The Software Defined Storage Revolution is Here: Discover Your Options

The Software Defined Storage Revolution is Here: Discover Your Options

Here are some of the highlights of this session I attended

3 different types of SDS

  1. Retrofit SDS
    1. SDS in name only
    2. Not Scale Out or pay as you grow
    3. Can’t do Hyperconverged
  2. Vertically Integrated
    1. Ease of Use
    2. Managed by VM Admin
    3. Optimize resources at signal platform level
    4. Homogenous VM and heterogeneous workload
  3. General Purpose
    1. Flexibility, performance, efficiency paramount
    2. Managed by VM/Storage admin
    3. Optimize resources across Data Center
    4. Heterogeneous VM/OS, heterogeneous workload

VMware vSAN Design Point

  • VM-Centric management
  • Integrated with vCenter
  • x86 Server independent

vSAN Feature Progress

  • Native Security
  • Always-On Protection
  • Enhanced Stretched Clusters
  • Cloud Analytics
  • Intelligent Operations
  • Higher Performance
  • VUM Integration

vSAN Deployment Options

  • Dell EMC VxRail Appliance
  • VMware vSAN Ready Nodes

Dell EMC ScaleIO

  • Abstract – Pool – Automate
    • Abstract the local storage out of each server including, HDD, SSD and NVMe
    • Pools all the storage resources together, leaving no resources standard
    • Automatically allocates and balances resources based upon each application need
  • ScaleIO Data Client and Data server running on any x86 server
    • SDC servers the I/O request of the resident host application
      • Block driver
      • Installed in the hypervisor kernel
    • Deploy ScaleIO your way
      • Traditional Two-layer server and storage
      • One layer co-resident
      • Modern and traditional mixed
    • Consume ScaleIO Your Way
      • Build
        • ScaleIO software
      • Buy and Build
        • ScaleIO ready Node
      • Buy
        • VxRack System FLEX
      • ScaleIO is ideal for
        • Array Consolidation
        • Private Cloud
        • OpenStack/DevOps/Containers


Cohesity Orion 5.0 Overview

Cohesity has just announced Orion 5.0 and I wanted to give an overview of the release below.  I plan to do a few more posts going in-depth on each topic.

C3000 Dense Storage Nodes

  • Up to 183TB raw in a 2U node
  • Capacity optimized for data-intensive workloads
  • Can be added into a cluster that has C2000
  • Intelligent data placement
    • Data intensive workloads go on the C3000
    • Compute intensive workloads on C2000

Files and Objects

  • Multiprotocol access
    • NFS, SMB, S3 access
  • Global deduplication
    • Only globally deduped S3 object storage
  • Global indexing and Google-like search
  • User and file system quotas with audit logs

Data Protection

  • Hyper Visor Support now includes:
    • Hyper-V 2012R2, 2016
    • AHV
    • KVM
    • vSphere 6.5
  • Database protection now includes:
    • Oracle RMAN with RAC and ASM
    • MS SQL with Windows clustering, AAG
    • Either Physical or Virtual
    • Able to quickly clone and copy and attach those to other database instances
  • NAS Support with the ability to Snapshot based data protection now includes:
    • Pure FlashBlade
    • NetApp
    • Isilon
  • Physical Support:
    • File and volume level backup for Linux
    • Bare-metal restore for Windows


  • Integrate with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud
  • 3 different ways
    • Cloud Archive or replacing Tape with Cloud
    • Cloud Tier
      • Base data temporarily in the cloud
    • Cloud Replicate
      • Replicate to Cohesity DataPlatform Cloud Edition
      • GA on Azure
      • Limited Availability on AWS

SpanFS and SnapTree

  • 3 key layers to SpanFS
    • Access
      • This is where you support, NFS, SMB, S3 and DataProtection
    • Metadata Store
      • SnapTree
      • Consistent NoSQL Store
      • The IO Engine lives at this layer as well
    • Data Store
      • SSDs
      • HDD
      • Cloud Storage

You can find out more at

Avamar 7.5 is GA!!

Avamar 7.5 is now GA and I wanted to share the New Features.  Below is a list of exciting new things like AWS support and Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery.

Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery

Avamar 7.5 includes support for Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery. The Data Domain Cloud Disaster Recovery (DD Cloud DR) solution facilitates the disaster recovery of on-premises virtual machines by providing the capability to recover VMs in the cloud. DD Cloud DR integrates with existing on-premises backup software and Data Domain to copy backups of virtual machine data to the public cloud. It can then perform DR tests or failover of production environments by orchestrating a complete conversion of the VM to an Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance, and by running this instance in the cloud.

Avamar Virtual Edition for Amazon Web Services

The Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE) is now available for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Support for AVE with Data Domain Virtual Edition (DDVE) is also supported for the AWS and Azure versions of AVE.

Data Domain integration

  • DDOS 6.1
  • Data Domain Cloud Tier DR support

ESRS integration

Usage Intelligence collects and transfers reporting information to Avamar Support via the ESRS gateway.

