Tributary Brings Storage Director to IBM i 6.1, 7.1 Environments
May 22, 2012 Dan Burger
Tributary Systems has introduced its latest version of Storage Director, its software offering that provides backup storage virtualization. Storage Director version 3.04 introduces support for IBM i 6.1, 7.1 and VIOS, as well as enhancements to its remote data replication function that should reduce network latency.
Storage Director was designed for fault-tolerant, high availability computing environments like IBM i, but its capabilities to work in heterogeneous datacenters make it particularly useful. In addition to IBM i, it works in Windows, Unix, Linux, z/OS, NonStop, and OpenVMS environments.
Among the benefits of Storage Director touted by Tributary are automated backup and restore operations; integrated monitoring capabilities for reports, analysis, and capacity planning; compression/AES encryption on both disk cache and physical tape media; and remote backup and restore features to satisfy off-site archival requirements. According to Tributary, it meets or exceeds most data backup requirements for speed, capacity, compatibility, and reliability.
Storage Director is designed to strengthen and add performance to existing tape systems. Like all virtual tape libraries, it accelerates backups by streaming backup data from the server to the disk-based cache, which is configured to emulate a tape drive that the server understands. In an IBM i environment, that’s an IBM 3580 LTO drive and a 3584 LTO tape library.
It allows users to create as many virtual tape connections as needed and send the data to disk via Fibre Channel or iSCSI. Because the I/O performance of spinning disk is higher than all but the latest generation super tape drives, the elimination of direct tape connections to older hardware typically speeds backup times by a factor of four or more, company officials say.
In a 2009 interview with IT Jungle, Tributary’s director of business development Ed Ahl described Storage Director as slightly different than the average VTL.
“We say that we work like a VTL, but we’re not necessarily the same as a VTL because typically VTLs are disk-based libraries,” Ahl said. “Our technology is really designed around using disk as a cache mechanism, not as a final resting place. With a small amount of disk cache, we can literally manage petabytes of storage utilizing tape on the back end.”
Two often-realized benefits that come with a Storage Director deployment is a reduction in the number of tape drives needed to handle backups and squeezing backups into a smaller window of time. A case study published on the company’s website describes how Storage Director was implemented by a large bank to cut its backup window from three days to 12 hours, while consolidating 13 tape drives to four.