Hands-On Testing

By Matthew Sarrel  |  Posted 2009-07-08 Print this article Print


Hands-On Testing

I conducted all testing for this review during a two-day visit to Quantum's test lab in Englewood, Colo. We spent most of this time elbows-deep in the product's browser-based management GUI, which is well-organized by function and put context-sensitive help at my fingertips.

It was easy to set up VTLs and NAS shares, as well to assign deduplication, replication and backup policies. I could access systemwide utilities, such as those for space management and replication, through this GUI, along with a range of diagnostic and analysis tools.

I found that Quantum's management software, which comprises Quantum's VisionDXi, Quantum Vision and StorageCare Guardian applications, offered a solid set of alerting and reporting options. The interface layout and navigation controls of VisionDXi in particular simplified troubleshooting and made it easy for me to pinpoint potential bottlenecks at the network, SAN and storage system levels.

From the management interface, I could see the status of various hardware components, and set up e-mail or SNMP alerts. I would, however, like to see more granularity in the product's support for e-mail alerts. For instance, I could set the product's alert level to "high," "medium" or "all" to receive predetermined sets of alerts, but I could not set alerts for individual failures or warnings. I'd like to see the option to send network-related alerts specifically to network administrators and disk-related alerts to storage administrators.

My primary goal was to evaluate the suitability of the Quantum DXi7500 as a backup and archive solution facilitating multisite business continuity. Based on the performance reports generated by the system we used in Quantum's Englewood lab, using real customer data, I saw that the DXi7500 ingested data at 2.2TB per hour to 3.4TB per hour, with dedupe rates ranging from 10 to 30 times depending on the file type and the number of times the same content was backed up.

The system I tested was priced at $385,500, which included the base 18TB system, three 18TB expansion units, a 5TB deduplication software license and one direct path 2 tape license.

To give our lab-tested performance results a real-world grounding, I interviewed a Quantum customer, Howard Marsh, Ph.D., CIO/IT division director of Anchorage Water Waste-water Utility. AWWU is a 285-person utility company that provides clean water and processes waste water for the city of Anchorage, Alaska.

According to Dr. Marsh, AWWU uses Symantec NetBackUp to back up about 6.5TB a day from a varied server environment (Exchange, Oracle, file shares, images and video) each day onto VTL. In this manner it is achieving an 18 to 22 times reduction in data size on one DXi7500 located in its data center while also replicating over a 200M-bps WAN link to a lukewarm DR site located about six miles away.

Dr. March feels that the DXi7500s were an excellent investment and the switch from physical tape to VTL decreases the incidence of errors and drops restore times from 15 to 20 minutes to about 3 minutes.

eWEEK Labs Contributing Analyst Matthew D. Sarrel is executive director of Sarrel Group, an IT test lab and editorial services and consulting firm in New York.


Matthew Sarrel Matthew D. Sarrel, CISSP, is a network security,product development, and technical marketingconsultant based in New York City. He is also a gamereviewer and technical writer. To read his opinions on games please browse http://games.mattsarrel.com and for more general information on Matt, please see http://www.mattsarrel.com.

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