Considerations for Protecting Large Scale-Out NAS Clusters

We recently published a solution page that focuses on a new way to protect large scale-out NAS clusters.  As with all solutions we develop, this one started with a customer – two customers actually.

In both cases, these customers were storing Petabytes of data on large Isilon systems. Their protection approaches were different.  In one case, the customer was replicating between two Isilon clusters, using a second system as a ‘target.’  In the other case, the customer was using a more traditional backup application to back up to tape.  And while these approaches had worked for years, data growth in both cases forced both companies to look at refreshing their secondary storage architecture, and their backup methodology.  And of course, a strong desire to reduce infrastructure costs provided some extra business case incentive. 

Backing Up Massive Amounts of Data Everyday

In both cases, these customers had some stringent performance requirements for their backups, needing to back up massive amounts of data every day.  And when I say massive, in one case, the need was 2 PBs per day of throughput required, eventually being stored on a 200+ PB archive.  Backing up that amount of data in such a short period of time requires a number of technologies – an efficient data mover, ways to balance the backup loads across the cluster, and a storage target with very fast streaming performance to be able to stream the data in. 

Answering the Challenge

It was a unique challenge, and our team of solution architects and engineers put together a solution. That solution, leverages one of the data services of our StorNext File System, FlexSync.  FlexSync scans the ‘source’ file system and make copies to the secondary storage target, in this case our StorNext File System.  Then once the data has been copied and streamed to a StorNext disk cache, StorNext offloads the data to a lower cost secondary storage target.  For these customers, that secondary storage was tape, but the other alternative we are positioning and recommending, is an ActiveScale object storage system. Or a public cloud object store, with a StorNext disk cache sitting in front of it.  Regardless of your requirements of preference for that long term storage repository, StorNext has you covered. 

Meet Backup Targets and Reduce Costs Up to 50%-75%

This solution enabled these customers to meet their backup performance targets, while reducing their costs anywhere from 50% to 75% versus their current approach.  How?  Well the most common approaches to protecting Isilon clusters are replicating to another Isilon (which doubles both primary storage costs, and primary storage support costs), or use a batch backup application, which typically involve expensive licensing fees.  By using a small StorNext disk cache, sized just large enough to handle the necessary ingest requirements, then offloading those files to low cost storage like tape or object storage, we are able to help our customers save both on their secondary storage costs, and on their data management / backup costs. 

How Much Will You Save? Find Out Using our TCO Calculator

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our Scale-Out NAS Protection solution page for more details where you’ll find a TCO calculator and a link to speak to one of our solution architects. 

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