Were you to have been asked that question some years ago, the answer most likely would have bee “I’m not sure”....
Tributary Systems’ Storage Director
- A Technical Brief
Regular readers of “The NonStop Insider” will certainly recognize both Tributary Systems, who has been supplying NonStop OEM Tape, Tape Libraries, and Library Management software to NonStop customers for the better part of two decades, and Storage Director, the most advanced and versatile backup solution for the NonStop Enterprise environment.
So for this month’s Insider, I’m going to present a short Technical overview of our flagship Storage Director product.
Put succinctly, Storage Director is a software defined, policy-based and tiered Enterprise backup virtualization solution that enables data from any host, OS or backup application, to be backed up to any storage device, media or technology, including IBM’s Cloud Object Storage (Cleversafe) platform, HCP (Hitachi Content Platform), or any S3 compatible cloud. Storage Director is a fully virtualized target for any backup application such as Spectrum Protect, NetBackup, Commvault, Veeam, etc. and enables policy-based data pools to be created and backed up to multiple targets and replicated for remote storage and DR. Storage Director is unique in being able to present a single backup target or solution for backing up all open environments, such as Linux, Windows, VMWare, UNIX, etc. as well as all proprietary host platforms, such as IBM Mainframe (z/OS), iSeries, HPE NonStop, HP Open VMS etc. on a single node.
Storage Director has an optimized backend S3 interface to allow customers to stream their data post backup process to IBM’s Cloud Object Storage (Cleversafe) or HCP enterprise backup and archive platforms or any S3 public cloud target. Storage Director can backup and restore data to any S3 cloud target using large block sizes as well as a function called DRestore™ which restores large amounts of data in disaster recovery situations.
Storage Director is a patented, software defined, high performance storage solution that virtualizes and consolidates data backup through a scalable, policy-based and tiered architecture.
Storage Director’s Enhanced Feature Set
When the TSI Development Team created the Storage Director software, certain requirements from Enterprise customers, such as NonStop users, became obvious, and necessary for inclusion. Most on-premise data backup solutions in use today at large enterprise customers are single tier (dedup disk, tape, NAS etc.), one-size-fits-all solutions that are highly inefficient. Storage Director employs policy-based tiering through which it backs up, stores, and groups data into different data pools with rules or policies to protect them. Each data pool has its own policy: for storage on local cache vs. long-term archival in a lower cost medium such as public cloud or object storage, on-premise Cloud Object Storage or even physical tape. Many competing solutions manage all the data with a single strategy. This difference makes Storage Director very efficient as it manages each dataset in the optimal medium and location for best restore performance, security, and cost. In more detail, Storage Director is designed to:
- Fully virtualize and automate backup and restore operations
- lights-out operation allows remote administration
- front end and back end processing are separated
- industry leading performance from InfiniCache™ proprietary cache striping technology on disk or flash eliminates problems meeting customer specified backup windows
- Allow users to define policies that allow flexible data storage and migration strategies
- Storage Director can perform real-time backups while concurrently migrating older data from legacy tape or proprietary dedup storage to Cloud Object Storage
- Storage Director will consolidate all user storage subsystems for simplified backup/restore operations
- Be Expandable and scalable for capacity and performance
- Be simple to use, incorporating an Industry leading GUI used for system configuration, administration and daily operations
- Be deployed in heterogeneous multi-platform environments
- platforms include Windows, Linux, UNIX (AIX, HPUX, Solaris), IBM iSeries (AS/400), HPE NonStop (Tandem), HPE VMS, VMware® and more
- supports all major backup management applications such as Spectrum Protect/TSM, NetBackup®, Veeam, Commvault Simpana®, BRMS (iSeries) and ABS/MDMS (OpenVMS) and others
- Be transparent to users and applications
- Be installed on Non-proprietary, less expensive, hardware, with no host based software components
- Be cost effective when compared to competing backup/restore solutions such as dedup
- Be secure with AES256 encryption and fully support IBM’s Erasure Coding
Storage Director System Architecture
Storage Director Security
Security is one of the major problems that all CIOs are struggling with. Tributary Systems addresses the security challenge comprehensively through its Storage Director, with AES 256 bit data-at-rest and data-in-flight encryption capable of working with both Enterprise key management systems as well as generating its own keys. Tributary conducts extensive vulnerability tests and updates Storage Director’s base Linux kernel when security vulnerabilities are identified, as well as working directly with customers designing security measures tailored to their own datacenter environments. Additionally, Tributary leverages the security features provided by public cloud vendors such as AWS, Azure, and Google. For IBM Cloud Object Storage, Storage Director fully supports Information Dispersal Algorithms (IDA), otherwise referred to as Erasure Coding, probably the most unique security protocol available today. What are IDAs? IDA’s separate data into unrecognizable “slices” that are then distributed via network connection to storage nodes locally or across datacenters. Think of it this way, if you store a classic Ferrari in a single garage, a thief can break in, hotwire the car, and make off with it. If you disassemble the Ferrari and store the components in multiple garages, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to steal and then reconstruct the vehicle. And with IDAs, the Ferrari can be reassembled instantly when accessed by the verified “registered owner”.
