I recently had the chance to interview Steve Whitner from Quantum. This is the third in a series of interviews with our Open Storage partners. On January 27, 2009, Quantum announced the refresh for their DXi7500 Express and DXi7500 Enterprise both of which support the NetBackup Open Storage API. Steve Whitner works as a Product Marketing Manager for DXi and related disk products. Steve is an industry veteran working at ADIC then Quantum for over ten years.
Q) I'm interviewing you specifically about the OpenStorage program. You will be among the first few vendors set to release an OpenStorage solution. From your perspective what is the problem the OpenStorage program is trying to solve in the backup and recovery workflow?
A) Our customer requirements for backups have changed over the years. Today they need to write and restore data quickly while retaining the data for longer periods of time, but with minimal space, power & cooling footprints. To meet these requirements backup data needs to be able to span multiple regional sites, remote offices, multiple technology tiers, and support restore from different locations all with efficient replication. To do all that efficiently it really implied having one management interface.
Open Storage is heading down that path of solving the problem of the traditional silos of backup data allowing backups to be managed more effectively across sites and technology tiers, without having to spend more time managing the data — even when both disk and tape are in the picture. When it’s combined with the data deduplication and replication technology that Quantum builds into its DXi-Series, along with a direct tape creation capability, the Symantec/Quantum combination really delivers dramatically increased value to end users.
Q) Among those companies who are implementing Open Storage, what differentiates Quantum from the competition?
A) There are three things unique to our Open Storage solution. First of all I would mention Quantum’s data deduplication technology which in turn allows us to offer highly optimized remote replication — in the new release of the DXi7500 platform we’ve significantly improved replication to allow more granular replication at either cartridge level for our VTL interface or file/directory level for our disk targets. It means faster and more flexible replication and faster, more automated access to data at the target.
Secondly, our Open Storage support is designed to reach across disk to tape all with NetBackup being aware of the location of the data — we’ve already been working with Symantec on disk-tape integration for years. Initially, we’ll support Linux, Solaris and Windows NetBackup media server.
Lastly, Quantum provides one management interface that can manage all of a user’s backup resources in many locations from a central console. Symantec can provide a single management point on the backup/archive software side, while Quantum provides a similar single management point for all of the backup/archive hardware resources.
Q) Deduplication and optimized replication are features that a lot of customers are looking for in a disk backup solution. What technologies and capabilities does Quantum have that set it apart from the competition?
A) Dedupe - you can’t find a vendor who doesn’t claim dedupe at the moment. Quantum is unique because our dedupe solutions span from small to very large sites (from a couple 100 GB to 220 usable TB of capacity) on one common technology base. That common technology base includes replication, which we use to join small and large systems. So, we’re breaking down the backup silos and creating a true edge-to-edge solution that includes encryption protection for data in transit. We also provide direct links to tape systems, including encryption capability. All these solutions are linked through one common base of technology along with unified management and support.
Quantum is also the only vendor with technology that puts ends users in charge of when they will perform deduplication — users can decide to dedupe during ingest, to carry dedupe out as a post process, or to turn it off altogether based on what is best for the specific backup job. Quantum has pioneered this kind of policy based deduplication.
In this latest release we have also dramatically improved our deduplication rates for Oracle RMAN backups which can result in significantly higher deduplication rates for databases in NetBackup environments. Finally, we also have a long history of close integration with both Backup Exec and NetBackup, leading to innovations like the Direct to Tape feature and support for application aware replication through OpenStorage.
Q) Your company has a number of products related to backup for both disk and tape. Where do you see the balance between tape and disk in the future?
A) We see Tape existing into the indefinite future, but people want to change the way that they use tape. Many now need to backup to disk for the powerful combination of read and write speeds. But once they are past the point of requiring frequent reads and writes, as people move into a longer-term data retention phase, there are powerful advantages to storing data on tape, not least among them dramatic direct cost reductions, as well as savings on power, space and cooling. The key is matching the right technology to user needs and recognizing that those needs evolve over the life cycle of the backup data.
Q) When are you expecting your solution be generally available?
A) First customer ship date is February 9th for the new DXi7500 models.
Q) If a customer wants to know more about NetBackup and Quantum's OpenStorage plugin where should they go?
Thanks for your time. We look forward to your continued partnership and the solutions you provide to our customers.
Technical Product Manager