Tag Archives: Vendors

5 Hot Enterprise Backup and Recovery Vendors


The backup and recovery market has become a crowded space, with hundreds of vendors vying for market share. At the higher end of the market, the enterprise data center segment, the bar is higher and the result is that just a handful of software vendors command most of the sales.

With most tape drive vendors exiting the market, support of other backup media has become essential to maintaining a vendor’s business. Most initially pushed for hard disk-based backup, but the latest trend is to offer cloud storage solutions as well.

In what had become a somewhat stale and undifferentiated market, both HDD/SSD and cloud opened up new opportunities and something of a “space race” has occurred in the industry over the last few years. Backup and recovery vendors have added compression and deduplication, which can radically reduce the size of a typical backup image. This is important when data is moved to a remote storage site via WAN links, since these have lagged well behind compute horsepower and LAN bandwidth.

Many backup and recovery packages create a backup gateway that stores the backup at LAN speeds and then send it off across the WAN at a more leisurely pace. The benefit is a reduced backup window, though with some risk of data loss if the backup is corrupted prior to completing the move to the remote site.

Today, the target of choice for backup data is the cloud. It’s secure, very scalable and new low-traffic services cost very little to rent. The backup gateway encrypts all data so backups are hack-proof, though not necessarily deletion-proof, which requires action by the cloud service provider to provide storage types with only a well-protected manual deletion path.

Continuous data protection (CDP) is one of the hot backup services today; it manifests as either server-side snapshots or high-frequency polling by backup software for changed objects. Using these approaches reduces the data loss window, though it can hurt performance. SSDs help solve most of the performance issues, but daytime WAN traffic will increase.

Noting that access to backup storage tends to occur within just a few hours of the backup itself, some of the newcomers to the space offer a caching function, where data already moved to the remote site is held in the backup gateway for a couple of days. This speeds recovery of cached files.

With applications such as Salesforce, MS Office and Exchange common in the enterprise, optimizations capabilities to enable backup without disrupting operations are common features among the main players in datacenter backup. Many vendors also now offer backup for virtual machines and their contents and container backup will no doubt become common as well.

There is a school of thought that says that continuous snapshots, with replicas stored in the cloud, solve both backup and disaster recovery requirements, but there are issues with this concept of perpetual storage, not least of which is that a hacker could delete both primary data and the backups. Not paying your cloud invoice on time can do that, too! The idea is attractive, however, since license fees for software mostly disappear.

Readers are likely familiar with “old-guard” established backup and recovery vendors such as Veritas, Commvault, Dell EMC, and IBM. In this slideshow, we look at five of up-and-coming vendors, in alphabetical order, that are driving innovation in enterprise backup and recovery.

(Image: deepadesigns/Shutterstock)



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IT Pros Review Top Vendors


Users cite pros and cons of HPE BladeSystem, Cisco UCS B-series, and Lenovo Flex System

In many enterprise organizations, blade servers reduce an enterprise’s footprint by saving space and reducing overall power consumption. IT professionals consider a number of factors when selecting a blade server for their enterprise, including a variety of hardware integrations, easy management, and minimal energy usage.

According to product reviews by IT Central Station users, top blade server vendors in the market include HPE BladeSystem, Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers, and Lenovo Flex System Blade Servers.

Here is what our users have to say about working with these products, describing which features they find most valuable and offering insight on where they see room for improvement.

HPE BladeSystem

A senior network administrator at a government agency said he finds HPE BladeSystems’ remote management capabilities as one of its most valuable features:

“Having implemented this solution, it has enabled us to have remote management of equipment problems, to identify the power for reviewing the status of errors without having to be on-site, but remotely from anywhere required. It allows immediate access to the server management and immediate detection of the access logs.”

An enterprise architect at a financial services firm lauds the virtualization capabilities of the product:

“The virtual connect side of networking and the manageability through that is by far the biggest win for us. The blades come and go as racks do, but the virtualization back of it means a lot less hands on and a lot more manageability.”

 

However, the systems engineer of business technology at a transportation company noted that HPE BladeSystems can improve in terms of scalability:

“I would like to see better scalability. We have been using this solution for five years, and sometimes there are scalability issues with relatively older generations. If planned well in advance, it will make your life easier.”

Cisco UCS B-Series

Matthew M., a data center practice manager, takes a holistic point of view on what makes the Cisco UCS B-Series blade server valuable.

