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April 13, 2008


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Jenny Smythe

You might want to look at OpenStorage (NetBackup). That is pretty close to what you are looking for...



This is true, to a certain (limited) extent. However, without wanting to be too contrarian, it is still more of an idea than a final stable implementation. I am also a little unhappy with the additional "layer" in the architecture that it introduces, and feel that there still needs to be greater integration of deduplication appliances (which we could argue is at least partly the responsibility of the appliance vendors). There are also big issues with the approach when more than one NBU Master server is involved.

At the end of the day, I will make one other observation: innovation has been happening much faster in backup hardware and appliances than software. I am hoping that the backup application vendors recognize this, and step up! (Innovation in this context means useful, practical features that makes our lives either easier, cheaper, or both!)


I had a comment, but it seemed kind of long, so I posted it on the NetBackup Blog.



Tim, appreciate the comments, and the spirit of the coopetition. Since you brought it up (!), I do think OpenStorage is a step in the right direction. However, as I indicated to Jenny, I have concerns:

- It is for disk (as NAS/CIFS) only as I understand? Correct me if I am wrong. I would love to see equivalent functionality for VTL. For a lot of reasons, some of which I have written about here, I prefer VTL to disk, all things being equal, and think VTL has significant advantages over straight disk in both the SMB space and the enterprise. It is not black and white, but there are some pretty compelling reasons that VTLs work better for most people most of the time.

- It doesn't resolve the issue (again, as far as I know) if I have more than one master, or a different master at each site--which is often the case.

- I struggle with the architectural complexity of multiple layers of Media Servers, in the sense that I think this is a step in the wrong direction (adding complexity to the environment).

- EMC is a member (participant? Not sure of the right word here) of the OpenStorage program. Clearly we do see the value in it, and intend to deliver products leveraging it. However, my reaction, and in no way representative of any official EMC line, is that it is only a first step, that it needs broader participation from both vendors (i.e. more than just DataDomain delivering product) and customers (I personally have observed a very low uptake on it in the NetBackup install base) to be interesting, and that equivalent or near equivalent functionality is offered by Networker with its file type and advanced file type devices.

Call me cranky, but none of it is good enough. We could all push innovation much further. More automation, more support for different sorts of devices, more flexibility, and more support for the way business really does backup in terms of process, procedures, and architectures.

The future is a fun place to work, but if we don't spend enough time in the present, then we are just dreaming. The point of revolution is not just to think big, but do big.

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