated that the top benefits of software-defined, scale-out architecture on industry standard servers are a high level of flexibility (34%), low cost of deployment (34%), modular scalability (32%), and ability to purchase hardware separate from software (32%).

Going a step further, the Scality backup storage solution built upon the Scality RING platform offers the rare combination of scalability, durability and affordability plus the flexibility to handle mixed workloads at petabyte-scale. Scality backup storage achieves this by supporting multiple file and object protocols so companies can backup files, objects and VMs, leveraging a scale-out file system that delivers linear performance as system capacity increases, offering advanced data protection for extreme fault tolerance, enabling hardware independence for better price performance and providing auto balancing that enables migration-free hardware upgrades.

In this paper, we will look at the limitations of backup appliances and Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and the key requirements for backup storage at petabyte-scale. We will also study the Scality RING software-defined architecture and provide an overview of the Scality backup storage solution.

Publish date: 10/18/16
Free Reports

For Lowest TCO and Maximum Agility Choose the VMware Cloud Foundation Hybrid SDDC Platform

The race is on at full speed.  What race?  The race to bring public cloud agility and economics to a data center near you. Ever since the first integrated systems came onto the scene in 2010, vendors have been furiously engineering solutions to make on-premises infrastructure as cost effective and as easy to use as the public cloud, while also providing the security, availability, and control that enterprises demand. Fundamentally, two main architectures have evolved within the race to modernize data centers that will create a foundation enabling fully private and hybrid clouds. The first approach uses traditional compute, storage, and networking infrastructure components (traditional 3-tier) overlaid with varying degrees of virtualization and management software. The second more recent approach is to build a fully virtualized data center using industry standard servers and networking and then layer on top of that a full suite of software-based compute, network, and storage virtualization with management software. This approach is often termed a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC).

The goal of an SDDC is to extend virtualization techniques across the entire data center to enable the abstraction, pooling, and automation of all data center resources. This would allow a business to dynamically reallocate any part of the infrastructure for various workload requirements without forklifting hardware or rewiring. VMware has taken SDDC to a new level with VMware Cloud Foundation.  VMware Cloud Foundation is the only unified SDDC platform for the hybrid cloud, which brings together VMware’s compute, storage, and network virtualization into a natively integrated stack that can be deployed on-premises or run as a service from the public cloud. It establishes a common cloud infrastructure foundation that gives customers a unified and consistent operational model across the private and public cloud.

VMware Cloud Foundation delivers an industry-leading SDDC cloud infrastructure by combining VMware’s highly scalable hyper-converged software (vSphere and VSAN) with the industry leading network virtualization platform, NSX. VMware Cloud Foundation comes with unique lifecycle management capabilities (SDDC Manager) that eliminate the overhead of system operations of the cloud infrastructure stack by automating day 0 to day 2 processes such as bring-up, configuration, workload provisioning, and patching/upgrades. As a result, customers can significantly shorten application time to market, boost cloud admin productivity, reduce risk, and lower TCO.  Customers consume VMware Cloud Foundation software in three ways: factory pre-loaded on integrated systems (VxRack 1000 SDDC); deployed on top qualified Ready Nodes from HPE, QCT, Fujitsu, and others in the future, with qualified networking; and run as a service from the public cloud through IBM, vCAN partners, vCloud Air, and more to come.

In this comparative study, Taneja Group performed an in-depth analysis of VMware Cloud Foundation deployed on qualified Ready Nodes and qualified networking versus several traditional 3-tier converged infrastructure (CI) integrated systems and traditional 3-tier do-it-yourself (DIY) systems. We analyzed the capabilities and contrasted key functional differences driven by the various architectural approaches. In addition, we evaluated the key CapEx and OpEx TCO cost components.  Taneja Group configured each traditional 3-tier system's hardware capacity to be as close as possible to the VMware Cloud Foundation qualified hardware capacity.  Further, since none of the 3-tier systems had a fully integrated SDDC software stack, Taneja Group added the missing SDDC software, making it as close as possible to the VMware Cloud Foundation software stack.  The quantitative comparative results from the traditional 3-tier DIY and CI systems were averaged together into one scenario because the hardware and software components are very similar. 

Our analysis concluded that both types of solutions are more than capable of handling a variety of virtualized workload requirements. However, VMware Cloud Foundation has demonstrated a new level of ease-of-use due to its modular scale-out architecture, native integration, and automatic lifecycle management, giving it a strong value proposition when building out modern next generation data centers.  The following are the five key attributes that stood out during the analysis:

  • Native Integration of the SDDC:  VMware Cloud Foundation natively integrates vSphere, Virtual SAN (VSAN), and NSX network virtualization.
  • Simplest operational experience: VMware SDDC Manager automates the life-cycle of the SDDC stack including bring up, configuration, workload provisioning, and patches/upgrades.
  •  
  • Isolated workload domains: VMware Cloud Foundation provides unique administrator tools to flexibly provision subsets of the infrastructure for multi-tenant isolation and security.
  • Modular linear scalability: VMware Cloud Foundation employs an architecture in which capacity can be scaled by the HCI node, by the rack, or by multiple racks. 
  • Seamless Hybrid Cloud: Deploy VMware Cloud Foundation for private cloud and consume on public clouds to create a seamless hybrid cloud with a consistent operational experience.