“The UCS environment as a whole. The hardware is easily swappable and, utilizing the boot from SAN option, you can always keep your server intact due to the service profiles. So if your blade has failures and you have a hot spare, you can transfer the service profile to a new blade and be operational in mere minutes. Huge for uptime and perfect for environments like VMware ESXi hosts, which is what I use them for primarily.”

A senior system specialist at a construction company wrote that running Cisco UCS in a Vblock infrastructure is particularly beneficial for his company:

“Running in the VCE Vblock gives us the flexibility to deploy a large virtual workload of servers. We use a mix of mainly Windows servers and a few Linux appliances. I had one blade server fail. The replacement was up and operating quickly after the blade server was swapped over.”

But Brad F., a data center systems engineer, noted areas where the Cisco UCS B-Series that could improve:

“The HTML5 interface is a much needed improvement over the old Java interface, but still needs a little work. When customers are first introduced to UCS, the setup is somewhat complex. Yet the learning curve is reasonable.”

Lenovo Flex System Blade Servers

Alejandro D., system X & P/blade/storage/ SAN hardware and software support specialist, cited Lenovo Blade Servers’ redundancy as a valuable feature:

“The features of this product that I value most are total redundancy in all its components: power, cooling, communications, fiber, administration and blades, and a data center in 8U; you can accommodate 14 servers in a BladeCenter H chassis.”

Muhammad S., a senior system administrator at a consumer goods company, provided insight into the product’s central management capabilities:

“Central management of all blade servers and performance: It helps us to access blade servers remotely even at boot time, as well, when we can access the BIOS setup remotely. Other than that, we can restart and shut down blade servers from a single console.”

However, Amirreza Y., a design and development engineer at a communications service provider, said the Lenovo falls short on the storage front:

“The storage part of this product needs to be improved. If storage is also attached to this bundle, it would be a good solution for the databases… In the new version of this product, the Flex System, the storage feature is also available with the CPU and memory.”



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10 Hyperconvergence Vendors Setting the Pace


As companies look for ways to make their IT infrastructure more agile and efficient, hyperconvergence has become a top consideration. The integrated technology promises faster deployment and simplified management for the cloud era.

An Enterprise Strategy Group survey last year found that 70% of 308 respondents plan to use hyperconverged infrastructure while 15% already use it and 10% are interested in it. IDC reported that hyperconverged sales grew 48.5% year over year in the second quarter of this year, generating $763.4 million in sales. Transparency Market Research estimates the global HCI market to reach $31 billion by 2025, up from $1.5 billion last year.

“It’s moved well beyond the hype phase into the established infrastructure phase,” Christian Perry, research manager covering IT infrastructure at 451 Research, told me in an interview.

With hyperconvergence, organizations can quickly deploy infrastructure to support new workloads, divisions, or projects, he said. “In that sense, it really provides an on-premises cloud-like option.”

Hyperconverged infrastructure leverages software to integrate compute and storage typically in a single appliance on commodity hardware. Fully virtualized, hyperconverged products take a building-block approach and are designed to scale out easily by adding nodes. According to IDC, a key differentiator for hyperconverged systems, compared to other integrated systems, is their scale-out architecture and ability to provide all compute and storage functions through the same x86 server-based resources.

ESG Analyst Dan Conde told me that some newer hyperconverged systems include broader networking features, but that for the most part, the technology’s focus is on storage and “in-the-box” connectivity.

VDI has been a top use case for hyperconverged infrastructure, but Perry said 451 Research is seeing the technology used for a range of use cases, including data protection, and traditional virtualized workloads such as Microsoft applications. Because it’s easy to deploy, the technology is well suited for branch and remote locations, but companies are also running it in the core data centers alongside traditional infrastructure, he said.

Vendor lock-in, high cost, and inflexible scaling (compute and storage capacity must be added at the same rate) are among the drawbacks that some have cited with hyperconvergence platforms. Perry said he hasn’t seen scalability issues among adopters, and that opex costs are much lower than traditional infrastructure. Hyperconverged products also have proven to be highly resilient, he added.

Perry said the first step for organizations evaluating hyperconverged products is to clearly identify their use case, which will narrow their choices. They also should take into account how the product will integrate with the rest of their infrastructure; for example, if it uses a different hypervisor, will the IT team be able to support multiple hypervisors? Companies interested in a product supplied by multiple vendors also need to determine which one will provide support, he said.

