Tag Archives: Storage

NetApp AltaVault Review

I have recently been working with a number of clients who are struggling with uncontained data growth and retention requirements. This is something that everyone has talked about and known about across the industry for a long time so it’s no surprise that more and more people are needing solutions and quickly. The old ways of doing things are not working anymore and are costing more, consuming more storage infrastructure and draining employee hours, to make matters worse, it’s senior staff who are having their time taken on an ongoing basis.

There are a number of different solutions that organisations have been leveraging to address this problem, the oldest tried and true solution is backup and archive to tape. Large tape libraries with multiple tape drives writing out huge amounts of data to tape again and again. The problem with this is that is very cold data and it has very little value to the business in today’s fast moving world where immediate responses are required, not desired. This makes the time and investment that everyone has been making into putting data on tape a huge waste, Tape has only every really solved a very small number of issues for businesses.

What I’m seeing is a significant change in how Backups and Archiving is being addressed in many organisations. People are starting to be much smarter about what they are backing up and how long they are keeping that data. The difference between backup data and archival data is being discussed and we are hearing questions around the value of data more frequently, we are also being involved in in-depth and robust discussions around data retention, data destruction and data sovereignty.

One of the biggest red flags that I see regularly is when questions are answered with “Because that’s how we’ve always done it” or “That’s how it was when I got here“. These answers are coming back from both business stakeholders and from the technology staff who are managing and supporting backups.

The two most successful solutions that I’ve worked with are the EMC DataDomain’s and the NetApp AltaVault’s, these are Purpose Built Backup Appliances (PBBA)

So why have PBBAs been so successful and what makes them stand out?

  • Plug and Play deployment – there is no need to change your backup application
  • High performance – DataDomain in particular has excellent ingest rates
  • High data reduction rates – due to the use of variable segment size de-duplication
  • Proven scalability and reliability – solutions are widely deployed at many enterprise organisations
  • Supported and validated – known good designs and support from the vendor

NetApp’s AltaVault is tackling a range of the issues faces by organisations in today’s market

  • Too slow. Users expect instant recovery and minimal data loss, but legacy backup and recovery strategies can’t keep pace. As a result, many organisations fail to meet backup and recovery windows. (windows which are quickly shrinking)
  • Too expensive. As storage grows, organisations struggle with the rising cost of protecting that data on premises. Also, bandwidth costs and constraints are more of an issue with larger datasets. (other factors such as power availability, carbon footprint and physical capacity)
  • Too risky. Many organisations still rely on tape, which increases risk exposure because of the potential for lost media in transport, increased downtime and data loss, and limited testing ability.
  • Too complex. With an ever-increasing number of critical applications to protect, along with complex backup architectures, multiple backup apps, and error-prone legacy technologies, backup is incredibly complex and difficult to manage.

What has and is currently changing?

The leading trend that is providing relief to these problems comes in two parts. Staging backups onsite in Purpose Built Backup Appliances (PBBA) before replicating the data to a cloud storage provider or to tape for archival storage.

NetApp AltaVault cloud-integrated storage enables customers to securely back up data to any cloud at up to (what could be as high as) 90% lower cost compared with on-premises solutions. AltaVault gives customers the power to tap into cloud economics while preserving investments in existing backup infrastructure and meeting backup and recovery SLAs.

AltaVault physical appliances

The AltaVault physical appliances are among the industry’s most scalable cloud-integrated storage appliances, with capacities ranging from 32TB up to 384TB of usable local cache. Enterprises often deploy AltaVault physical appliances in their data centres to protect large volumes of data. These datasets typically require the highest levels of performance and scalability available. AltaVault physical appliances are built on a scalable and efficient hardware platform that is optimised to reduce data footprints and rapidly stream data to the cloud.

AltaVault Virtual Appliances

AltaVault virtual appliances are an ideal solution for medium-sized businesses that want to get started with cloud backup. They’re also ideal for enterprises that want to protect branch offices and remote offices with the same level of protection they enjoy in the data centre. AltaVault virtual appliances provide the flexibility of deploying onto heterogeneous hardware while still providing all of the features and functionality of hardware-based appliances. AltaVault virtual appliances can be deployed onto Kernel-Based Virtual Machine(KVM), Microsoft Hyper-V, and VMware vSphere, enabling customers to choose the hardware that works best for them.

AltaVault Cloud-Based Appliances

For organisations without a secondary disaster recovery location or for companies looking for extra protection with a low-cost tertiary site, cloud-based AltaVault appliances on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the key to enabling cloud-based recovery. Using on-premises AltaVault physical or virtual appliances, data is seamlessly and securely backed up to the cloud. If the primary site is unavailable, you can quickly spin up a cloud-based AltaVault appliance on AWS or Azure and recover data in the cloud. Pay only for what you use when you use it with usage-based pay-as-you-go pricing. If you already have production workloads running in the public cloud, you know that protecting those workloads in the cloud is just as critical as if they were running on premises. Cloud-based AltaVault appliances offer an efficient and secure approach to backing up cloud-based workloads. Using your existing backup software, AltaVault cloud-based appliances deduplicate, encrypt, and rapidly migrate data to long-term, low-cost cloud storage.

