VMworld 2013: 18 Must-See Storage Offerings (Part 2)

Storage At The Core Of VMworld

Storage has become a keystone in the building of virtualized and cloud IT infrastructures. Yet, many obstacles lie in the way of implementing storage in virtualized and cloud environments, such as the difficulty of managing massive amounts of data related to Web-scale applications.

Such issues demand the storage industry take private clouds and virtualized data centers into consideration when designing new storage hardware. The number of storage vendors exhibiting at VMworld this week in San Francisco is testimony to their commitment to make new IT environments work for customers and channel partners.

Whether or not you were at VMworld, trying to understand the variety of storage offerings is tough. But turn the page, and you may find your life has just gotten a bit easier.

And don't forget to look at Part 1 of this storage wrap, which highlights 20 different storage products.

Acronis: 'First' Self-Service Backup Solution For VMware vCloud

Acronis, the Woburn, Mass.-based developer of storage software that unifies the protection of data across multiple storage infrastructures and platforms, used VMworld to unveil Acronis Backup & Recovery for vCloud. This application targets enterprises and service providers looking to add self-service backup and recovery to VMware vCloud Director.

Acronis Backup & Recovery for vCloud helps tenants and administrators eliminate downtime and protect virtual machines in public, private and hybrid clouds and gives service providers an application to build a complete vCloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service offering.

Acronis Backup & Recovery for vCloud features a self-service Web console for users to control virtual machine backup and recovery, integration with VMware vCloud Director, fast agentless backup technology for virtual machines, and seamless on-premise-to-cloud migration and disaster recovery.

Asigra: Focusing On The Cost Of Restores, Not Backups

Toronto-based cloud data protection developer Asigra used VMworld 2013 to introduce the company's Recovery License Model (RLM).

The new RLM helps service providers and their end-user customers better control backup and recovery costs by basing fees on a Recovery Performance Score that is calculated over a 12-month period, or every six months in the first year. The cost of the single largest recovery event in any licensing term is waived, and customers are charged only for successful recoveries.

The result, Asigra said, is that customers who recover less end up paying less than standard pricing models based on backup capacity, where costs increase as data volumes grow. Asigra expects customers of the new RLM can anticipate immediate savings of 40 percent and long-term savings of up to 70 percent.

CommVault: Auto Archiving, Management Of Unused Virtual Machines

CommVault, Oceanport, N.J., unveiled its new VM Archiving functionality, which is designed to let users automatically manage, move and recover unused virtual machines.

Available free to customers of CommVault's Simpana 10 data protection software, VM Archiving is targeted at reclaiming wasted resources, reducing storage costs by freeing up primary storage capacity, and optimizing virtual infrastructure and application performance. This allows scalable and resilient data protection to extend from physical and virtual environments to the cloud.

VM Archiving can automatically identify, power down, relocate and archive inactive virtual machines based on customer policies, freeing up VMware ESX host and primary storage resources. Relocated virtual machines can be archived either as they are migrated or at a later time.

Coraid: Looking For Performance Analytics From All That Data

Coraid, a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of scale-out Ethernet storage solutions, used VMworld to show its new EtherCloud Insight platform for storage performance analytics. EtherCloud Insight offers customers visibility across the entire data path from the server through multiple network paths to the distributed storage infrastructure. It profiles end-to-end performance to help in system design, and it diagnoses performance issues to help reduce storage over-provisioning and increase application uptime.

Coraid also entered a strategic alliance with Splunk, a San Francisco developer of technology that provides real-time operational intelligence from machine data. The alliance is aimed at enabling large-scale machine data analytics in enterprise and cloud data centers, and it combines Splunk's data collection, indexing and analytical capabilities with Coraid's flexible scale-out storage architecture.

Dell Software: Gaining Insight Into Virtualized Storage Environments

Dell Software unveiled the next generation of its Foglight virtualization operations management suite, which includes three solutions aimed at helping businesses streamline their virtualization, storage and cloud computing initiatives. The new solutions include:

* Foglight for Virtualization, Enterprise Edition 7.0, for end-to-end performance monitoring and operations management for heterogeneous virtual environments
* Foglight for Storage Management 3.0, to help ensure the right storage configuration to optimize virtual infrastructure performance and availability
* Foglight for Virtualization, Standard Edition 7.0, to provide SMB administrators with insight into virtual environment performance and automated resource optimization, capacity planning, and change analysis and compliance.

