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Backup Hardware

GOLD:  

Data Domain's DD200's compression rate wowed judges.
Data Domain DD200 Recovery Appliance
When reading through the specs of Data Domain's DD200 Recovery Appliance, one of the judges wondered if the company's claim of 20 times compression was a typo. Another eye-popping stat that could have been misconstrued as a typo is the appliance's ability to house more than 23TB of recovery data. Are the specs typos? Nope.

The DD200 uses a combination of standard tape compression and a data reduction technique Data Domain calls Global Compression Redundancy Pooling. Together, these two types of compression reduce capacity requirements by 20 times. The 20 times compression rate allows 1.2TB of useable physical capacity to look like approximately

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23TB of compressed recovery data.

One judge said, "DD200 is the first product I have seen that allows me to use the existing tools, and yet it reduces the heck out of the amount of data."

Using the existing tools is key in implementation. DD200 is a "non-invasive product" that's essentially a plug-and-play appliance which can be up and running in a day. DD200 also works seamlessly alongside Veritas Software Corp. and Legato Systems Inc. backup software.

And what about price? One storage manager we asked said, "The price is excellent, assuming that it includes capability for storing 23TB. It seems well worth the $58,000 for a single-purpose disk backup facility."

SILVER:  

TotalStorage's speed is worth the high price tag.
IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Tape Drive 3592 Model J1A
IBM's 3592 tape drive is expensive, but in the long haul, it's well worth it. This successor of the IBM 3590 tape drive is capable of storing 300GB on a single cartridge at a 40MB/s data stream rate and it can support up to a 120MB/s transfer rate to move a terabyte approximately every three hours.

One of the judges praised the 3592, calling it a "superior tape technology and engineering effort." The 3592 features dual FC-2 ports that allow for attachment to Fibre Channel-arbitrated loop (FC-AL), FC SAN or a direct connection with a supported server. Speaking of support, this drive is supported in IBM and StorageTek 9310 Powderhorn tape silos and standalone racks.

Some of the innovations the 3592 provide are "capacity scaling"--allowing fast access to data by initializing cartridges. It also employs a "virtual backhitch" which improves performance by eliminating backhitch operations.

One storage manager said the drive can be "useful in a mainframe environment replacing older, lower capacity drives."

BRONZE:   EMC Centera with Compliance Edition
A number of the judges used the word "innovative" when describing the ATA disk-based fixed-content features of EMC Corp.'s Centera with Compliance Edition. We agree. Centera essentially marked the start of the content-addressed storage (CAS) offerings. Its write once, read many (WORM) disk capabilities make this a perfect candidate to handle the massive crunch compliance regulations are applying to many shops.

Using the features of the Compliance Edition, Centera uses integrated hardware and software codes to leverage rewritable disk and make it unalterable. This method of "fingerprinting" data makes for easy recovery. While the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) doesn't require this function, the Centera performs it as a quality control measure by leveraging it to check with data periodically to make sure it hasn't been tampered with. These features allow Centera to meet and clearly exceed today's strictest record retention regulations.

Why just the bronze for a product this innovative? One storage manager we spoke to said he liked the idea of CAS, but was unsure he'd buy a separate device for that specific function.

Another wrinkle to watch--Centera's proprietary API interface.

This was first published in January 2004

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