Cold storage and archives

AltaVault can be configured in cold storage mode. In cold storage mode, which is optimised for infrequently accessed data, or in archives, the AltaVault appliance uses the local cache for metadata only, increasing the scalability of the solution by more than 5 times. This results in minimal management and operational costs for cold data, while also allowing for fast and simple access to data when needed.

Disaster recovery

Perhaps your organisation has no secondary disaster recovery location or you are looking for extra protection with a low-cost tertiary site. With cloud-based NetApp AltaVault appliances on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or on Microsoft Azure, you can quickly recover data after a disaster. When you use on-premises AltaVault physical or virtual appliances, data is seamlessly and securely backed up to the cloud. If the primary site is unavailable, you can quickly spin up a cloud-based AltaVault appliance and recover data in the cloud. And with usage-based pay-as-you-go pricing, you pay only for what you use.

Key Features Unparalleled efficiency

• Industry-leading data reduction. AltaVault uses inline deduplication and compression, resulting in up to 30:1 data reduction ratios. This means that you store less data in the cloud and you can get it there more quickly.

• Network and cloud optimisation. Built-in WAN optimisation and deduplication reduce the amount of data that is transported to cloud and increase transfer speed by up to 4 times. AltaVault intelligently throttles data, which saves you money (and time). Quality of service (QoS) confirms that data moves to and from cloud storage at the speed that your business requires.

• Faster data restoration. AltaVault improves recoverability because 95% of restores occur from local cache. With intelligent prefetching, AltaVault restores data from the cloud within minutes. With AltaVault, you can restore data up to 32 times more quickly than with tape. Enterprise scale on an open platform

• Flexible deployment and scale. Choose the offering that is right for you: physical, virtual, or cloud-based in the AWS or the Azure clouds. AltaVault appliances can start as small as 2TB and scale up to 57PB of protected data in the cloud, making it one of the most scalable cloud-integrated storage products on the market.

• Compatibility with existing backup software. Do you love your backup software? So do we. AltaVault is compatible with all leading backup and archival software solutions, including NetApp SnapMirror®, Commvault, EMC, IBM, Veeam, and Veritas. Don’t waste time and effort on ripping and replacing your backup software and retraining IT staff.

• Cloud choice and agility. Pick a cloud, any cloud, and AltaVault likely supports it. AltaVault supports 95% of all leading cloud storage providers and platforms on the market today, including AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and NetApp StorageGRID® Webscale. Cloud providers rise and fall, and you never want your data stuck with a cloud provider. AltaVault cloud agility allows you to free your data.

Ironclad security and compliance

• Is encrypted and compliant. Data is encrypted and secure at all times—in flight and at rest—using AES 256-bit encryption, with FIPS 140-2 level 1–validated encryption and industry-standard Transport Layer Security encryption. You can manage encryption keys locally with the Key Management Interoperability Protocol without having to leave your data center.

• Controls your data. Confirm that only qualified employees can access data in AltaVault, with role-based access controls and integration with the Terminal Access Controller Access Control System and Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service. Use the management access control list to secure the appliance by exposing only the necessary protocols, ports, and networks.

• Shrinks recovery time and data loss. Reduce recovery time objectives by retrieving data more quickly in a disaster by accessing locally cached backups on the AltaVault appliance. Reduce recovery point objectives by immediately getting data off site so that recovery points are as recent as your latest backup, rather than the last time that tapes were shipped off site.

• Prepares for disasters. Recover on-premises workloads in the cloud during disaster recovery tests or declarations with the AltaVault cloud-based appliances on AWS and Azure.

Easy to deploy and manage

• Simplify deployment. Get up and running with AltaVault in less than 30 minutes. In three simple steps, you can start sending data to the cloud.

• Manage smarter. Reduce tape management overhead and manual tasks that are error-prone and time-consuming, allowing you to allocate valuable employee resources to other projects. Remote monitoring and management capabilities from a GUI-driven management dashboard give administrators complete control from across the data center or across the world.

• Get to a cloud-connected ready state with services. Quickly meet the technical and business requirements for your new AltaVault solution with installation and implementation services from NetApp and our certified services partners. Using best practices our services team configures your new solution into your existing environment and brings your device to a cloud-connected ready state. Get the outcomes you expect while lowering your deployment risks and costs with our proven implementation methodology.

AltaVault Lowers Adoption Barriers for Cloud Storage

Many organisations are excited by the prospect of leveraging cloud economics but soon find themselves daunted by barriers that are associated with the public cloud. The AltaVault cloud-integrated storage appliance was designed to help customers vault over these barriers by:

• Maintaining security and compliance in a multitenant environment.

• Easily managing large volumes of data, even with limited bandwidth.

• Enabling simple deployment for a faster cloud on-ramp.

• Giving employees rapid access to data.