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Hey B. J., “Oh Pullleeeese!”

by Administrator on February 22, 2011

While I was out wandering the world (well, Europe, at least), my inbox filled up with second tier mail that I didn’t read immediately. This one slipped past me…from January 18.

NEW YORK–January 18, 2011 – EMC® Corporation (NYSE:EMC), the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced the EMC Data Domain® Archiver, the industry’s first long term retention system for backup and archive. Using DD Archiver, customers can employ a single disk-based deduplication storage system to address both their operational backup needs and long term data retention requirements. The system delivers new operational efficiencies while eliminating the costs and complexities associated with a tape-based data retention approach. The new DD Archiver is based on industry leading Data Domain systems and uses active and archive storage tiers united by a single namespace for cost-effective retention of backup and archive data for seven or more years.

Background and Market Landscape

The introduction of the new Data Domain Archiver completely changes users’ existing choices when it comes to the long term retention of backup and archive data. Operational backup and recovery typically involves data retention periods of weeks or months, whereas long term retention of data is measured in multiple months or years. Today’s most common method of extended data retention is to keep tapes made for backups longer. In addition to creating a separate and very manual process, this choice carries distinct recovery risks and costs for users. Over the last few years, disk-based backup with deduplication has become the best practice for backup and operational recovery. DD Archiver users can choose to extend the retention period of their data without compromising backup performance while maintaining the cost optimization and automation required to further reduce the use of tape.

New Product Highlights

DD Archiver incorporates the controller from the new EMC Data Domain DD860 and other common Data Domain design elements to optimize performance, manageability, and reliability across a single namespace.

With up to 9.8 TB per hour of throughput, DD Archiver delivers the speed required to first and foremost meet backup windows.

A tiered-storage design enables policy-driven movement of aging data from an active tier to a highly scalable archive tier.

Offers up to 768 TB of raw capacity that can be allocated between tiers to balance user requirements of performance and retention.

Incorporates unique capabilities such as logical partitioning of older data for fault isolation, an upgrade and migration architecture, a more granular disaster recovery configuration, and the familiar Data Domain Data Invulnerability Architecture—all of which are required elements in a system that is designed for the long term retention of backup and archive data.
DD Archiver supports today’s most common data archiving method, which is long term retention of backups, as well as the increasing adoption of archiving workloads. Among many supported data movers and workloads, DD Archiver can also be leveraged with popular archiving solutions such as EMC SourceOne and EMC File Management Appliance.

Customer Quote

“The EMC Data Domain Archiver is another example of EMC’s industry leading innovation. Our company chose EMC Data Domain deduplication storage systems because they are easy to implement and provided a near instantaneous return on our investment by significantly reducing tape-based backups and recoveries. The DD Archiver positions our company to completely eliminate tape and to handle long term retention data intelligently. I was particularly impressed with the system’s architecture. By using the concept of archive units, DD Archiver is able to scale and store mass amounts of backup and archive data behind a single controller while protecting the data with innovative fault isolation capabilities. EMC has introduced another ground-breaking product.”

-Brian Doyle, Senior Systems Administrator for a leading educational financial planning corporation

Industry Analyst Quote

“Recent Gartner user research indicated that over 60% of large enterprises will be investing in data archiving or retirement by the end of 2011 to address the data growth challenge.* Existing tape and disk-based systems may not have the backup throughput or deduplication capabilities to make a meaningful difference in the way users deal with these challenges concurrently. By considering long term retention of backup and archive data in a single system, users will be able to meet their backup windows and quickly and easily respond to archiving demands.”
-Sheila Childs, Research Director, Gartner

Executive Quote

“Over the past few years, thousands of enterprise customers have successfully leveraged Data Domain systems to reinvent their backup infrastructure while drastically reducing their use of tape in the process. With the EMC Data Domain Archiver, those same customers can now extend their backup redesign efforts to address long-term data retention requirements—all on a single disk-based deduplication storage system. This is a fantastically simple and cost-effective approach for customers, and the solution is based on the industry’s leading deduplication storage solution.”

-BJ Jenkins, President, EMC Backup Recovery Systems Division

*Reference: Gartner, Inc., User Survey Analysis: Key Trends Shaping the Future of Data Center Infrastructure Through 2011, A. Adams, N. Mishra, October 22, 2010

Hey, B. J., this release really sucks on so many levels, it is hard to sort out coherently — but I’ll try.