Taneja Group’s in-depth analysis indicates that VMware Cloud Foundation will enable enterprises to achieve significant cost savings. Hyper-converged infrastructure, used by many web-scale service providers, with natively integrated SDDC software significantly reduced server, storage, and networking costs.  This hardware cost saving more than offset the incremental SDDC software costs needed to deliver the storage and networking capability that typically is provided in hardware from best of breed traditional 3-tier components. In this study, we measured the upfront CapEx and 3 years of support costs for the hardware and software components needed to build out a VMware Cloud Foundation private cloud on qualified Ready Nodes.  In addition, Taneja Group validated a model that demonstrates the labor and time OpEx savings that can be achieved through the use of integrated end-to-end automatic lifecycle management in the VMware SDDC Manager software.

 

By investing in VMware Cloud Foundation, businesses can be assured that their data center infrastructure can be easily consumed, scaled, managed, upgraded and enhanced to provide the best private cloud at the lowest cost. Using a pre-engineered modular, scale-out approach to building at web-scale means infrastructure is added in hours, not days, and businesses can be assured that adding infrastructure scales linearly without complexity.  VMware Cloud Foundation is the only platform that provides a natively integrated unified SDDC platform for the hybrid cloud with end-to-end management and with the flexibility to provision a wide variety of workloads at the push of a button.

In summary, VMware Cloud Foundation enables at least five unparalleled capabilities, generates a 45% lower 3-year TCO than the alternative traditional 3-tier approaches, and delivers a tremendous value proposition when building out a modern hybrid SDDC platform. Before blindly going down the traditional infrastructure approach, companies should take a close look at VMware Cloud Foundation, a unified SDDC platform for the hybrid cloud.

Publish date: 10/17/16
Profile

Towards the Ultimate Goal of IT Resilience: A Look at the Zerto Cloud Continuity Platform

We live in a digital world where online services, applications and data must always be available. Yet the modern data center remains very susceptible to interruptions. These opposing realities are challenging traditional backup applications and disaster recovery solutions and causing companies to rethink what is needed to ensure 100% uptime of their IT environments.

The need for availability goes well beyond recovering from disasters. Companies must be able to rapidly recover from many real world disruptions such as ransomware, device failures and power outages as well as natural disasters. Add to this the dynamic nature of virtualization and cloud computing, and it’s not hard to see the difficulty of providing continuous availability while managing a highly variable IT environment that is susceptible to trouble.

Some companies feel their backup devices will give them adequate data protection and others believe their disaster recovery solutions will help them restore normal business operations if an incident occurs. Regrettably, far too often these solutions fall short of meeting user expectations because they don’t provide the rapid recovery and agility needed for full business continuance.

Fortunately, there is a way to ensure a consistent experience in an inconsistent world. It’s called IT resilience. IT resilience is the ability to ensure business services are always on, applications are available and data is accessible no matter what human errors, events, failures or disasters occur. And true IT resilience goes a step further to provide continuous data protection (CDP), end-to-end recovery automation irrespective of the makeup of a company’s IT environment and the flexibility to evolve IT strategies and incorporate new technology.

Intrigued by the promise of IT resilience, companies are seeking data protection solutions that can withstand any disaster to enable a reliable online experience and excellent business performance. In a recent Taneja Group survey, nearly half the companies selected “high availability and resilient infrastructure” as one of their top two IT priorities. In the same survey, 67% of respondents also indicated that unplanned application downtime compromised their ability to satisfy customer needs, meet partner and supplier commitments and close new business.

This strong customer interest in IT resilience has many data protection vendors talking about “resilience.” Unfortunately, many backup and disaster recovery solutions don’t provide continuous data protection plus hardware independence, strong virtualization support and tight cloud integration. This is a tough combination and presents a big challenge for data protection vendors striving to provide enterprise-grade IT resilience.

There is however one data protection vendor that has replication and disaster recovery technologies designed from the ground up for IT resilience. The Zerto Cloud Continuity Platform built on Zerto Virtual Replication offers CDP, failover (for higher availability), end-to-end process automation, heterogeneous hypervisor support and native cloud integration. As a result, IT resilience with continuous availability, rapid recovery and agility is a core strength of the Zerto Cloud Continuity Platform.

This paper will explore the functionality needed to tackle modern data protection requirements. We will also discuss the challenges of traditional backup and disaster recovery solutions, outline the key aspects of IT resilience and provide an overview of the Zerto Cloud Continuity Platform as well as the hypervisor-based replication that Zerto pioneered.

Publish date: 09/30/16
Report

5 9’s Availability in a Lower Cost Dell SC4020 Product? Yes, Really!

Every year Dell measures the availability level of its Storage Center Series of products by analyzing the actual failure data in the field. For the past few years Dell has asked Taneja Group to audit the results to ensure that these systems were indeed meeting the celebrated 5 9s availability levels. And they have. This year Dell asked us to audit the results specifically on the relatively new model, SC4020.

Even though the SC4020 is a lower cost member of the SC family, it meets 5 9s criteria just like its bigger family members. Dell did not cut costs by sacrificing availability, but by space-saving design like a single enclosure for media and controllers instead of two separate enclosures. Even with the smaller footprint – 2U to the SC8000’s 6U -- the SC4020 still achieves 5 9s using the same strict test measurement criteria.

Frankly, many vendors choose not to subject their lower cost models to 5 9s testing. The vendor may not have put a lot of development dollars into the lower cost product in an effort to reduce cost and maintain profitability on a lower-priced system.

Dell didn’t do it this way with the SC4020. Instead of watering it down by stripping features, they architected high efficiency into a smaller footprint. The resulting array is smaller and more affordable, and retains the SC Series enterprise features: high availability and reliability, performance, centralized management, not only across all SC models but also across the Dell EqualLogic PS and FS models. This level of availability and efficiency makes the SC4020 an economical and highly efficient system for the mid-market and the distributed enterprise.

Publish date: 08/31/16
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