Security enhancements

  • Security
  • 775 certificates
  • LDAP-S Support
  • Default to SHA-2 certificates
  • Disable TLS 1.0/1.1

Data Protection Central

Avamar support from the Data Protection Central

Migration enhancements

We now have the option when doing migration to select a range of dates to determine what backups should be migrated.

Backup clients features and changes

New client support in Avamar 7.5:

  • Ubuntu 16.04

New features and changes for the Avamar NDMP Accelerator

Support for the following product releases:

  • Unity OE 4.2
  • Isilon OneFS
  • Oracle ZFS 8.6.5

New features and changes for Microsoft application plug-ins

  • Data Domain token-based authentication now supported for Microsoft application plug-ins. This requires that both the server and clients be at release 7.5. Clients prior to release 7.5 will fail if token-based authentication is enabled on the Data Domain system.
  • Hyper-V—Granular Level Recovery for Microsoft Applications.
  • SQL—-Promotion to full is indicated in the Activity Window of the Avamar Administrator with the status Completed with Promotion.
  • Exchange— Improved Exchange backup and restore performance. The Exchange plug-in has been enhanced to intelligently discover relevant log files, and back up only those logs. This results in:
    • Improved Backup time.
    • Less storage space for each backup.
    • Improved GLR Browsing and restore time.

For backups that were made by a version of the Exchange plug-in prior to release 7.5, use the use_restore_logs_range=true backup option in the avexchglr.cmd file to restore only the relevant log files. Setting this option to true will enhance GLR Browse and restore times for these backups.

New features for VMware plug-in and the vSphere Web Client

  • Improvements to File Level Recovery
    • Support for XFS file systems
    • Support XFS on linear LVM logical volume
    • Support XFS on partition disk (XFS on-disk format version 5 is not supported in this release.)
    • End user recovery enabled from the FLR Web UI
    • Restore ACLs from the FLR Web UI
    • Scale improvements to the FLR Web UI
  • Most recent backup and most recent successful backup information now displayed in vSphere.
  • Ability to exclude the Windows page file (pagefile.sys) from the backup

Openstack DPE

  • Support for CBT.

New features in RecoverPoint for VMs 5.1

DellEMC has recently released RecoverPoint for VMs 5.1 and below is an overview of the new features.  Feel free to look through the release notes on all the 5.1 changes.

Scale and performance improvements

RecoverPoint for VMs provides enhanced scale-out ability for a cluster of Bronze+ (2 vCPU/8GB RAM) vRPAs:

  • Protect up to 8,000 VMs per vCenter
  • Protect up to 1,000 VMs per vRPA cluster
  • Manage up to 256 consistency groups by a single vRPA cluster

RecoverPoint for VMs achieves 100 percent across-the-board improvements in performance.

RecoverPoint for VMs improved CPU and memory usage when compression is enabled.

Deployment process improvements

RecoverPoint for VMs provides the following improvements with the deployment process:

  • Improved the vRPA cluster deployment success rate, by simplifying the network configuration process and adding validations and automation of the deployment flow.
  • The vRPA cluster connection flow is easy and robust, providing an intuitive flow and automated or guided resolution of issues.
  • Installation of a new vRPA cluster is successful without requesting customers to run any cleanup procedures as a pre-requisite.
  • Tolerance to past installations: Failed operations (deployment, site connect, maintenance) leave the environment in a state that is ready for additional operation tries.

Orchestration enhancements

RecoverPoint for VMs includes the following orchestration enhancements:

  • Predefined failover networks: Users can now easily define copy VM networks to be used after failover or during copy testing, or use the networks that are automatically assigned by the system.
  • Protected VM resource reservation enhancement
  • Ability to enable access to a copy VM without powering it up
  • Improvements in dynamic IP network configuration
  • Enables recovery flows to be an easy and robust operation
  • Provides the user clear status indications throughout the operation execution of image access or recovery flows.

RecoverPoint for VMs Deployer usability improvements

The RecoverPoint for VMs Deployer includes usability improvements in these areas:

  • Deployment flow in Install a vRPA cluster wizard
  • Connection flow in Connect vRPA clusters wizard
  • System validation of network and connection settings
  • Error prevention and handling
  • Log collection capability in Settings menu
  • User-friendly informational, warning, and error messages
  • Consistent display of lists and tables

Security improvements

RecoverPoint for VMs includes the following security improvements:

  • Improvements in certificate handling
  • Crypto hardening – User can set the minimum TLS protocol version to be supported by the RPA web server

Replication of hardware changes

The production VM network adapter, network type, and MAC address are now all replicated by default to copy VMs.

Removing the need for a Shadow VM

In this version, DellEMC eliminated the usage of a Shadow VM when replicating VMs in VMware’s vCenter. The advantages are lower resources used, and the number of copy VM reconfigure tasks performed by RecoverPoint for VMs is reduced to a single reconfigure. After upgrading to 5.1 and later, shadow VMs are automatically removed after the upgrade is complete.

