Quantum recently announced enhancements to its Quantum vmPRO software
which brings open standard data protection and archive capabilities to
virtualized environments. To find out more, VMblog interviewed Casey
Burns, Product Marketing Manager at Quantum. Casey talked about the Quantum
enterprise solution for backup and archive for virtualized environments,
how it works, its benefits, what makes it stand out over the
competition, and more.
is the latest update around what Quantum is doing in the
Casey Burns: Quantum
entered into the virtualization data protection space about two years ago with
the purchase of Pancetera Software, and quickly introduced vmPRO to the
market. Since then, vmPRO has amassed a
pretty good following, and picked up additional momentum with the introduction
of vmPRO Standard
Edition - a full-featured, no time restraint, free
version of vmPRO.
vmPRO has evolved as a
product, but its focus remains protecting data in native format, allowing
customers to easily browse, search and restore VMs and individual files without
requiring a backup application, and enabling them to use their choice of backup
medium: disk, tape and cloud.
is it important to improve performance and workload efficiency in virtual
environments? How is Quantum helping to do this?
Burns: Before virtualization technologies, users
typically taxed their physical servers at maybe 15-20% utilization, but now by
adding virtual machines they are taxing their servers upwards of 85%. This shift has caused servers, particularly
during backup processes, to become very inefficient, so higher performance and
efficiency for backup applications in the virtual world is a must.
Quantum vmPRO provides a patented data
reduction technology that reduces network utilization and storage footprint,
and reduces or eliminates disk I/O on the virtual server. vmPRO works directly with the FAT of the file
system inside the VM, eliminating data no longer needed by the file system (log
files, paging, swap files, etc). Since
this data is not sent by the VM, the VMs can get back to work faster doing
their primary business role and not spending time doing backups.
We have thousands of customers and on average
we see 60% reduction in data sent by the VM, all before Change Block Tracking
or data deduplication. This is a
tremendous amount of data reduction and something we are really proud of as a
technology. We have also seen a dramatic
improvement in performance with the latest vmPRO 3.1 - in some cases up to 900%
improvement compared to the prior version.
We have accomplished this by using HotAdd, and by delivering up to four
backup jobs through a single vmPRO appliance, and by laying out the file stream
to provide more synergy with deduplication appliances.
you elaborate on how vmPRO is different from traditional backup applications designed for virtual environments?
Burns: We acquired Pancetera mainly for the data
reduction technology, but what also inspired the transaction was the ability to
protect virtual data, and more importantly, protect virtual data in native
format. This is completely different
from any other backup application on the market today. All other backup applications, either
traditional or virtualization specialty apps, protect data in a proprietary
format. We found this approach to be
very "old school", limiting a customer's flexibility with their data. The only access to data protected by other
backup applications is through that backup application alone. This locks a customer into that platform and
could limit their backup and DR choices in the future (whatever shiny and new
backup medium emerges beyond today's choices).
With vmPRO, protecting data in native format provides so much more
flexibility, and is the key driver in our value proposition for providing
customers with speed and simplicity, business continuity, workload efficiency, investment
protection and open standards backup and archive.
could you clarify vmPRO's offerings?
- Native File Backup: Protecting data in native format is certainly
unique to vmPRO and provides so much flexibility for our customers,
particularly around the ease of being able to browse, search and recover
data. Also, we are not locking the data
into an application. As IT personnel
look into ITaaS and getting the most of their data, if the data is completely
locked up in a single format, this application and the data can quickly become
a boat anchor and inhibit IT shops from moving in the right direction.
- Speed &
With data residing in native format, customers can quickly and easily browse,
search and restore VMs and files, without a backup application. Since the files are sitting in native format,
they can easily be dragged and dropped (or copy and paste) back into the
environment, all without the need to even power on the VM to find the file or
deploy a virtual helper to deliver this capability. Going back to efficiency, this is truly an
efficient process and requires minimal resources as there is no translation
needing to happen to get the data back.
Think about being able to run data integrity checks by just copying and
pasting the file into the work environment, pretty quick, easy and
painless. This can also be done with
VMs, again regardless of the backup medium.
This can all be done without the backup application even present. We have some great videos on our website that
demonstrate this capability.
This native format protection methodology can be extended into DR or business
continuity. With the VMs and their data
sitting in a DR site, the data can be quickly brought back into the primary
site or customers can quickly and easily boot VMs from the remote location no
matter the medium (yes, even tape if you wanted to). The backup application is not even necessary
at this location as the data is resident in native format. Simply using vCenter or the VMware console,
point the datastore and the new path and you are off and running. A lot of our competitors in this space will
clearly state not to boot VMs from dedupe devices as this is too resource
intensive. Why? Because their data is in proprietary format
and takes a lot resources to un-package and translate this data back for the
hypervisor or the file type requested.