The hyperconvergence market has changed quite a bit since its early days when it was dominated by pure-play startups such as Nutanix and SimpliVity. Today, infrastructure vendors such as Cisco and NetApp have moved into the space and SimpliVity is now part of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Nutanix remains a top supplier after going public last year, and some startups remain, but they face stiff competition from the established vendors.

Here’s a look at some of the key players in hyperconvergence today. Please note this list is in alphabetical order and not a ranking.

(Image: kentoh/Shutterstock)



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10 Hyperconvergence Vendors Setting the Pace


As companies look for ways to make their IT infrastructure more agile and efficient, hyperconvergence has become a top consideration. The integrated technology promises faster deployment and simplified management for the cloud era.

An Enterprise Strategy Group survey last year found that 70% of 308 respondents plan to use hyperconverged infrastructure while 15% already use it and 10% are interested in it. IDC reported that hyperconverged sales grew 48.5% year over year in the second quarter of this year, generating $763.4 million in sales. Transparency Market Research estimates the global HCI market to reach $31 billion by 2025, up from $1.5 billion last year.

“It’s moved well beyond the hype phase into the established infrastructure phase,” Christian Perry, research manager covering IT infrastructure at 451 Research, told me in an interview.

With hyperconvergence, organizations can quickly deploy infrastructure to support new workloads, divisions, or projects, he said. “In that sense, it really provides an on-premises cloud-like option.”

Hyperconverged infrastructure leverages software to integrate compute and storage typically in a single appliance on commodity hardware. Fully virtualized, hyperconverged products take a building-block approach and are designed to scale out easily by adding nodes. According to IDC, a key differentiator for hyperconverged systems, compared to other integrated systems, is their scale-out architecture and ability to provide all compute and storage functions through the same x86 server-based resources.

ESG Analyst Dan Conde told me that some newer hyperconverged systems include broader networking features, but that for the most part, the technology’s focus is on storage and “in-the-box” connectivity.

VDI has been a top use case for hyperconverged infrastructure, but Perry said 451 Research is seeing the technology used for a range of use cases, including data protection, and traditional virtualized workloads such as Microsoft applications. Because it’s easy to deploy, the technology is well suited for branch and remote locations, but companies are also running it in the core data centers alongside traditional infrastructure, he said.

Vendor lock-in, high cost, and inflexible scaling (compute and storage capacity must be added at the same rate) are among the drawbacks that some have cited with hyperconvergence platforms. Perry said he hasn’t seen scalability issues among adopters, and that opex costs are much lower than traditional infrastructure. Hyperconverged products also have proven to be highly resilient, he added.

Perry said the first step for organizations evaluating hyperconverged products is to clearly identify their use case, which will narrow their choices. They also should take into account how the product will integrate with the rest of their infrastructure; for example, if it uses a different hypervisor, will the IT team be able to support multiple hypervisors? Companies interested in a product supplied by multiple vendors also need to determine which one will provide support, he said.

The hyperconvergence market has changed quite a bit since its early days when it was dominated by pure-play startups such as Nutanix and SimpliVity. Today, infrastructure vendors such as Cisco and NetApp have moved into the space and SimpliVity is now part of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Nutanix remains a top supplier after going public last year, and some startups remain, but they face stiff competition from the established vendors.

Here’s a look at some of the key players in hyperconvergence today. Please note this list is in alphabetical order and not a ranking.

(Image: kentoh/Shutterstock)



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What Users Say About Top Vendors


The all-flash array has matured to the point where it is now powering much of the growth in the enterprise storage business. Advances in the design, performance and management capabilities of solid state drive (SSDs), coupled with declines in cost, make flash storage viable for many workloads. Enterprise storage is relentlessly demanding, though, so potential buyers need to think critically when they choose an AFA.

According to product reviews by IT Central Station users, the top all-flash array vendors on the market are Hewlett-Packard Enterprise with 3PAR flash storageNetAppTintri, Nimble Storage (now part of HPE), Pure Storage, and IBM.

Based on their experience with AFAs from these vendors, contributors at IT Central Station shared their thoughts, including benefits the products provide and areas where they could improve.

HPE 3PAR

Brent Dunington, systems architect at a university, described his company’s decision-making process for choosing HPE 3PAR flash storage:

“We went through a whole data center refresh cycle and one of the things is that we needed to look at our disk system. Everything was for spinning disks, so we decided to make the leap to an all-SSD data center. We brought in all the competitors, went through an RFP process, and 3PAR came ahead.”

A system administrator at an insurance company shared how HPE 3PAR compares to other storage solutions he has used in the past:

“The speed of the Flash Array is better than what we had with the previous products. We like their blades better than the Cisco blades. It is easier to manage.”

