Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nimble Storage’s CASL vs Legacy Write Architecture

Nimble Storage’s Cache-Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) is the foundation for its high performance, capacity efficiency, integrated data protection, and simplified lifecycle management of its storage systems. CASL accelerates applications by using flash as a read cache coupled with a write-optimized data layout. The CASL architecture includes features such as flash-based dynamic cache, which accelerates read access to application data by holding a copy of “hot” active data in flash, and a write-optimized data layout, in which data written by a host is first coalesced, then written sequentially as a full stripe to a pool or disk. Other features of CASL include efficient integrated replication, inline universal compression, instantaneous point-in-time snapshots, and zero-copy clones.

Architectures that use a write cache to accelerate writes are often confused with the CASL architecture, which accelerates write performance using a sequential layout. Though both of these may have some similarities at first glance, many people miss the key elements that differentiate CASL from other architectures on the market.

The purpose of CASL is to accelerate back-end disks by turning random IO into sequential IO. Nimble’s CASL architecture has no predetermined mapping of logical block addresses (LBA) to physical locations or block boundaries with CASL’s support for variable block sizes. CASL does not rearrange blocks; it simply constructs a large set of blocks into a large physical stripe, reducing all random write operations into one.  Unlike traditional storage architectures, Nimble’s CASL write performance is not limited by disks and write caches but by the CPUs compressing and decompressing data. 

Traditional storage architectures use LBAs, which uses a map of predetermined physical locations on a disk. Data is written to disks as quickly as possible, but random, non-sequential writes have increased latency over sequential writes resulting in larger write latency. Combined with the need to read data from the same disk drives, read performance is decreased more as a disk tries to balance finding requested data and writing incoming data.

Nimble Storage is revolutionizing data storage with the CASL architecture by leveraging the unique properties of flash and disk to deliver high performance and capacity with the only flash optimized solution.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

VMware Recognized as a Leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant

VMware has recently been named a leader of Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for its x86 server virtualization infrastructure for the fifth year in a row. As a leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions that allow enterprises to thrive in the Cloud Era, customers rely on VMware to help transform the way they build, deliver, and consume IT resources in a manner that is evolutionary and based on users specific needs. VMware continues to transform IT infrastructures as customers are pleased with product capabilities, vendor support, and VMware’s leadership of developing new products to augment virtualization.

VMware has been a leader in the hypervisor market by bringing virtualization into small to medium business and enterprises across the world. VMware’s virtualization strategy embraces the data center and expansion to private and hybrid cloud computing. Gartner’s placement of VMware for the past five years highlights their vision, strategy, and offerings within modern IT. Strengths of VMware that Gartner emphasized include their virtualization strategy that embraces the data center and expansion of private and hybrid cloud computing, continued innovation, high customer satisfaction, and a large installed base (particularly among large enterprises and service provider ecosystems).

VMware’s success in the hypervisor market places them in an ideal position to extend private clouds into the public cloud. VMware vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) is a secure cloud service operated by VMware, built on the proven foundation of vSphere. vCHS supports existing workloads as well new application development, providing the benefits of cloud computing while still maintaining on premise private clouds. Available in three variations, vCHS supports Dedicated Cloud, a physically isolated cloud compute offering; Virtual Private Cloud, logically isolated, multi-tenant compute service with fully private networking; and Disaster Recovery, native cloud-based disaster recovery for vSphere virtual environments. Few companies are prepared to fully migrate to public cloud services, but VMware’s hybrid approach allows IT departments to maintain existing private cloud solutions while embracing public cloud where it makes the most sense.

The 2014 Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure is available for review at: 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Global Cost of Cyberattacks is Rising

Cybercrime continues to be a global concern with an increasing number of incidents reported each year. With more and more breaches happening, and the costs associated with them continuing to rise, it seems no business or enterprise can go untouched. Today, cybercrime is still low risk and high reward, which has contributed to its increasing popularity. We've been aware that crime of this nature has been happening for years, but do we truly know just how much it has and will continue to cost us?

Intel’s McAfee security unit and the Center for Strategic and International Studies released a study in June 2014 that drew on data that is publicly available as well as interviewed experts in an attempt to estimate the financial business losses related to cybercrimes. The report stated that worldwide cyberattack-related losses are estimated at a staggering $400 billion, with $375 billion on the low side and potentially even upwards to $575 billion annually. Findings showed that the majority of incidents go unreported as many businesses choose not to disclose attacks. Researchers also reported that collecting consistent data was difficult because of the fact that countries have not agreed on a clear definition of what is considered cybercrime.

The research examined the direct and indirect costs of a cyberattack including the loss of business information and intellectual property, the cost of securing networks, reputational damage, and the costs of recovering after an attack. The most difficult cost for researchers to estimate for cybercrime is stolen intellectual property, which holds the most value as it could be used to manufacture competing goods. As the use of the Internet for businesses continues to grow, the report states that "the cost of cybercrime will continue to increase as more business functions move online.”

