Category Archives: Storage

CloudBerry Lab Updates Cloud Backup Windows Tools

Image representing CloudBerry Lab as depicted ...

CloudBerry Lab has released CloudBerry Backup version 2.9, an application that allows users to backup their data online to their cloud storage accounts such as Amazon S3, Windows Azure and Google Storage.

Disaster recovery planning is often times an afterthought that comes to light when disaster strikes. Very seldom do companies fully recover from loss of critical data which could lead to loss of business. CloudBerry Backup provides a powerful online Backup and Restore software designed to leverage Amazon S3 reliable and secure online storage to make your disaster recovery plan simple, reliable, and affordable.

The latest version of CloudBerry Backup comes with an option to estimate cloud storage costs. The users can set up cost estimates per storage account and specify a limit in GB or in dollar equivalent. When the limit is reached the backup will stop. The software will automatically calculate the costs based on the current storage price offered by the storage provider. Currently Amazon S3 charge 0.125/GB per month. The software will also send an alert to the users when the storage is about to reach the limit.

Another important feature is an option to write Events on backup completion (success and failure) to the Windows Event log. This feature makes it easier to deploy CloudBerry Backup along with the popular monitoring and management systems such as Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), HP OpenView, BMC Patrol, Quest Foglight and a few others that come with a capability to process Windows Event Log and apply certain rules.

With the latest release you can configure Pre- and Post actions that will run before and after the actual backup is running. This feature will make it easier to back up applications such as SQL Server and Exchange. You can set up a Pre-action to back up SQL Server and then you can set up a POST action to clean up the SQL Server backup directory from the older backup files.

Finally, CloudBerry Backup prevents computer from going to sleep mode, so that back up will continue running. With this feature users are assured that the backup will complete on time without interruption.

CloudBerry Backup is also available as a Windows Home Server 2011 and Small Business Server 2011 Essentials add-on. It integrates with the WHS console and offers scheduled backup to cloud storage, hosted on Amazon S3.

CloudBerry Backup is designed to work on Windows XP/Vista/7 and Windows Server 2003/2008. Command line interface allows partners and advanced computer users integrate backup and restore plans with other routines.

CloudBerry S3 Backup for Windows costs $29.99(US) for a single-user license. Volume discounts are available. CloudBerry Backup will be offered without charge to students, educational institutions and non-profit organizations. You will continue to pay Amazon directly for their S3 charges.

For more information & to download the evaluation copy, visit http://www.cloudberrylab.com/backup 
CloudBerry Backup for Windows Home Server is available at http://www.cloudberrylab.com/default.aspx?page=backup-whs


Bitcasa Gets $7 Million for “Infinite” Cloud Storage

Bitcasa, the cloud storage company that integrates infinite storage, sync, backup and share into desktops and across devices, announced today that it has raised $7 million in its Series A funding round, bringing the total funding to $9 million. Pelion Venture Partners, an existing investor, and Horizons Ventures, a new investor, led the round, with Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, CrunchFund, and Samsung Ventures participating. Funds will be used to further accelerate the company’s impressive growth, shorten the time-to-market for upcoming storage and data management offerings, and expand sales and marketing. The company’s service offering is also now officially in open beta, and users can sign up at http://www.bitcasa.com.

In the past few months, Bitcasa users in 120 countries saved more than 4 petabytes of data and uploaded more than 1 billion files to Bitcasa. The service uses client-side encryption, compression, and deduplication technologies to seamlessly integrate infinite storage into all of the devices. Users can now store, sync, backup and send infinite amounts of data without having to worry about management and capacity constraints. During the beta program, they can take advantage of the service for free; after beta, they can continue the access to infinite storage for only $10 a month.

“As the seed investor, we have been impressed with Bitcasa’s efforts to solve the storage challenges that consumers and small and medium businesses face,” said Carl Ledbetter, managing director at Pelion Venture Partners and a Bitcasa board member. “Bitcasa’s infinite storage solution solves space, management, and security challenges for today’s users and has been well-received by the tens of thousands who have tried the service during its beta period. Bitcasa’s solution goes far beyond services that provide only backup, synchronization, or large file sharing or movement; Bitcasa is the first and only service that provides unlimited storage of all of a user’s files in the cloud, making the cloud-based virtual desktop a reality. This is the way we will all connect to our online, tablet, mobile, and PC-based environments in the near future, and Bitcasa is the defining step.”

“I am glad to see the continued commitment of our initial investors, as well as the involvement of our new investors,” said Tony Gauda, co-founder and CEO of Bitcasa. “This funding round shows that our investors recognize the potential that we have in this market and have been pleased with our progress. It is exciting to see the users’ increased adoption of our infinite storage solution that helps them store and share more data than they could have ever imagined. We are working on more amazing features and are currently looking to bring on great talent to join our team.”


Top Takeaways From EMC World 2012

A little over a week has gone by since the end of EMC World, and all the product announcements have gotten out of the bag. So, why another article about EMC World, if there are no “big reveals” left? Because I want to make sense of all of the hype, product announcements, and strategic discussions. What do the over 40 new products mean to GreenPages’ customers—both present and future? How many of those products were just cosmetic makeovers and how many are actual game changers? Why should you, our friends and extended business family, care, and what should you care about?

I will start by saying that this EMC World really did reveal some technology-leading thoughts and products, and proved that EMC has taken the lead in major storage technology strategy. EMC has always been the 800-pound gorilla of the storage industry, but for many years was far from the front of the pack. This has changed, and in a big way. Innovation still takes place mostly in the small companies on the bleeding edge of storage (SSD, virtualization across platforms, innovative file systems), but EMC has become the leading investor in storage R&D, and it shows. While they may not be inventing the coolest and most striking new storage and hardware, their pace of development and integration of that cool stuff has exponentially increased. Time to market and product refresh cycles are picking up pace. Relationships with the people who get the products in front of you (resellers, integrators and distributors) are vastly improved and much friendlier to the commercial world we all live in (as opposed to the rarified heights of the largest enterprises). The relevance of EMC products to the virtualized datacenter is clear, and the storage engineers who ran the technical sessions and laid out all the new storage, DR, and virtualization roadmaps proved that EMC is the leading storage technology firm in the world.

