Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finally ! A Code of Conduct for Data Centers !

I was so so happy to see this report from SearchStorage, the first official regulation from any country on the use and maintenance of data centers. I am sure, all we green IT enthusiasts would love to hear something similar from the US as well ..

The Sustainable Development and Energy Innovation of the U.K.’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has challenged the IT industry to prevent further climate change with the official launch of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centers on November 19.

The Code of Conduct was created in response to increasing energy consumption in data centers and the need to reduce the related environmental, economic and energy supply impacts. It was developed with collaboration from the British Computer Society, AMD, APC, Dell, Fujitsu, Gartner, HP, IBM, Intel, and many others.

Those who choose to abide by the voluntary Code of Conduct will have to implement energy efficiency best practices, meet minimum procurement standards, and report energy consumption every year.

The UK is also the first country in the world to approve legally binding climate change laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; data centers in the U.K. are responsible for about 3% of electricity use, and the goal is an 80% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2050.

America is far behind Europe with climate change policies, but it looks like it might finally be getting its act together in terms of protecting the planet. Climate change legislation and carbon emission regulations promise to become a reality under President-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to enact global-warming legislation.

Unfortunately, the legislation would impose a cap-and-trade system on utility companies that could raise the price of power an estimated 20% across the board, so getting as efficient as possible before the legislation takes effect would be a wise move.

To that end, vendors have come up with highly efficient servers and lower watt CPUs that perform just as well as their higher power predecessors. There is also software to control power consumption and to cap server power usage, and finally reliable virtualization software to increase server utilization, so there really are no excuses for running under-utilized systems these days

Sunday, December 07, 2008

An FAQ on Deduplication.

After my previous post, I thought an FAQ on deduplication would be the best way to strengthen concepts around the same .. So here they are :

What type of data reduction ratios should you realistically expect using deduplication?
Realistically, I think it's safe to assume a ratio of anywhere between 13 to 17X. You'll probably see lower ratios on target-based deduplication, and you'll see higher ratios on source-based deduplication just because of how they are architected.

Which data deduplication appliances and backup software do you view as enterprise ready?
Some of the technologies that may be enterprise-ready are Dilligent Technologies and Sepaton. Both companies have had products on the market for some time now, and they are both having pretty good success in the market.

How long does it take for companies to achieve these data reduction ratios?
In the short term, you might see a reduction of 2X or 3X over the course of the first month or so. But the longer you keep the data deduplication, that's when you start to see the larger numbers.

When does data deduplication using backup software on the host make sense?

There are a couple factors that you really need to consider. If you're bandwidth constrained and are trying to back up data and you have large amounts of data coming over the network, then using data deduplication at the host makes a lot of sense. That can dramatically free up the amount of bandwidth that you have.

It is important that the host can sustain the initial hit. This technology requires memory and CPU processing to perform the data deduplication. It might be a good idea to run the initial backup over a weekend when the backup window is a bit longer.

Are there any instances where data deduplication will not provide any benefits? Superior benefits?

With photos, videos, etc., there's not a lot of duplicate information. If there are a lot of new images being created, then you'll see very little benefit from data deduplication. In that case, you're better off just running differential or incremental backups.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Duplication from a backup perspective ..

Data deduplication identifies duplicate data, removing redundancies and reducing the overall capacity of data transferred and stored.Byte-level deduplication provides a more granular inspection of data than block-level approaches, ensuring more accuracy, but it often requires more knowledge of the backup stream to do its job.

Block-level approaches

Block-level data deduplication segments data streams into blocks, inspecting the blocks to determine if each has been encountered before (typically by generating a digital signature or unique identifier via a hash algorithm for each block). If the block is unique, it is written to disk and its unique identifier is stored in an index; otherwise, only a pointer to the original, unique block is stored. By replacing repeated blocks with much smaller pointers rather than storing the block again, disk storage space is saved.

Byte-level data deduplication

Analyzing data streams at the byte level is another approach to deduplication. By performing a byte-by-byte comparison of new data streams versus previously stored ones, a higher level of accuracy can be delivered. Deduplication products that use this method have one thing in common: It's likely that the incoming backup data stream has been seen before, so it is reviewed to see if it matches similar data received in the past.