The Object Storage Turbochargers
Due to Storage Director’s front-end connectivity and extreme data ingestion and data vaulting performance capabilities, IBM and Tributary Systems have partnered to offer a combined, highly available, software-defined, policy-based, and tiered-backup storage, and archive solution. Storage Director is the turbocharger for cloud-based object storage solutions. When IBM’s Cloud Object Storage is implemented on premise with Storage Director, the backup and restore performance increases significantly with the same or similar hardware. As the line connection increases in bandwidth, performance goes up, eliminating any bottlenecks, as well as being a low-cost archive solution when using IBM COS for active backup and restore. Think of it as an 18-wheeler semi-truck with the performance of a Hellcat! Both IBM and Tributary are positive that this combined solution will revolutionize on-premise data backup and archive for enterprise customers. Refer to the table below for representative on-premise and public cloud performance with Storage Director:
Specific Use Cases
Generally speaking, use cases for Tributary’s Storage Director fall into one of three categories:
Backup/restore with proprietary dedup storage
- PROBLEM: Not cost effective, doesn’t scale efficiently, slow restores due to data re-hydration, expensive proprietary hardware
- SOLUTION: TSI Storage Director with IBM COS- reduces costs by reducing required disk space, eliminates re-hydration issue during restore because data is never deduped, only compressed, Storage Director/ICOS solution uses off-the-shelf non-proprietary hardware
- BENEFITS: In an average 3 site configuration, the Storage Director/ICOS solution uses 35% to 65% less disk space than the typical dedup solution. Performance is enhanced because data is not manipulated on the front end nor is it re-hydrated during a restore
Backup to Tape
• PROBLEM: Handling and storage of large numbers of tape cartridges is inefficient.
• SOLUTION: TSI Storage Director with ICOS- Storage Director is an easy to install, easy to use policy based solution that emulates tape. Backup applications do not need to be modified, Storage Director interfaces with most every popular BMA in use today, from a user point of view it’s a transparent upgrade.
• BENEFITS: Eliminate inefficient tape handling by IT staff, no need to manually transport tape cartridges offsite for secure storage, removes concern for data degradation on very old tape, data restores are much faster because cartridges don’t have to be located and physically mounted
Public Cloud Backup
- PROBLEM: Although Storage Director integrates perfectly well with S3 Public Clouds, Public Cloud providers don’t offer users control of their data, charge for puts and gets, and there are data security concerns
- SOLUTION: TSI Storage Director with ICOS- Allows use of on-premise private cloud with fixed costs
- BENEFITS: On-premise private cloud eliminates security concerns associated with public cloud, variable costs with puts and gets replaced by lower fixed cost for backups, data ingestion and restore performance is significantly improved when compared to a public cloud
Toward a Fast-paced Future
Today, Tributary’s Storage Director is the fastest, lowest-cost enterprise backup storage solution and the company’s development pace is accelerating its roadmap as their teams focus on additional connectivity and performance enhancements to Object Storage as well as expanding the restore capabilities from Object Storage to any Storage Director. The connectivity advantage that Tributary’s Storage Director has today over all other backup targets also allows customers to reduce the total number of backup solutions. With a 30 percent YOY growth, Tributary holds a strong position today and aims to be the leaders in the near future.
It’s a fact, 90 percent of all data in existence in the world was generated in the last 24 months, and 80 percent of all new data being generated is unstructured. Although not the same across all sectors and verticals, these statistics do point to an exponential growth in data, particularly unstructured data. Object storage, whether it is on-premise solutions like IBM Cloud Object Storage or Hitachi Content Platform or public clouds like AWS, Azure, Google and IBM Cloud, will offer the lowest cost, most scalable, and most secure backup storage options. Tributary is well positioned to leverage these trends in the marketplace to offer Object storage, with connectivity to all current NonStop server types. You see, with Storage Director, it makes little difference where backups are stored, tape, on-premise cloud, public clouds, SD’s built in VTL, whatever, Storage Director can be transparently interfaced to the NonStop host without the need to modify NonStop specific backup applications.
If you’d like additional information on Storage Director, visit www.tributary.com, or call Matt Allen at 817-786-3066 (office) or 713-492-7434 (cell).
Storage Director allows NonStop professionals to “augment what they have and use it in creative new ways!”