Data Domain Delivers Native IBM i Support
January 25, 2011 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops looking for a virtual tape library (VTL) and data de-duplication solution can add Data Domain to their list of vendors to research following the EMC subsidiary’s announcement last week that it has added native support for the IBM i operating system. The news eliminated Data Domain as one of the last major VTL and data de-duplication vendors to not support the IBM i operating system.
IBM i servers can now support many of the capabilities that Data Domain storage devices can offer, including continuous disk-based backup, in-line data de-duplication, encryption, and off-site data replication facilities. Considering Data Domain’s reputation as a best-of-breed provider of data de-duplication capabilities, this is good news for large and medium-sized IBM i shops that had been forced to look elsewhere for this increasingly critical functionality.
Data Domain’s devices connect to IBM i servers using Fibre Channel connections, and appear to the IBM i server as a high-speed tape library. Customers must purchase the optional Virtual Tape Library software package to connect the Data Domain devices to IBM i servers.
The vendor says IBM i shops can expect to see data throughput rates up to 8.1 TB per hour using its in-line, block-level de-duplication algorithms, and data reduction rates of 10 to 30 times. The largest Data Domain device, the DD890, is supported by IBM i servers, and supports a maximum of 384 TB of storage, or 14.2 PB of logical storage.
While the Data Domain VTL is restricted to using Fibre Channel to accept IBM i backups, it can use other techniques to get data off other platforms, including appearing as network attached storage (NAS), or using the CIFS, NFS, NDMP, or Data Domain “Boost” protocols. These protocols are not supported with the VTL option, and therefore not with IBM i environments. However, a Data Domain VTL device that’s connected to an IBM i server via Fibre Channel can simultaneously use these other connections to draw data from other servers.
Data Domain lists Backup Recovery and Media Services (BRMS), the backup utility that IBM includes with the OS, as a supported backup product. IBM i save file and save library commands and Tivoli Storage Manager, which may be used by a handful of IBM i shops, are also supported. There is no reason to believe that other backup utilities, such as Help/Systems Robot/SAVE, wouldn’t work here.
IBM i shops can choose from two main families of Data Domain devices, including the DD600 and DD800 series, both of which support the VTL software option. The DD600 series, which is aimed at mid-sized companies, ranges from 6 TB to 76 TB of raw capacity, and features data throughput of 675 GB per hour to 5.4 TB per hour (using the Data Domain Boost feature). The enterprise-level DD800 series delivers from 192 TB to 384 TB of raw capacity, and data throughput rates of 5.1 TB per hour to 14.7 TB per hour (using DD Boost).
Data Domain supports i5/OS V5R4 and IBM i 6.1 with its VTL offerings; IBM i 7.1 is not supported at this time. Companies must purchase the EMC Data Domain Virtual Tape Library software option to gain support for IBM i operating environments. Data Domain Operating System (DD OS) version 5.0 or later is also required.
The vendor made several other announcements last week, including the launch of its Global Deduplication Array (GDA). Composed of two DD890 controllers, Data Domain bills its GDA as the world’s fastest de-duplication storage system, with a maximum throughput of 26.3 TB per hour, which is pretty darn fast.
It also announced its DD Archiver, a new disk-based storage system based on its DD860 controller. The Archiver segments its storage into multiple tiers to accommodate the different retention and performance requirements of fresh data, which has a higher chance of being recalled for recovery purposes, versus older data, which has a lower chance of being called but must still be retained.