2021. What an interesting year. With the world turned upside down by a pandemic that seemingly had its sights set on...
ETI-NET and HPE cooperate to provide significant performance improvements with Tape and Backup
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose! The more things change the more they stay the same. It was only a short time ago that the NonStop community was in Leipzig Germany for the GTUG event after which we visited the Porsche factory and test track. Probably no other car in the world is as iconic as the Porsche 911 and should you look at a 1998 Porsche 911 and then glance across at a 2018 Porsche 911, to the eye they look the same. And yet, soon you pick up minor body differences – a vent here, a wheel housing flare there as yes, they are very different vehicles. Porsche engineers didn’t sit back and do nothing in the intervening twenty years even as they erred on the side of caution when working with the overall shape of the 911, unless the Porsche faithful took exception to the final product.
Much the same can be said today about Tape and Backup technology – while the requirements and objectives for Tape and Backup haven’t changed all that much over the years, what has been evolving “under the hood” is anything but trivial. Working with HPE and the NonStop team, ETI-Net has been aware of all that has been happening below the surface and it lead to ETI-Net supporting much bigger block sizes. When you see the newer models of the Porsche 911, their bigger tires offering so much more grip become obvious and with bigger block sizes comes a lot better transfer performance. And this is the positive outcome from the collaboration of HPE and ETI-Net engineers that came about as they worked together to improve Backup product offering. Even if nothing is visible, the end results are very noticeable. So, what is new for NonStop Backup?
With L17.08 RVU large block size support for Tape IOP (NonStop X) has been implemented. This feature increased the Tape IOP block size from the former maximum size of 56KB to a new maximum size of 1MB. This feature improvement is only supported with HPE virtual tape drive (BackBox VTR and VTC). Of course, the more things change the more they stay the same and when it comes to computer systems, they continue to get faster, have more memory and yes, support bigger I/O pipes to storage and communications. This combination of speed and big pipes was what led to the continuation of the partnership HPE and ETI-Net that has been in place for a very long time, but how does this come together to give BackBox this enhanced capability
With 52K block size (which was the maximum for decades on NonStop) there was a need to spread the backup across 8 -10 jobs to saturate one fiber. On the other hand, with what HPE is now shipping, just with an 896K block size, 2 backup streams is enough to get the maximum the Fiber Channel (FC) connection can provide. The need for this capability has come about following the sizeable uptick in number of transactions being processed – what represented a large file seven years ago might have been just a couple of megabytes but today, it’s all about gigabytes and even terabytes and moving this amount of data demanded a solution such as HPE and ETI-Net have jointly developed with BackBox.
This year, IT industry has been affected by Meltdown and Specter, serious viruses that attack personal computers, mobile devices, and the cloud and can exploit critical vulnerabilities in modern processors, including x86 processors. It is important for NonStop users to know that all fixes that have been developped by Intel, Microsoft and HPE have been tested and when it comes to potential impact on performance, these tests by the vendors showed no impact or at worst, just a minor (<5%) for worst cases scenarios (encryption, compression and multiple stream).
You may not be able to tell Porsches manufactured in different years but you should be able to understand what makes today’s NonStop X systems as powerful and versatile as they are – it’s mostly a combination of new software and vastly improved interfaces and connectivity paths. And, of course, if you have any questions about BackBox or our new vBackBox don’t hesitate to ask. Furthermore, you can always email us or give us a call – we would be only too happy to respond to any questions you may have.