FalconStor Software: Built Better For Stretch Clusters

Melville, N.Y.-based FalconStor used VMworld to unveil the newest version of its FalconStor Network Storage Server (NSS).

The new FalconStor NSS includes a stretch cluster configurator for simplifying the setting up and configuring of stretch metro clusters to increase uptime and improve business continuity. It also includes storage-agnostic data migration for cloud deployments, and a single plane of glass for managing storage and servers. Also new is enhanced disaster recovery automation, integration with the Windows 2012 storage management interface, and support for thin provisioning with space reclamation via VMware's vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI). And, RecoverTrac now supports protection and recovery of physical and virtual machines running Windows 2012 as well as any virtual machine in Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0 environments.

The new FalconStor NSS is slated to ship Oct. 8.

Imation: New Hybrid Storage Platform From Its Nexsan Acquisition

Oakdale, Minn.-based Imation used VMworld to unveil its new NST6000 unified hybrid storage platform, which provides simultaneous support of block (Fibre Channel and iSCSI) and file-level (NFS, CIFS, SMB and FTP) data traffic in a single solution. The NST6000 platform stems from Imation's $120 million acquisition of Nexsan.

The first NST6000 model, the NST6530, is slated to ship to solution providers this fall. It features dedicated high-performance controllers and a front-end caching engine connected to Nexsan E-Series storage to provide high-random I/O performance to up to 5 PB of capacity. The NST6530 system is optimized for virtualized IT environments with high-capacity requirements, and it simultaneously supports large-scale I/O-intensive workloads generated from multiple virtual machines.

Mellanox: High VM Performance In Virtualized Environments

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Mellanox Technologies said at VMworld that its ConnextX-3 40-GbE driver has been integrated into VMware vSphere 5.5 for increased performance in virtualized data centers.

Mellanox said tests showed a sustainable rate of over 37 Gbps of throughput using servers equipped with Mellanox’s ConnectX-3 40-GbE network interface cards over the company's SwitchX 40-GbE switches and the company’s high-performance QSFP+ cables.

When compared to 10 GbE, the new solution allows four times as many virtual machines to run on a server, Mellanox said.

NetApp: Real-Time Storage Performance And Health Visibility

NetApp introduced its new Virtual Storage Console 5.0, a new application the company said will add real-time visibility into the performance and health of business storage environments.

VSC 5.0 also offers integration with VMware's Web-based client, policy-based management via vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) for clustered Data ONTAP, and policy-based datastore provisioning.

The NetApp VSC 5.0 is slated to be available starting in December.

Nutanix: Updates Converged Infrastructure Operating System

San Jose, Calif.-based converged infrastructure vendor Nutanix unveiled NOS 3.5, a new version of its operating system that includes the Nutanix Elastic Deduplication Engine. Nutanix said the Nutanix Elastic Deduplication Engine is the first deduplication technology in any storage or converged infrastructure platform to span memory, flash and hard drive resources simultaneously. It was designed specifically for scale-out architectures to accelerate performance while enabling large clusters.

With NOS 3.5 also comes Prism (pictured), a new comprehensive management framework with a completely new interface to help simplify user experience and a REST-based API for easy integration into enterprise or cloud management systems.

With the new Prism UI, all system and virtual machine information is organized to easily provide immediate insights and actions.

PHD Virtual: Expanding Virtualized Environment Data Protection

Philadelphia-based PHD Virtual used VMworld to introduce PHD VirtualBackup 6.5, a software application providing advanced local and off-site virtual machine data protection and recovery with additional application recovery capabilities for Exchange and SharePoint.

Also new are ReliableDR 3.2, a disaster recovery solution that automates recovery verification, failover and failback with enforcement of SLA compliance; Recovery Management Suite (RMS), a new unified solution providing data protection and guaranteed disaster recovery for virtualized and cloud environments; and free Hyper-V Backup, giving PHD Virtual the ability to support VMware, Citrix and Hyper-V without guest agents.

QNAP: VMware-Certified iSCSI/NAS Scale-Up Storage

Pomona, Calif.-based NAS manufacturer QNAP just released its new QTS SMB 4.0 Turbo NAS operating system for its business-class Turbo NAS models targeting SMB customers. With the new operating system, the QNAP NAS expands to over 400 TB of capacity.

A new intelligent Storage Manager includes such features as flexible volume management with thin-provisioned volume support, SSD caching and SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) data migration. Seamless virtualization is provided with VMware VAAI, vSphere Plugin and Microsoft ODX support.

