Sun Adds De-Dupe To Its VTL Line

New to Sun's line-up is VTL Prime, a hardware appliance which adds data de-duplication to Sun's virtual tape library platform, said Dan Albright, senior product manager for VTL solutions at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company.

Virtual tape libraries, or VTLs, are disk arrays configured to look to the host server and the backup software as if they are physical tape libraries. Data is streamed to and recovered from the VTL as if it were tape, so no changes are needed to the backup process. However, because they use hard drives, the backup and recover speed is much higher than when using tape drives. Data backed up to a VTL can also be backed up to a physical tape for archiving or off-site storage.

With continuous data protection, or CDP, changes to data are backed up immediately or at certain pre-defined intervals to allow users to be able to instantly recover a deleted, corrupted, or modified file. While many applications allow data changes to be captured on-the-fly, others back up the changes at set intervals.

VTL Prime sits side-by-side with Sun's VTL Plus virtual tape libraries to reduce the capacity required for data backups, Albright said. For instance, it can be used in remote office environments to de-dupe and replicate data to and from a central office, he said. "It only replicates the unique data," he said.

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The de-dupe functionality is based on technology OEM'd from FalconStor Software, Melville, NY.

Sun's VTL Prime is a new addition to the company's VTL family which also includes the VTL Plus and VTL Value lines.

Sun's enhanced its VTL Plus line for midrange and enterprise customers by doubling the performance, doubling the number of virtual tape images that can be stored, and integrating it closely with the NetBackup data protection software from Symantec Corp., Cupertino, Calif.

VTL Plus takes advantages of new features in NetBackup that allow the processing of the data movement by the software to be handled by the VTL Plus processors, thereby offloading the work from server processors, Albright said. "Now the task is done by the VTL Plus, but the policies are still managed by NetBackup," he said.

VTL Plus is based on Sun's 2540 or 6140 disk-based storage systems, and uses Sun Fire x64-based servers as processing nodes. It offers capacities from 8 Tbytes to 896 Tbytes, and throughput ranging from 700 Mbytes per second to 2,200 Mbytes per second.

Sun also increased the capacity of its entry-level VTL Value line, based on its Thumper combined storage and server appliance, Albright said. It now can be configured for either 12 Tbytes, 24 Tbytes, 36 Tbytes, or 48 Tbytes of raw capacity.

Sun's new VTL lines gives Sun's Solaris operating system environment something more than a me-too product, said Tony McGary, storage product specialist at Dewpoint Inc., a Lansing, Mich.-based solution provider.

"We need the de-dupe feature," McGary said. "It's a feature that has been missing."

Sun is not going for a killing in the de-dupe appliance market, but instead is adding the capability to its VTL line, McGary said. "This will at least give us an opportunity to go after the VTL competition with a product that has de-dupe functionality," he said.

It's also a good move for Sun to integrate its VTL line with Symantec's NetBackup, McGary said. "I like the NetBackup interface," he said. "It makes it easier to connect with the large installed NetBackup customer base out there."