New features in RecoverPoint 5.1

DellEMC has recently released RecoverPoint 5.1 and below is an overview of the new features.  Feel free to look through the release notes on all the 5.1 changes.

Security improvements

This version of RecoverPoint includes the following security improvements:

  • Improvements in certificate handling
  • Crypto hardening – User can set the minimum TLS protocol version to be supported by the RPA web server

Support for RecoverPoint replication of VMAX3 and VMAX/AF arrays

This version includes support for RecoverPoint replication of VMAX3 and VMAX/AF arrays, including:

  • VMAX3/AF at production, replica, or both
  • Snap-based replication at the production copy, based on Symmetrix SnapVX, with snapshots as frequent as every minute
  • Journaling at the replica copies, enabling point-in-time recovery
  • Up to four replica copies

Improved integration with XtremIO arrays

The following features improve how RecoverPoint protects XtremIO arrays:

  • Added support for automatic provisioning of journal volumes.
  • Added support for copy volume auto-matching (from the GUI only).
  • Added support for registration of arrays with no exposed volumes.
  • Added support for registration of RPA initiators. The initiators are created automatically even when there are already Initiator Groups for RecoverPoint.

Rubrik 4.0 – Alta

Rubrik 4.0 has release and I want to give an overview of the new features. Rubrik continues to develop and is meeting my expectations as a great Backup technology!!

Hyper-V Support

The following options are available for Hyper-V 2016 with Native API (WMI) Support

  • Auto Protect
  • Failover Cluster Support
  • Agentless backups
  • Incremental Forever
  • Live Mount
  • Instant Recovery
  • Search

The following options are available for Hyper-V version below 2016 with Connectors based support

  • Incremental Forever
  • Search

Nutanix AHV Support

  • Automated protection and restore workflow
  • Securely replicate or archive to other sites
  • Rubrik Core Capabilities – global search, erasure coding, reporting
  • Scale as you need
  • Pick your hypervisor: Acropolis, ESXi or Hyper-V

Oracle Support

  • Rusbrik Cluster is now a NAS target for Oracle RMAN with an agentless approach.
  • RMAN manages Backup and Restore for DB and Redo logs. Support for Incremental Merge –advanced RMAN feature.
  • Multi-channel support, ingest to flash for fast backup/ingest.
  • Recovery and DR through RMAN

Cloud Instantiation

  • Enables customers to power-on snapshot of a VM on the cloud
  • Instance type recommendation based on VM config file
  • 2-click deployment and end-to-end orchestration
  • UI Integration to launch, power off or de-provision an instance

SQL Server Live Mount

  • Power on read/write clones instantaneously
  • Provision a clone to any desired Point in Time
  • Mount same database across multiple hosts
  • RestAPI’sallow to automate workflows
  • Self Service using RBAC

Archive to Tape

  • Uses QStar to expose tape library as NFS/SMB share
  • Each Tape vendor has their proprietary interface
  • QStar presents a common interface irrespective of tape vendor
  • Supports Industry Standard LTFS format

Other Feature add

  • NFS Archive Encryption
  • Custom TLS Certificate – Web UI

ScaleIO Fundamentals – ScaleIO Data Sever (SDS) and ScaleIO Data Client (SDC)

The next part of ScaleIO that I want to cover is the ScaleIO Data Server (SDS) and the ScaleIO Data Client (SDC).  These components provide the storage as well as access the storage in ScaleIO.  You could consider the SDS as storage and SDC as a host, but they can reside on the same server.

The ScaleIO Data Server (SDS) – A software daemon that enables a server in the ScaleIO cluster to contribute its local storage to ScaleIO Storage. An instance of the SDS runs on every server that contributes some or all of its local storage space, which can be HDDs, SSDs, or PCIe flash cards to the aggregated pool of storage within the ScaleIO virtual SAN. The SDS manages the capacity of a single server and performs the Backend I/O.  You have SDS only nodes, where the node just serves out storage, or you can have a node that is both a SDS and SDC.

The ScaleIO Data Client (SDC) – A lightweight block device driver that gives the capability to access ScaleIO shared block volumes to applications. The SDC runs on the same server as the application.  The SDC communicates with other node over TCP/IP-based protocol and it is fully routable. When installed in a server, it presents ScaleIO volumes as block devices to any application on the server. Note that the SDC is a Block device driver that can run alongside other Block device drivers. The only I/Os in the stack that are intercepted by the SDC are those I/Os that are directed at the volumes that belong to ScaleIO. There is no interference with I/Os directed at traditional SAN LUNs that are not part of the ScaleIO. Users may modify the default ScaleIO configuration parameter to allow two SDCs to access the same data. The SDC is the only ScaleIO component that applications see in the data path.

On the next post I will go into some more of the fundamental terms and start getting deeper into the technology.