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VMblog Expert Interview: Sathya Sankaran Talks Catalogic Software ECX Copy Data Management and HPE Nimble Storage

catalogic sathya sankaran 

Catalogic Software is a developer of innovative data protection solutions.  This week, the company announced that its flagship ECX copy data management (CDM) solution now supports the HPE Nimble Storage all flash and hybrid array storage systems.  To find out more, VMblog spoke with Sathya Sankaran, Catalogic Software's Chief Operating Officer.

VMblog:  Catalogic Software recently announced its partnership with HPE Nimble Series.  Could you give us a quick overview of the partnership? 

Sathya Sankaran:  Catalogic's ECX in-place copy data management (CDM) for HPE Nimble Storage simplifies and automates snapshot operations of HPE Nimble All Flash and Hybrid Arrays infrastructure by providing an application-aware and VM-aware copy management software layer. ECX reduces copy sprawl and allows you to effectively use these otherwise idle copies for high value activities such as Dev-Test, staging, analytics, forensics and DevOps. 

Our in-place CDM approach has significant advantages over our competitors.  One is that we are "plug and play"- requiring no additional purpose-built infrastructure for our customers to purchase and manage. We also don't need "golden copies" when your production data is a true platinum version. In-place allows not just instant restores, but also instant protection for companies that constantly battle ever-shrinking backup windows. 

VMblog:  Can you discuss some of the tangible value-add from this partnership?

Sankaran:  Yes, for one, IT departments spend too much time completing repetitive tasks, like allocating storage resources to internal data consumers. With ECX template-based provisioning and copy management, customers have access to easy self-service and can request the copies they need, when they need them via a self-service portal interface.

We are also seeing an industrial shift where some organizations no longer have people running systems, but systems are running systems. As a product built with REST APIs from day 0, these organizations can achieve full stack automation for applications, hypervisors and heterogeneous storage platforms through a single orchestration platform.

We'd also say that HPE Nimble Storage snapshots are an excellent way to capture large data sets quickly, but database transactions will continue to take place in-between snapshots. ECX includes Oracle and SQL Server log capturing to provide point-in-time recovery to transactions that fall between snapshot captures. ECX also tracks these copies and facilitates instant clean-ups, refreshes and resets.

VMblog:  How comprehensively do you support HPE Nimble?

Sankaran:  ECX supports the full line of HPE Nimble All Flash systems: AF20, AF20Q, AF40, AF60, and AF80. In addition, the HPE Nimble Hybrid Arrays systems: HF20, HF20C, HF20H, HF40, HF40C, HF60, and HF60C.

Because ECX makes use of the HPE Nimble Storage snapshot engine, it takes full advantage of the exceptional data reduction features of the HPE Nimble Storage array. There's no need for system tuning, either. Copies created by ECX are automatically space efficient using HPE Nimble's Zero-Copy Clones and high performance. We intend to extend our platform to support three-way replication and cloud volumes block in subsequent updates.

VMblog:  You have partnerships with Pure, NetApp, and of course IBM Storage.  What brought you to HPE Nimble Storage?

Sankaran:  The HPE Nimble Storage name is esteemed, mature and shares our philosophy of providing intelligent, self-managing solutions that free up IT teams to innovate in other ways. Our philosophy is to build a platform where application aware copy services are available to customers irrespective of the primary storage vendor they choose. Our expansion to HPE Nimble is consistent with our vision of building a next-gen hybrid cloud orchestration engine that facilitates a common set of copy services for both on-prem and public cloud storage options.

VMblog:  Let's discuss ECX for a moment and your "in-place" approach.

Sankaran:  Some of the benefits are straight forward: 1) low server impact 2) fast backups 3) fast restore 4) better space efficiency for copies and 5) great TCO. Customers are simply maximizing their investments into the primary storage they've already chosen.

Other benefits are a bit more subtle. For example, when you replicate data to a copy data appliance, you often rehydrate data and recompress it at the target. You spend enormous (often 5x) network bandwidth and CPU cycles on a ZERO-BENEFIT outcome. Replication within a storage family keeps the storage efficiencies intact without unnecessarily burdening your infrastructure.

Also, your test-dev and staging is done on your production storage with comparable performance. Customers are not relegated to test on purpose-built copy storage that has no correlation to production performance.

Ransomware is a top concern for all CIOs. With the in-place approach, you not only get back to an operational state quickly, you get back to an operational state without compromising performance, unlike running these workloads from secondary appliances. It is the difference between running on spare tires and getting a Formula1 pit stop experience.

VMblog:  How do you envision this partnership changing the CDM landscape?

Sankaran:  We envision that happening in a few ways.  We think the conversation with customers will pivot to the data layer instead of just speeds and feeds. Customers demand full-stack agility for self-service provisioning and this partnership helps deliver that experience without compromising on performance. We don't want to be selling a new car to a customer that just needs new wheels. Modern day storage platforms like HPE Nimble Storage have all the features needed to build an effective copy data management strategy without needing to bring in a different storage stack.

VMblog:  What does licensing look like for your new joint ECX/HPE Nimble end users?

Sankaran:  Unlike other solutions that require complex licensing based on data size, CPU cores, database instances or other metrics subject to continual change and increase, Catalogic uses a simple storage array-based subscription licensing. It is an "all you can eat" model that allows customers to use the product as much as they'd like and extract more value for them. This is okay and we encourage it.

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Published Friday, July 17, 2020 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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