September 2014 Archives

Look out Symantec! Virtual server backup specialist Veeam is behind you

Antony Adshead | No Comments
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One of the big surprises of the recent TechTarget European Purchasing Intentions survey was the appearance of Veeam as number two customer choice of backup software product.

In the survey Symantec was recorded as the most popular backup product among the 511 storage professionals questioned, with 20% saying they had deployed it. Veeam came next with 19%, followed by HP (15%), EMC's NetWorker and Avamar products (13%), IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) (12%), then CommVault, CA, and Microsoft, all with 6% of respondents.

Veeam gained a healthy increase in share compared to the 2013 survey. Last year it was behind Symantec (30%), HP (16%) and IBM TSM (15%) and registered 12.5% of customer deployments.

Three years ago, in 2011, Veeam didn't show up at all. That year Symantec was top dog (37.5%), with HP (17.5%) and EMC (14%) second and third.

Veeam's position is surprising on a number of levels. Not because Veeam isn't a good product. There's no doubt it is. But it is surprising in some ways that a product that specialises in the backup of virtual machines only should reach such levels of popularity.

That's because enterprise backup products, from the likes of Symantec, EMC, IBM (Tivoli Storage Manager), HP, CommVault et al, have universally achieved the ability to backup virtual servers as well as physical ones, often with tight integration to the hypervisor and use of advanced features within.

It's also a surprise because, while most organisations (87%) have virtualised servers it's also commonplace for IT environments to be mixed between virtual and physical devices. And it makes sense - doesn't it? - to use a backup product that can operate across the two environments.

Or maybe it doesn't matter to many organisations that are happy to run different backup software for physical and virtual servers. Or maybe those that ticked Veeam are SME organisations where it's more likely that the server environment is 100% virtualised?

I've no cast iron solutions to this particular conundrum, and am happy to congratulate Veeam on its success. 

All-flash arrays: Will time run out for mainstream acceptance?

Antony Adshead | No Comments
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The all-flash array has been the flavour of recent times in storageland. But, has the hype exceeded the reality?

It may well have done. Or maybe it's just its timing is off.

If we look at our recent Purchasing Intentions survey there's no doubt that flash storage is popular. More than half of respondents indicated they had flash in use (36%) or planned to implement (7%) or evaluate it (25%) this year.

That's a fair amount of traction for flash, but not so much of that kudos can stick to all-flash arrays, according to another survey we ran this summer on ComputerWeekly.com, this time from 451 Research.

Its survey gained more granularity on the flash question and found for most respondents (67%) flash in use now is installed in existing SAN/NAS storage arrays while 25% have put it in servers. A mere 8% reported having deployed an all-flash array.

What that shows is that for the most part IT departments see the addition of flash to existing storage or to servers as the best way to accelerate I/O performance for key applications. That should be no surprise - all-flash arrays don't come cheap and with constrained budgets it's clearly best to target fast access media where you need it.

But it is in contrast to storage industry hype, and perhaps more importantly, the billions spent to develop or buy all-flash arrays, such as EMC's purchase of XtremIO, IBM's Texas Memory Systems acquisition and its pledge to invest $1 billion in flash.

The survey results also show that for many applications right now, disk is quite adequate. Compare the percentage of those in the ComputerWeekly.com survey that have virtualised servers (87%) with the numbers that have flash in place (36%) and it looks like there isn't a rigid driving shaft between the deployment of virtualisation and the need for flash.  

And so, the all-flash array could turn out to be something that takes its time to become a must-have. There's little doubt that disk will one day be superceded by solid state media, but in the meantime alternatives to flash are being developed. The hope must be in Big Storage Towers that flash is still the solid state media of choice when disk has finally had its day.

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