Products leveraging a byte-level approach are typically "content aware," which means the vendor has done some reverse engineering of the backup application's data stream to understand how to retrieve information such as the file name, file type, date/time stamp, etc. This method reduces the amount of computation required to determine unique versus duplicate data.

Backup jobs, therefore, complete at full disk performance, but require a reserve of disk cache to perform the deduplication process. It's also likely that the deduplication process is limited to a backup stream from a single backup set and not applied "globally" across backup sets.

Once the deduplication process is complete, the solution reclaims disk space by deleting the duplicate data. Before space reclamation is performed, an integrity check can be performed to ensure that the deduplicated data matches the original data objects. The last full backup can also be maintained so recovery is not dependent on reconstituting deduplicated data, enabling rapid recovery.

The better one ...

Well, the choice is yours depending on what exactly you would want to do. Things like Trade-off between duplication accuracy versus performance, cache ratio etc should come onto the fore while making your decision ..

Friday, August 01, 2008

Analysis :: Well , quite a shocker ..An evolving storage org "Agami" bites the dust !

Agami systems , one of the evolving network storage startups delivering networked storage appliances has almost shut doors amidst, total surprise amongst its employees.Agami systems, dwelved on the storage solutions space , on a wide array of areas like file replications systems, High Availability systems and unified storage solutions. They had also racked up around 50 customers by early 2007.Sources say, they had finished their VC Round 3 funding of 45 million dollars(which seems quite big an amount). Read more here

Read the full story here

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News-n-Analysis :: EMC unravles DATA DEDUP,,, with new features in their VTL's

EMC Corp. launched three new virtual tape libraries (VTLs) at EMC World today that include Quantum Corp.'s data deduplication software. Users of the disk-based backup hardware can choose either inline or post-process deduplication, and the largest of the new VTL models -- the EMC Disk Library 4000 -- is based on the first Clariion disk array model to ship with drive spin-down.

EMC Disk Library 4000 customers can get data deduplication and the new drive spin-down capability as free upgrades.

It's been known for months that EMC would license Quantum software for deduplication with disk targets, but not why EMC declined to use its own Avamar dedupe software in that capacity.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Analysis :: Symantec hails Enterprise Vault

For people/developers and folks working on the Enterprise Vault at Symantec, this might come as good news..

With e-discovery regulations getting more stringent and email data continuing to grow, many users at the Symantec Vision conference were crediting Symantec's Enterprise Vault archiving software with saving them time and storage space in email management and litigation support. However, some users had concerns about the archiving software's performance with SATA drives under certain conditions.
A representative for the UZ Leuven, the largest hospital in Belgium, discussed the hospital's use of Enterprise Vault during a session at the conference. The hospital rolled out Microsoft Exchange about three years ago along with NetApp storage. Asked which NetApp filers run in his environment, Reinoud Reynders, IT manager for UZ Leuven, said, "We have almost everything.".

Nevertheless, the 1 million emails that the hospital was generating each month were soon overwhelming the email systems and the storage infrastructure. Reynders evaluated archiving systems from Zantaz (now owned by Autonomy) and IXOS (now owned by Open Text), before choosing Enterprise Vault because it was the only software that made archived emails available offline and allowed direct retrieval of emails from the archive through the Outlook email client. (Autonomy Zantaz and Open Text now offer those features.)

Symantec also announced a set of Enterprise Vault e-discovery connectors last August that preserve the chain of custody for data between the archive and commonly used legal review applications, but Olsen said it's not yet available for the application Mitel wants to use, FTI Ringtail ediscovery software. "Once that's in place, we'll have a full supply chain to support the legal department," he said.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Analysis :: Microsoft still trying hard to get a share in the server market !

It is something that they haven't got "right" right from the word go and still continue to crackle. It is something that they never had their sights on,but now are forced to look at. It is the evergreen "Enterprise Server" market, that they are still weak at and according to me , they need to rework their strategy towards that space. They still look confused as to what they want to achieve out of it. A comprehensive comparison chart with "Linux" at Microsoft.Com just shows how desperate they are to get a share of the juicy server market. So does it work? No , according to me , it still does not. Many of the points mentioned there seems to by cynical and vague. Find out for yourself