By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2006-03-13 Print this article Print

Data Domain has added gateway and virtual tape library functionality to its lineup, making its powerful disk backup systems more enterprise-friendly. With the addition of these two important features, Data Domain now allows IT managers to use existing network storage and connect to backup devices in Fibre Channel SAN environments.

eWEEK Labs recently tested the new DD460g gateway, which is nearly identical to the DD460 backup appliance we tested a year ago except that the DD460g comes with two Fibre Channel HBAs (host bus adapters)—one to hook up external storage and a second to connect to the backup storage area network.

Click here to read a review of Data Domains DD460 Restorer.

The DD460g, which was released in December, also lacks the 3.8TB of raw internal storage found in the DD460, a difference that makes the DD460g $10,000 less than the $75,000 DD460.

Using the DD460gs Fibre Channel port, an IT manager can use existing Fibre Channel storage resources to provide storage for backup jobs. Data Domain products are compatible with EMCs Clariion CX line and Nexsan Technologies ATABoy and ATABeast systems, and Data Domain will soon be adding support for arrays from Hewlett-Packard and Engenio Information Technologies.

During eWEEK Labs tests, the DD460g got its storage resources from a Nexsan ATABeast storage array. We were able to identify and mount back-end storage in a matter of minutes from the command line.

Read more here about Nexsans SATABeast, a faster disk vault with better airflow and reduced power consumption than ATABeast The DD460g can support up to 4.2TB of back-end storage. When you weigh in Data Domains COS (Capacity Optimized Storage) technology, which can boost storage efficiency by detecting duplicate data, the DD460g should be able to store a considerable amount of backups on a single gateway.

COS optimization capabilities depend on the type of data being backed up, with some IT managers seeing data compression rates of 15 to 20 times in their backup implementations.

The power of COS is that it allows IT managers to create and store a few weeks or even months worth of full backups on a single appliance, which makes typical file restorations quick and easy.

The DD460g can back up data at rates of roughly 80MB to 100MB per second, which should be adequate for most general-purpose backup jobs.

VTL bandwagon

Data Domains new VTL (virtual tape library) functionality, which became available at the beginning of March, is an option that will be popular in enterprise environments—and its one that Data Domain, like other vendors in this space, needed to add to remain viable.

Data Domains older appliances stored data at the file-system level, making them a good choice for backing up NAS (network-attached storage) and file servers. But with large enterprises connecting their servers, arrays and libraries using Fibre Channel SANs and moving away from running backups on their Ethernet networks, Data Domain needed to gain VTL capabilities to make a serious play for that market.

Data Domains VTL software can create as many as eight VTLs on a single appliance, with support for up to 47 total tape drives. When a VTL is set up, the software emulates a StorageTek STK L180 library with Ultrium LTO (Linear Tape Open)-1 tapes. Using the software, virtual tape capacity can scale from 100GB to 800GB per cartridge.

Unlike the Network Appliance NearStore VTL600 we recently tested, Data Domains VTL software does not have the ability to create physical tapes. To migrate older virtual tapes using the Data Domain solution, IT managers must clone and migrate the tapes using a backup server.

Current Data Domain customers can upgrade their appliances to gain the VTL functionality. The upgrade bundles in a Fibre Channel HBA and the VTL software and ranges in price from $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the size of the unit.

Next Page: Evaluation Shortlist


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