Highlights of the new QTS 4.0 SMB include a redesigned GUI; flexible volume management to aggregate multiple RAID groups of different levels as a big storage pool; block-level iSCSI LUN, online capacity expansion; thin-provisioned volume and space reclaim; and support for SSD caching to boost overall performance.

SimpliVity: Enhanced Converged Infrastructure-in-a-Box

Converged Infrastructure-in-a-Box developer SimpliVity, Westborough, Mass., used VMworld to launch its next-generation OmniCube, based on an updated version of SimpliVity's core technology, OmniStack.

New OmniStack functionality includes enhanced public cloud integration for simplified cloud backup and recovery, improved ease-of-use and a new user interface.

SimpliVity introduced two new OmniCube models, including the CN-2000 for small environments and remote offices, as well as the CN-5000 for high-performance application environments. The company also enhanced its CN-3000, which is targeted at a wide range of data center workloads.

Tegile: New VM-Aware Reporting And Management With Latest Software

Newark, Calif.-based hybrid hard drive-SSD array developer Tegile Systems unveiled the second generation of its Zebi OS with improved VMware and Microsoft integration and an improved user interface.

Tegile's new software, slated to release next month, is aimed at simplifying administration and optimizing storage for such applications as virtualization, file services and databases.

Features include a vCenter plug-in for the Zebi hybrid arrays, NFS support for VMware's VAAI (vStorage APIs for Array Integration) protocols within VMware environments, thin provisioning using VAAI, a Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Server (VSS) agent for improved data protection, and the ability to collect analytics from server data in the cloud.

TwinStrata: Making DR Testing Much More Easy

Natick, Mass.-based TwinStrata, a developer of appliances that attach customers' IT infrastructures to public cloud storage, used VMworld to unveil the latest release of its CloudArray software, which lets customers access production snapshots of their data remotely.

TwinStrata CloudArray 4.7 expands on TwinStrata's CloudArray Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) for VMware environments by letting customers easily test their disaster recovery plans via access to in-cloud, producing snapshots of their data from a secondary CloudArray without shutting down their primary sites or impacting day-to-day operations. The snapshots also can be used for online data analytics. TwinStrata CloudArray 4.7 also includes improved encryption key protection, integrated support for Cleversafe’s dsNet dispersed storage technology and support for Keystone authentication for OpenStack platforms.

Release is slated for September.

Veeam: Adding Backup From Snapshots, WAN Acceleration To Backup

Columbus, Ohio-based Veeam Software at showed its new Veeam Backup & Replication v7 at VMworld. This latest version of the software, which targets data protection in virtualized environments, includes two key features:

- Backup from storage snapshots, which enables IT to back up the environment every 15 minutes with no impact on the network.

- Built-In WAN acceleration, which copies backups to offsite locations at up to 50x faster than ordinary file copy.

Also new with Veeam Backup & Replication v7 is native tape support, Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SharePoint, VMware vCloud Director Integration, and over 50 other enhancements.

Vision Solutions: High-Availability, DR Solution

Vision Solutions, Irvine, Calif., showed off its Double-Take Availability 7.0 Solution Suite, which targets high-availability and disaster recovery requirements by safeguarding workloads across any combination of physical, virtual and cloud-based resources.

The Double-Take Availability 7.0 Solution Suite, which offers agentless and agent-based protection and near-zero-downtime migrations, includes two primary applications. Double-Take MOVE migrates physical, virtual and cloud server workloads with real-time replication from a single user console to help eliminate user and application downtime during migrations and migrate the entire server environment including the system state and file system without interrupting production operations. And, Double-Take Availability is a hardware-agnostic, high-availability and disaster recovery solution that offers agentless and agent-based protection options for physical, virtual or cloud servers.

VMware: Expanding Software-Defined Storage With VMware VSAN

VMworld host VMware unveiled a new software-defined storage solution that ties to the company's VMware vSphere private cloud and virtualization platform.

Virtual SAN, or VSAN, is a key part of VMware's nascent software-defined data center strategy. VSAN redefines the hypervisor to let vSphere cluster the SSDs and hard drives from three to eight servers into a shared storage pool. Each server can support up to five disk groups consisting of an SSD and up to seven hard drives, providing a capacity of over a half-petabyte on a single VSAN cluster.

With VSAN, virtual machines are provisioned on the fly, each potentially with its own policies. The virtual machines can be provisioned against any storage in the pool, with storage dynamically scalable by the addition of nodes or capacity.