Of the global study, United States companies suffered the highest losses and found that in general, "there are strong correlations between national income levels and losses from cybercrime.”  The United States also had one of the higher confidence rankings of countries tracking cybercrime within their borders. Countries that have weak laws for intellectual property and cybercrime, such as Brazil, were also found to be more targeted with their association of low-risk.

Cybercrime will continue to be an issue as technology, the Internet, and computing grows. At an enterprise it is extremely important to invest in security for your data center now to protect your organization before it ends up really costing you after an attack. "Explaining these variations lies beyond the scope of this report, but one possibility is that cybercriminals decide where to commit their crimes based on an assessment of the value of the target and the ease of entry," the report concluded.

For the complete study, please visit: Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime Economic Impact of Cybercrime II.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Veeam Availability Suite v8 Enables Nonstop Availability

Veeam Software will soon release Veeam Availability Suite, a solution that ensures all data and applications are accessible whenever and wherever they are needed. With Veeam Availability Suite, Veeam has created a new solution category that provides Always-On Business for today’s data centers that never stop working. Built from the foundation of the powerful yet simple Veeam Backup and Replication solution, Veeam Availability Suite extends far beyond just backup and recovery of virtual machines and data. In the past, achieving constant availability of data and applications would require a major investment in fully redundant systems with instant failover to ensure quick recovery.

Moving beyond simply the backup of virtual machines, these investments could only be justified for a few mission critical applications, leaving the majority to be served with legacy backup solutions resulting in recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) of hours or days, falling short of an Always-On-Business. Veeam Availability Suite provides a new solution in availability for the modern data center with an RTO/RPO of less than 15 minutes for all data and applications.

Veeam Availability Suite narrows the availability gap though five key enabling capabilities: high-speed recovery; data loss avoidance with near-continuous data protection; verified protection to guarantee the complete recovery of every application, file or virtual server; risk mitigation, which allows the low-risk deployment of new applications with a production-like test environment within Veeam Virtual Lab; and complete visibility, which actively monitors and alerts users of issues before they impact operations.

New features available in Veeam Availability Suite v8 include:

  • Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL – Allows users to rapidly restore individual databases back to the original or new location. This feature includes point-in-time recovery through transaction log backup and replay, enabling a specific restore of databases to a certain point in time, or even specific transactions. 
  • Replication Enhancements – New replication features include built-in WAN Acceleration with replication jobs that allows users to preform replication from backup files, as opposed to the virtual infrastructure. Also, users can perform planned failovers to facilitate data center migrations with no data loss, improving RTO and RPO. 
  • Encryption – Allows users to secure data at the source during back up, at rest with support for encryption in Backup Copy jobs and hardware and software tape encryption, and data in-flight as it is transferred between Veeam components. 

Veeam Availability Suite v8 will be released this quarter (Q3), and will be showcased this fall at Veeam ON: The World’s Premier Data Center Availability Event in Las Vegas, NV October 6-9 2014.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CommVault Extends Offerings for Microsoft Apps & Cloud Environments

In early May 2014, CommVault announced the enhancement of their Simpana 10 software suite for Microsoft applications and environments. Released earlier this year, Simpana 10 enables enterprises to securely and efficiently discover, protect, manage and create value from data. The new enhancements make Simpana 10 ideal for protecting and managing data in Hyper-V virtual environments, managing workloads in Microsoft Azure, and new integration for SharePoint, Office 365, Exchange, and SQL Server applications.
Delivering enterprise-class compliance and eDiscovery features, CommVault Simpana software extends Microsoft’s built-in archiving support. These features include file and email analytics, a single management interface for federated search, and legal hold. Enterprises can increase the availability of data analytics, collaboration, cloud-based and mobile applications with these capabilities integrated with Windows Explorer, Outlook and other Microsoft applications.

New updates provide more automated ways for enterprises to holistically manage data with deep integration for Microsoft Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V, Azure-hosted clouds, and broad interoperability and support for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Office 365 and Windows endpoint devices. With the use of CommVault Simpana, users can unite data protection operations such as disaster recovery and backup, and effortlessly move data from on-premises infrastructure to Azure cloud storage.

CommVault and Microsoft engineers worked together to provide improvements for Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V virtualization to optimize storage efficiency, manageability, data availability, and network resources for enterprises. These resources include Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) lifecycle management features that extend VM administration to end-users and block-based tracking support for Hyper-V. This enables “incremental forever” backups to minimize impact on production VMs, provide effective data protection and recovery and decrease network requirements. Also, a highly scalable data backup architecture protects hundreds of Hyper-V VMs in a single node by using both incremental forever methodology and a cluster shared volumes proxy backups.

The ContentStore, a component of the Simpana platform, is the single source of CommVault-managed information for all data on any storage tier from virtualized to physical infrastructure and hosted workloads. Reducing storage requirements and capturing granular intelligence about the data, the converged Simpana backup and archive process provides key enhancements including ContentStore mail, Office 365 integration, optimizes protection for SharePoint, SQL Server 2014 support, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), file sync and upload.

The Microsoft enhancements are available immediately worldwide in the most recent Simpana 10 release. Contact Great Lakes Computer at 888-352-5578 for more information.