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Seagate Technology extends enterprise storage reach in backup, HPC

Seagate Technology extends its enterprise storage reach with new and updated products in data protection portfolio, additional partnerships in HPC.

Hard drive manufacturer Seagate Technology extended its enterprise storage reach this week by rebranding, updating and expanding its data protection line and adding partnerships with HP and IBM in high-performance computing.

Seagate today said it would bring the EVault data protection portfolio under the Seagate brand. It has made performance- and scalability-boosting updates to its Seagate Backup and Recovery Software and Seagate Technology Cloud Backup and Recovery Services, and also launched a new scale-out Seagate Backup and Recovery Private Cloud infrastructure product and Seagate Data Management Services to analyze storage and data usage.

That follows moves earlier this week around Seagate's ClusterStor high-performance computing (HPC) platform. HP said it will resell ClusterStor scale-out storage 1500 and 9000 appliances with its Apollo portfolio of computing products and services for managing HPC workloads.

Seagate also unveiled plans to integrate IBM's GPFS-based Spectrum Scale software with its ClusterStor HPC storage systems. The new storage appliance is expected to become available later this year from Seagate's sales partners.

"A lot of people, and rightly so, think of Seagate as a hard drive manufacturer, but through a series of acquisitions and organic development, we've really become much more than that," said David Flesh, Seagate's vice president of marketing for cloud systems and electronic solutions.

Another name change for Seagate Technology EVault

Seagate acquired EVault Inc. in 2007. EVault was first part of Seagate and then managed as a separate entity, initially under the name i365 and later reverting to the EVault brand name. Seagate brought EVault back under direct management last year with the formation of its cloud systems business and settled on the name change this year, according to Flesh.

Flesh said the company decided the Seagate brand had greater recognition. He claimed Seagate has received no negative pushback from EVault's more than 43,000 customers and he expects the transition to the new name will be gradual, as new products roll out.

"The main thing that Seagate is trying to do is to swim upstream, to go from the 'S' part of 'SMB' to mid-range enterprises and eventually even larger," said Dave Simpson, a senior storage analyst at 451 Research. "The name EVault was very much associated with the SMB market, and going with the Seagate brand gets them away from that."

Updates to the Seagate Backup and Recovery Software and Seagate Cloud Backup and Recovery Service promise performance improvements of up to 400% in backup, restore and replication in comparison to the prior EVault offerings, enabling larger data sets to complete in the same backup window.

Flesh said the performance improvements were necessary to support the petabyte-scale capacities that the updated products support. He said the traditional EVault installed base was primarily branch and offices and departmental deployments because the actual "vaults" storing the data were not large enough to support large enterprises. He said the company "basically re-architected" the software to support massive scalability.

The new Seagate Backup and Recovery Private Cloud, due at the end of August, combines the company's Backup and Recovery Software and the rack-scale systems based on Seagate's converged infrastructure through the Xyratex acquisition. The product is geared for managed service providers (MSPs) and enterprise customers operating as service providers for business units.

"We've moved from being able to support hundreds of terabytes to virtually unlimited scale-out," Flesh said. "We're providing all the software for the providers to be able to manage, the multi-tenancy, the security. It's really taking what has been known and loved about the old EVault solutions and putting them on a much bigger, more scalable platform."

The new Seagate Data Management Service gives customers an option to have the company's professional services team install agent-based software to scan their storage infrastructure and help make decisions on storage tiers. The service reports on how and where data of differing types and ages is used. Flesh said the professional services engagement might last a week or two, depending on the size of the organization.

Flesh said pricing for Seagate's new data protection and management products and services will be determined by its partners.

ClusterStor expands with HP, IBM deals

Seagate Technology's ClusterStor storage system, which is based on the open source Lustre parallel file system, came through its 2014 acquisition of U.K.-based Xyratex Ltd. The new ClusterStor partnerships with HP and IBM give Seagate a chance to expand beyond its existing customer base. HP is "far and away the No. 1 player" in the HPC market, according to Steve Conway, research vice president for HPC at IDC.

"It's a major win for Seagate," he said.

Joseph George, executive director of big data solutions and hyperscale servers at HP, wrote in an email that HP entered into the arrangement with Seagate "to address a portfolio gap in the HPC storage category." He said HP's server division does not resell any non-HP storage besides Seagate's ClusterStor, but the company expects to offer a Lustre-based option through an HPC alliance with Intel announced on Monday.

IDC's Conway said the "big two" parallel file systems in the HPC market are Lustre and IBM's GPFS. He said Lustre is younger and growing faster, but the more mature GPFS is more full-featured. Seagate needs to offer both options to gain access to the biggest possible market, according to Conway.

"It makes a whole lot of sense to have Spectrum Scale already on board," Conway said. "People these days expect the software to be pre-integrated and pre-tested in the factory before it gets out the door. That's especially the case in the HPC market because of the size of the systems and the fact that they tend to be a big mix of different types of components. People can usually make it work together, but making it work together well with performance is a different matter altogether."

Flesh said HPC customers of the company's open source Lustre-based ClusterStor tend to fall in the areas of academia, research and government and take a more hands-on management approach. He said IBM Spectrum Scale users tend to be in enterprise environments that have grown to expect certain storage management capabilities they have experienced in traditional storage systems.

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