Restoring or booting VMs from the remote site can all be done without the
backup application present. Think about
now having a DR solution without needing to buy a whole host of additional
backup server hardware or licenses from the backup application provider, this
will dramatically reduce your management overhead and overall cost associated
Quantum's patented data reduction
technology is designed specifically to reduce network load, storage footprint,
but most importantly reduce the disk I/O on the VMs getting them back to work
faster than any other backup application on the market today.
Protection: When we talk about investment protection with
our customers we discuss how using native format will not lock them into a
specific platform or backup medium, but we also talk about how vmPRO is
deployed that provides investment protection for them. vmPRO is a virtual appliance, complete OVF
template that is designed with virtualization in mind so it is an integral part
of virtual infrastructure. Since it is a
virtual appliance, there is no need to stand up a physical Windows box and
spend time deploying and maintaining a physical server. This is also key from a
scalability perspective. As a customer's
environment changes with capacity, performance requirements change as
well. vmPRO can easily deploy more
virtual appliances to spread the work load or protect a specific pool of VMs or
host(s). So investment protection for us
is about working with an existing infrastructure -- from deployment as a
virtual appliance to using existing backup mediums to using whatever new backup
mediums are deployed down the road. This
really leads into the idea around Open Standards data protection and archive.
- Open Standard: With vmPRO protecting data in native format,
the data is always available no matter the backup medium, and all vmPRO needs
is a NAS target to protect data. This
means any data protection scheme that includes a NAS interface can be used with
vmPRO to easily and simply deliver open standards based data protection and
archive of VMs and their associated data.
does vmPRO stand up against the big names in this space?
Burns: Quantum vmPRO has been very purposeful in appealing
to the virtualized data protection space, and compares quite well to the "big
names." Key advantages such as native
format data protection and the ability to deploy vmPRO as a virtual appliance
provide the flexibility and integration with the hypervisor that customers are
looking for. Patented data reduction technology allows those VMs to get back to
work faster as well. We are seeing
strong momentum over the last few months with vmPRO, which is also driving
sales and opportunities for our DXi and cloud-based offerings. These technologies combine for a unique and
compelling story: delivering complete data protection for
physical and virtual environments, with dedupe appliances, cloud offerings and
understand the newest release of vmPRO includes backup and archive to disk and
LTFS tape. Why now? What are customers saying?
Burns: We are really excited to bring this
functionality to market. Up to this
release, we were always asked by customers if we can protect virtual data to
tape. The answer was "Yes - through a third party backup application." Now we have a direct avenue to get
virtualized data to tape. As the leader
in tape based backup, it was a natural decision for us to support tape with
vmPRO. Using an open standard for tape
with LTFS is a really cool story. Since
the data on the tape is in native format using vmPRO, being able to browse this
data like a file system with LTFS and restore files or whole VMs from tape is
extremely painless. Again, no one else
has this capability. Customers are
genuinely excited about this. The LTFS
technology is really efficient and provides a cost effective archive solution
for not only virtualized data, but data of any type. Imagine being able to just drag and drop a
2TB file to tape and use your existing tape assets for archive and keeping all
this data in native format for easy access whenever from wherever. Really fantastic stuff.
do you see virtualized data protection fitting into customer cloud BasS and
Burns: Obviously virtualized data protection is a
good fit for cloud-based backup and DR.
Quantum announced its own cloud services back in April of 2012 and have
seen tremendous success with this offering.
Backup, and to a larger extent DR, can provide customers with an opportunity
to "test" the waters of cloud-based services before jumping into the model with
their primary business applications. The
main platform for Q-Cloud consists of vmPRO and our DXi V-Series of virtual
deduplication appliances. When we
announced vmPRO 3.1, we also announced DXi V4000 - the big brother to the
already popular DXi V1000 - which has up to 24TB blockpool. If we use conservative numbers of 15:1 dedupe
ratio, customers can store up to 360TB in a single virtual instance of DXi
next for Quantum? What can you share with the direction of
where Quantum is headed in the virtualization or cloud market?
Burns: We are going to continue to be aggressive
and evolutionary in the marketplace with vmPRO.
As for future capabilities, we will continue to gain tighter integration
with VMware in some of their cloud based initiatives, work closer with public
cloud providers and also deliver Hyper-V support.
Once again, a special thank you to Casey Burns, Product Marketing
Manager with Quantum, for taking time out to speak with VMblog.