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Trusted Business Advisors, Expert Technology Analysts

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Technology Validation

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Technology Validation

Acronis vmProtect 7: Virtual Backup: Twice as easy, with half the overhead

A Speed, Efficiency, and Ease-of-Use Shoot-out with Acronis vmProtect 7

Over the span of a couple of years, a new type of data protection has rapidly emerged and become a center-stage requirement for businesses of all sizes. The technology is virtual machine (VM) backup, and with the rise of virtualization, it has become nearly mandatory for businesses to consider VM backup if they are deploying any type of server virtualization.

There are two reasons for this:

First, traditional backup is too resource intensive for the virtual infrastructure. It runs into bottlenecks such as simultaneous CPU, memory load, and network and storage IO. Pulling backup data across networks and storage fabrics is no small task. Using traditional backup agents to pull data for 20 or 30 virtual machines across the limited Ethernet and/or Fiber Channel ports of a single physical server can make backup nearly impossible, especially during limited windows of time during which daily backup must take place. 

Second, virtualization opens up new opportunities to perform more efficient backup. Technologies like VMware vSphere snapshots with guest OS integration and Changed Block Tracking (CBT) can be used to create backups that are faster, more capacity efficient, and more easily executed than ever before. The leading vendors in this space have vastly extended virtual backup capabilities through features like instant boot from backup, easy replication and data movement, and more.

It is of little surprise that backup in the virtual age has changed. Virtual Backup has rapidly become a highly versatile, easy-to-use toolset that no longer requires a standalone specialized infrastructure and a team of dedicated experts in the datacenter. Backup can now unlock many opportunities for the administrator to easily reuse and repurpose VMs, while maintaining seamless data protection.

With this in mind, we have closely monitored the virtual data protection market over the past few years, with an eye toward how vendors competitively stand up to each other, and where leadership is happening. From time-to-time, we have further examined the capabilities of specific vendors with hands-on testing. Not long ago, we evaluated the capabilities of Acronis vmProtect 6 against the closest competition, and discovered a significant performance advantage. In the past six months, as both the virtual infrastructure itself and backup vendor products have introduced a slew of new features, we expected vendor performance to leap ahead, but become much more closely matched as they approach the limits of efficiency optimizations.

Publish date: 05/21/12
Technology Validation

StorSimple – Storing data the right way

In this Taneja Group Technology Validation exercise, we put an innovative new array to the test to see just what was possible when a vendor stretches their wings and takes on much more than another version of storage done the same old way.

The vendor in this case is StorSimple, and what they propose is that a single storage system can do everything, while doing it more cost effectively, and with almost zero footprint in the data center. While that may sound like an almost unbelievable set of capabilities on the surface, what StorSimple has done is integrate cloud storage over the Internet behind a primary storage array for a truly unique set of capabilities. By coupling the two together, StorSimple unlocks infinite storage capacity, a small form factor, utter simplicity, and the tools to automatically protect data in place, forever. We anticipate this will hit home with a lot of customers – no more migration, no more backup, and built in DR finally makes storage seem like a technology that matches the needs of today’s business.

Join us in this Technology Validation report as we see if StorSimple’s promises hold true, and just what those promises look poised to do for today’s data center.

Publish date: 07/19/11
Technology Validation

EVault from i365 – Lab Validating EVault Endpoint Protection

In this Taneja Group Technology Validation exercise, we put an endpoint protection solution – EVault Endpoint Protection, a solution from i365, a Seagate company – to the test. Could the recently released, completely hosted (on top of the elastic Microsoft Windows Azure cloud) EVault Endpoint Protection suite be as quick to deploy and easy to use as i365 claims? To find out, we put the suite through the paces at a remote site – in essence simulating exactly what an EVault customer would see and do when they sign up for this cloud service. What did we find? Our conclusion is that it is easier and faster to protect the business with EVault Endpoint Protection than with anything else we’ve seen.

Publish date: 07/07/11
Technology Validation

NetApp SAN Efficiency

Storage efficiency is often bandied about in realms of archive and deduplication, but storage efficiency should be front and center when it comes to the golden tier of enterprise storage – primary storage. That is after all the most expensive storage resource in the data center. The problem is, few vendors have been able to do very much about storage efficiency without messing with the IOPs, raw throughput, low latency, and controller processing power that are the most precious components of enterprise storage. NetApp claims they think different here, and because they think different, they claim the storage architecture they’ve built - that delivers unified multiprotocol single system storage across the entire family of NetApp FAS systems - can deliver efficiency beyond the competition. In this Technology Validation, we took a FAS3270 infrastructure through a series of hands-on tests that made it clear that efficiency runs deep in the NetApp storage portfolio.

Publish date: 04/25/11
Technology Validation

Hypervisor Shootout: Maximizing Workload Density in the Virtualization Platform

Twice in 2009, Taneja Group benchmarked the performance of the leading hypervisor platforms, with an eye to understanding which offered the best virtual machine (VM) densities, and we are pleased to update our findings in this new Technology Validation report. Our testing again focused on VM Density, which is our measure of the number of VMs that can run simultaneously—executing a well-defined set of consistent application workloads—on a single hypervisor instance without disruptive performance impact (service-level breach). This time we expanded our testing to include the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 Kernel-Based Virtual Machine (RHEL 5.5 KVM) in addition to the latest available generation of vendor hypervisors: VMware vSphere 4.1 (ESXi 4.1), Microsoft Hyper-V R2 (Hyper-V) and Citrix XenServer 5.6 (XenServer).

Publish date: 08/28/10
Technology Validation

EqualLogic Outperforms Competitive SANs under Heavily Virtualized Exchange 2010 Workloads

The claims of storage vendors vary widely, and this is certainly the case among iSCSI vendors, where architectures and capabilities can be very different. Dell has long claimed that the EqualLogic storage family leverages tried and true internal capabilities to deliver distinctly better ease of use and performance without requiring convoluted or time-consuming configuration efforts.  And, they claim, they’ve integrated these proven capabilities into a comprehensive storage infrastructure—based on their elastic pool technology—that also delivers more scalability than their competitors. With these claims in mind, Taneja Group set out to examine Dell’s differentiation in the midst of a crowded and rapidly growing field. To do this, we performed hands-on validation of a Dell EqualLogic PS Series iSCSI SAN array against a leading competitive iSCSI array and a second leading Fibre Channel array.

Publish date: 06/16/10
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