Eric Slabbinck, project manager at a government agency, suggested specific features that could improve HPE 3PAR:

“From a personal point of view, what would interest me is a mechanism that detects file rot, i.e., whether a file or sector has become corrupt, e.g., as a result of copying the sector to other locations from the original location.”

NetApp

A lead storage/system engineer at a financial services firm described how NetApp All Flash has helped his organization:

“We have been looking for a flash solution that scales horizontally along with a proven application integration stack. NetApp has been helpful and stable, and enabled us to buy capacity as needed, as well as help in quickly refreshing UAT/DEV environments as needed.”

An R&D executive supervisor at a media company explained what he values most in All Flash FAS:

“It is very user friendly. Someone in my position needs to be able to bring up the system quickly, efficiently, and shut it down if there’s a power outage quickly and efficiently without having trouble. It also supports VMware, which is what we use; but we use the NetApp as our only filer.”

A computer systems engineer at a government agency wrote about product improvements that he’s looking forward to using once they’re released by NetApp:

“We’re interested or excited in getting to 32 GB fiber channel. With their new models, NetApp will be moving to 32 GB fiber. That would potentially raise performance and or lower our port counts, simplifying or minimizing the amount of cables we need to put in places.”

Tintri VMstore

Mike Geller, network administrator at a healthcare company, wrote about the value Tintri has added to his organization:

“Tintri has a great web UI that allows you to view performance of individual VMs, as well as performance of the overall VMstore. Code upgrades are really simple.”

Donald Lopez, IT manager at a tech services company, shared how his organization has benefitted from Tintri:

“Immediately upon installation, we benefited from a 5X speed/performance increase in the overall system for all of our VMs migrated to the unit from an old unreliable Synology storage unit.”

Raymond Handels, system engineer at a university, weighed in on how Tintri could further improve its storage solution:

“Speed of our VDI machines. We have a very high login and logout ratio and machines are being refreshed instantly so we have a constant boot storm on our storage.”

Nimble Storage

Brian Butler, senior network analyst at a financial services firm, explained how deploying Nimble Storage benefitted his organization:

“It has vastly improved the responsiveness of our servers. It adds snapshots to help with our DR. The snapshots are sent across the way into our DR site, so we have DR copies of everything. It’s all around just improved the flow of everything.”

Paul Sabin, senior network and infrastructure manager at a legal firm, noted a shortcoming with Nimble Storage:

“I really would like to see synchronous replication. This is something that when we have multiple arrays in our environment and being able to do something like a zero RPO. Being a law firm, we really want our data to be protected all the time.”

Pure Storage

An information systems analyst at a pharma/biotech company described the value in Pure Storage’s VDI capabilities:

“For VDI, there’s a consistent user experience. Users don’t switch to VDI if it’s not at the same speed as a laptop or desktop, and Pure Storage provides that.”

Andrea Spinazi, chief of information, facility, purchasing and services manager at Roma Metropolitane S.r.l., explained what he finds most beneficial with Pure Storage:

“The most valuable features are extremely low latency, high IOPS with VMware, inline deduplication and compression….We liked the non-disruptive downgrade from FA-420 (POC) to FA-405 in production and the non-disruptive upgrade from FA-405 to M20.”

However, Leonardo Perez, deputy head of IT at a government agency, warned of a Pure Storage drawback:

“Be careful with the type of information you allocate to this storage. The solution is good for virtual machines and databases, but not for images and videos. Compression rates are not good for these types of data.”

IBM FlashSystem

A design engineer at a recruiting/HR firm described the features he values most in IBM FlashSystem:

“The performance is really good. From an operations perspective, definitely the ease of use stands out. Compared to other products and other vendors, it’s much, much easier.”

A senior solutions architect at a tech services company shared how his company has benefitted from IBM FlashSystem:

“The V9000 incorporates both the Spectrum virtualization layer as well as flash technology. It does it in such a unique manner that it provides super-fast response times. There’s low latency for the customers. It’s very simple and easy.”

Joseph King, CTO at CAS Severn, suggested a way IBM FlashSystem could improve:

“We think that IBM has to continue to invest in additional data reduction capabilities, which are on their roadmap. Being able to use flash most efficiently, where the least amount of data is physically being stored on the V9000, is really where IBM needs to make additional investment. They are doing that.”

You can read more all-flash array reviews on IT Central Station.

 

 



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