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Asigra offers free I/O benchmarking tool for disk-based backup

Backup software vendor Asigra is looking to “hold storage vendors’ feet to the fire” with a new free tool it will be offering to customers to validate IOPS on disk-based backup hardware. According to Asigra executive vice president Eran Farajun, sometimes customers end up buying systems to support disk-based backup that are overkill thanks to persuasive salespeople, and others “think they can get away with a cheaper version” and under-buy.

The new tool will simulate read/write loads of different file system configurations and user profiles to simulate the work that Asigra’s backup software would place on the system. Users can simulate configurations of 300, 500 and 1000 sites. “Maybe [getting adequate backup performance out of a disk array] means you switch from Fibre Channel to SATA drives, or you go from a 32-bit to a 64-bit NAS head,” Farajun said. Results of the testing done by the I/O simulator are generally ready in a week or two depending on workload, and can be fed into Excel spreadsheets or Crystal Reports.

Vendors already post results of benchmark testing on sites like SPEC.org, but according to Farajun, “Most of the time, those numbers aren’t that helpful–they’re optimal, utopian, statistical numbers. It’s like going to buy a Camry and the salesperson tells you how fast the NASCAR version can go on a closed course with a professional driver.”

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Bob Laliberte said he saw this move being less about taking on storage vendors and more about Asigra attempting to boost its software’s appeal in the market. “Everyone’s trying to do what they can to show value and value add in this economy,” Laliberte said, adding that one potential application for the new tool would be among service providers who could pass along any cost savings realized by paring down backup infrastructures to customers.

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