Below are the seven finalists in the backup hardware category for the 2008 Storage magazine and SearchStorage.com Products of the Year competition. They are listed alphabetically by vendor.
Cleversafe Inc. Dispersed Storage Network
Dispersed Storage Network (dsNet), also called the "Storage Internet," is based on Cleversafe's information-dispersal algorithm. It makes "slices" of data among nodes on a grid that contain code to scramble the data for encryption and allows the data to be rebuilt even if some nodes are lost. The overall "Storage Internet" concept is built on geographically dispersed RAID, with encryption built in, that works over a commodity Internet connection. Version 1.6 of the dsNet software adds a proprietary file system over what was previously a more rigid iSCSI block-based partitioning system.
Data Domain DD690 Deduplication Storage System
The DD690 is Data Domain's fastest data deduplication device, a quad-core system that can deliver up to 1.4 TB per hour aggregate throughput and holds 1.77 petabytes of usable capacity. DD690 includes the option for 10-Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and supports replication fan-in from 60 Data Domain devices, including the DD120 branch office system. It's also billed as a long-term online retention system that moves beyond backup to nearline and archival storage.
Hifn Inc. Express DR 250/255
These two cards from Hifn are a set of chip boards that will perform data deduplication, compression and encryption processing with the goal of eliminating some of the performance issues associated with software-based approaches in storage devices. The Express DR 250 board is an update to a product that has already been on the market. The DR 255 offers a faster four-lane PCI-e interface.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. StorageWorks D2D2500 Backup System
The HP D2D2500 Backup System is an automated, disk-based data protection device for up to six servers in a 1U rack-mountable design. The HP StorageWorks D2D2500 Backup System also features Dynamic Deduplication, which removes redundant backup data. It allows simultaneous backup of up to six servers at up to 270 GB/hr aggregate performance.
IBM Corp. System Storage TS1130 Tape Drive
The TS1130 was among the first to break the 1 TB native capacity barrier for tape cartridges, which will be key to managing backup capacity growth as well as tape's shifting role to long-term archiving. It's the industry's fastest drive at its capacity point, with a native data rate of 160 MBps. It uses a new Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) head designed to reduce data read errors, head overcoat technology to boost the life expectancy of the product, and a new standby power management function that reduces the power dissipation of the drive when idle.
Permabit Technology Corp. Enterprise Archive Data Center Series
Permabit's Enterprise Archive Data Center Series addresses data growth challenges in archival storage with a combination of sub-file deduplication and compression, as well as a grid-based architecture, called RAIN-EC. Dividing data among multiple hardware nodes in the grid boosts performance to up to 2 Gbps through parallel processing; keeps archive data available in the event of a node failure; allows for rolling migrations to new hardware over time; uses standard interfaces like CIFS, NFS and WebDAV that keep data accessible to multiple applications; and includes features such as data verification, replication, write once, read many (WORM), and encryption for compliance.
Quantum Corp. DXi7500
The Quantum DXi7500 data deduplication device was the first to offer users a choice between "in-line" and "post-process" data deduplication approaches. Both approaches can also be used simultaneously for different backup jobs. If users don't want to spend time adjusting granular policy settings, the product's "adaptive mode" can also automatically adjust the data deduplication process based on the data ingest rate. The product scales from 9 TB to 180 raw TB and offers up to 4 TB per hour compressed throughput.
Editor's update: Check out the winners of the 2011 backup hardware category.