First of all, you guys managed to pull down the only valid and real world critique of DD, made by AT&T at last year’s IT Executive Summit in Austin, TX.  In the presentation from that event, which was videotaped and placed on the web until EMC pressured FujiFilm to take it down (or was it AT&T that you choked), a customer of yours who is otherwise predisposed toward EMC rigs explained why, after a year of testing, he was kicking the DD boxes to the curb.  To my knowledge, none of his concerns have been addressed in the latest version of the rig.

Second, your new throughput and capacity numbers are meaningless.  Dedupe isn’t one size fits all, it only applies to data that avails itself to dedupe — like nightly full backups. 

Third, a decent tape library delivers more throughput and much more (virtually limitless) capacity than does your solution — in the same footprint and consuming far less energy.  Just for your edification, Spectra Logic’s T-Finity library supports these numbers:

From the Spectra Logic T-Finity slick sheet

Highest storage density in the world.
121 TB/hour with LTO 5.
Up to 93 PB of storage capacity.
30,000 Cartridge slots per frame.
Multiple redundant robotics.

Combine that with new tape cartridge capacities coming from FujiFilm’s groundbreaking Barium Ferrite media, starting with the Oracle/Sun cartridge announcement from January 31:

FUJIFILM TO MANUFACTURE 5TB TAPE CARTRIDGE FOR ORACLE’S STORAGETEK T10000C DRIVE USING RECORD-BREAKING BARIUM-FERRITE PARTICLE

World Record Storage Capacity on Linear Magnetic Tape Using Fujifilm’s BaFe Particle and NANOCUBIC-based Media

Valhalla, N.Y., January 31, 2011 – FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. today announced that they will manufacture the data cartridge for Oracle’s newest enterprise tape drive, StorageTek T10000C. The StorageTek T10000C data cartridge is manufactured using Fujifilm’s unique Barium-Ferrite (BaFe) particle and has a native storage capacity of 5.0TB and supports a native transfer speed of 240MB per second. This is a capacity increase of five times the current 1.0TB StorageTek T10000B drive.

“Fujifilm is pleased to have worked with Oracle to bring to market the highest capacity tape drive in the industry, “said Norio Shibata, CEO and president, FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. “ Fujifilm is paving the way with Barium Ferrite technology, which enables higher recording density with the proven reliability and stability expected from long-term archive media. Oracle’s adoption of this advanced media shows their strong commitment to tape innovation.”

Ahead of other tape manufacturers, Fujifilm has advanced the development of BaFe particles and BaFe based tape to achieve capacity enhancements, superior storage performance and long-term archivability resulting in the industry’s largest tape cartridge.

“Changes in regulatory compliance and expansion in storage technology such as cloud computing has prompted the amount of data for back-up and archive to consistently increase,” said Peter Faulhaber, senior vice president of sales and marketing, FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. “Fujifilm’s Barium-Ferrite particle will meet these demands and we are pleased to provide this technology for the manufacture of Oracle’s StorageTek T10000C data cartridges.”

The StorageTek T10000C drive combined with Oracle’s StorageTek SL8500 Modular Library System is the first storage solution to scale to an exabyte (using 2:1 compression). The StorageTek T10000C tape drive offers data center managers investment protection by reducing downtime, simplifying data center consolidation and improving total cost of ownership.

“This is a milestone in tape data storage and Oracle is excited to be the first to use Fujifilm’s Barium-Ferrite particle technology to create the fastest backup and archive solution on the market today,” said Jim Cates, vice president, Hardware Development, Oracle. “We anticipate that Oracle’s StorageTek T10000C will change the role of tape in the storage industry with its unprecedented capacity and throughput made possible by the unique properties of Fujifilm’s Barium-Ferrite particle combined with Oracle’s enterprise drive technology.”

In addition to the adoption of BaFe particles, Fujifilm has advanced its unique NANOCUBIC technologies, “NANO particle”, “NANO coating” and “NANO dispersion”, to achieve an ultra-smooth thin magnetic layer by coating micrified BaFe particles uniformly, which rapidly increased the storage areal density. Fujifilm has also selected a new base-film which contributes to the proven long-term achivability of more than 30 years that can be achieved with the chemically stable BaFe particles, and modified the mechanical cartridge components to ensure the durability level of the cartridge exceeds the rigorous demands of enterprise-level environments.

Globally, Fujifilm is committed to the data storage category which has been demonstrated through the company’s development of high capacity and superior quality data storage media. Fujifilm has maintained the largest production share of LTO Ultrium tape cartridges in the midrange data storage market, and will continue to lead the development of large capacity data storage media with its BaFe technology. As Fujifilm has proven, BaFe technology is poised to support the requirements of data storage media for years to come.

About NANOCUBIC and Barium-Ferrite magnetic particles

Already recognized by the industry as an enterprise-class tape solution, Fujifilm NANOCUBIC technology combines nano-scale particles, a unique dual-coating process and advanced dispersion techniques to achieve an ultra-thin magnetic layer that produces higher resolution for recording digital data, ultra-low noise and high signal-to-noise ratios that are ideal for Magneto-Resistive and Giant Magneto-Resistive heads. Fujifilm’s newest generation tape storage media applies NANOCUBIC technology to barium-ferrite particles, a naturally stable crystalline particle that does not corrode or change chemically over time, making it an optimal particle for data storage applications. Due to the crystalline anisotropy, the ultra-fine barium-ferrite particles have high coercivity for superior performance high density recording. The unique Fujifilm NANOCUBIC technology coats the barium-ferrite particles in a very uniform manner (with thickness variation of less than 10 percent across the length of the tape), resulting in a much smoother magnetic surface to significantly enhance performance.

Point being, the capacity, performance and cost metrics of tape — and especially the 70 year reliability story — blows DD disk out of the market.  What’s worse, you know it, my man.

You seem to just choose to ignore it.  And who do you quote to validate your view?  Sheila Childs?  Really?  Sheila Childs?  Wasn’t she part of SNIA’s board of directors that helped tank that organization.  Who was she working for then?  One of the industry brand names.  Who does she work for now?  One of the most notorious and most frequenly incorrect pay-per-view analyst houses.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, B. J., but…

B. J. Jenkins, EMC's Tape is Dead Boss

But when I look at you through my specially coated sunglasses that filter out the Gartner woo…

I knew it. EMC VPs are really aliens!

“Tape is dead…to be replaced by Data Domain.”  What planet are you guys from over there?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel February 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

As with any backup solution, its not about the backups. Its about the restores. I’ve proven in my own shop that our existing LTO3 technology is actually faster than our DD880.

But that’s not what we’re trying to solve by going to a disk based backup solution. Its the restore that’s much faster, and near instantly available. Local retention for the duration of our backup’s life, combined with offsite replication replaces our need to vault tapes daily. With daily tape vaulting, we’re forced to either copy everything from our “local” copy to an offsite copy which eats up available slots and drive time, or send out all tapes and have to worry about recalling tapes when their needed which incurs additional cost and transit time.

What the DD solution addresses is disk sprawl in a disk based backup solution. I can now meet my objections that disk based solutions give you, but in 1/20th the rack and power use.

I think the use case for the DD Archiver is more along the lines of EMC’s Centera product. Online lower tier storage that doesn’t get regular backups. Using backup software to archive things long term isn’t a very good solution. I’ve yet to meet someone who was willing to put up the money to convert tape formats when they upgrade to a new technology. It only takes one or two upgrade cycles to make your old tapes unreadable. The DD boxes are a lot easier to interface with than the Centera as well. Time will tell how these two solutions compete with each other. EMC has a lot of products that compete with each other and don’t ever seem to die.

Administrator February 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Daniel.

I have to respond, however, that (1) I never said deduplicated backup sets on near-line disk is a bad thing. I encourage folks to keep 30 days of backup data in that fashion to facilitate quick file restores (a lot faster than restoring from tape).

2) Doing de-dupe on a specialty rig with array controller functionality designed for that purpose is a REALLY bad idea. I just use the de-dupe after write software that comes with ARCSERVE. Doesn’t cost me anything, since I already use ARCSERVE, and I can use any disk I want.

3) Centera seems to be a crappy-doo product. You can search it here and find out about its many foibles from real life customers. I would NEVER entrust it with my important archival data. Check out the Active Archive Alliance for an archive strategy that leverages tape. Alternatively, if you like CAS, go check out what the guy who invented it is doing with it over at Caringo.

As always, I stand by my slam.

ifadams April 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

A couple of comments….

The raw bandwidth numbers for tape are a little misleading. Tape kicks ass at streaming. Period. HOWEVER, if you have random reads and writes, you’re kind of hosed and disk based approaches shine.

Tape also is a bastard if you have to deal with very long term data and migrating formats at large scales. Just cause the tape lasts 70 years (and time and again this industry stated numbers don’t work out, disk is just as guilty on this front however) doesn’t mean the drive will, and its unlikely a backwards compatible drive will be easily obtainable 70 years from now.

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