What are the highlights for GreenPages’ world?

Product Announcements:

Probably the biggest technology in terms of impact, IMHO, is Isilon. This is the fastest, most scalable, easy-to-manage NAS systems ever. It can grow to the petabyte range, and there is no downtime or forklift upgrades. It is “scale-out” storage, meaning you add nodes that contain processing (CPU), RAM for Cache and additional bandwidth, along with capacity in three flavors (SSD, 15K and 7.2K).  This is the system of choice for any healthcare PACs application or Life Sciences data storage. It is a fantastic general-purpose NAS system as well. Isilon is the system of choice for anyone managing Big Data (large amounts of unstructured data). The entry point for this system is around 10 TB, so you don’t have to be a large company to find the value here. Isilon also has the advantage of being a true scale-out system. Some technical nuggets around Isilon OneFS Upgrade: 90% greater throughput, or 740 GB/sec; roles-based admin – SEC 17a-4 compliance; better caching (50% reduction in latency of IO intensive apps; VMware Integration: VAAI (vStorage APIs for Array Integration) and VASA (vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness).

If you are going to jump up into the big time storage array arena, the new VMAX line is arguably the one to get, for power, performance and integration with the virtualized datacenter. It has expanded to the VMAX 10, 20 (current), and 40. The top of the line sports 8 controllers, scales up to 4 PB, has up to 32 2.8 GHz Xeon 6-core processors, 1 TB usable RAM, 2.5” drives,  and uses MLC SSD drives (bringing that cost of the flash drive down into the lower atmosphere). The latest development of the auto-tiering software FAST allows IBM and HDS storage to be a “tier” of storage for the VMAX. Other arrays will be added soon.

VNXe 3150 storage system offers up to 50% more performance and capacity in an entry level system. This system includes 10 GbE connectivity, Solid State Storage and the first production storage system (that I have heard of) that uses the latest Intel CPU, Sandy Bridge. Who says EMC product lifecycles are slow and behind the times??

VPLEX Metro/VPLEX Geo solutions have some significant upgrades, including integration with RecoverPoint and SRM, more performance and scalability; and Oracle RAC up to 100 KM apart. If you want to federate your datacenters, introduce “stretch clusters” and have both an HA and DR strategy, this is the industry leader now.

The VNX Series  has  more than a few improvements: lower price SSDs, RAID types that can be mixed in FAST; 256 snaps per LUN; connector for vCOPs; EMC Storage Analytics Suite based on vCOPs; AppSync to replace/improve Replication Manager.

The new VSPEX Proven Infrastructure includes EMC’s VNX and VNXe hybrid storage arrays, along with Avamar software and Data Domain backup appliances. The cloud platform also includes processors from Intel, switches from Brocade, servers from Cisco, and software from Citrix, Microsoft HyperV and VMware.  Avamar and Data Domain products will offer data deduplication to users, while EMC’s Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST), will offer data migration between varying disk storage arrays based on data use patterns. There are initially 14 VSPEX configurations, which EMC said represent the most popular use cases for companies moving to cloud computing.

Data Domain & Avamar upgrades include the DD990 with an Intel Sandy Bridge CPU, doubling the performance of the DD890 – 28 PB, 16 TB/hr throughput; tight integration of Avamar with VMware, including Hyper-V, SAP, Sybase, SQL2012 – recovery is 30 times faster than NBU/V-Ray.

Vfcache PCIe NAND Flash Card is a server side I/O enhancement that pushes Flash Cache to the server, but integrates Cache management with the VNX array FAST Cache. This will prove to be a huge deal for mission critical applications running on VMware, since I/O will no longer be a bottleneck even for the most demanding applications. Combine this with Sandy Bridge CPUs and the UCS system with the latest M3 servers and you will have the world’s most powerful server virtualization platform!

DataBridge is a “mash-up” of nearly any storage or system management tool into a common pane of glass, not intended to be a discovery or management tool but, rather, to be a place where all of the discovery tools can deliver their data to one place. This combines EMC infrastructure data sources along with non-EMC data sources with business logic from customer organizations. Stay tuned for more on this.

There are lots of other deep technical messages that were talked about in the sessions that ran for three solid days, not counting the unbelievable Lab sessions. Those Lab sessions are now available for demo purposes. You can see any EMC technology from implementation to configuration just by contacting GreenPages and asking for your Friendly Neighborhood Storage Guy!!

One final thought I would like to stress: efficiency. EMC is sending a smart business message of efficiency, using VNX as example. Storage is far outstripping storage advances and IT budgets. All is not hopeless, however. You can improve efficiency with dedupe/compression, auto tiering; Flash allows storage to keep up with Moore’s Law; you can consolidate file servers with virtual file servers (we have done this with many GreenPages customers when consolidating servers in VMware). Files are the main culprit. How will you manage it, quotas or content management? What will you chose? How will you manage your data without the money or work force you think you might need?

Contact GreenPages if you need help answering these questions! Meanwhile, watch for more storage technology breakthroughs to come from EMC in the coming months.

StorSimple Cloud-integrated Enterprise Storage Connects Enterprises to HP Cloud Services

StorSimple today announced that its family of Cloud-integrated enterprise storage appliances supports HP Cloud Services (http://hpcloud.com). Enterprises can now consolidate primary, backup, archive and disaster recovery storage into a single StorSimple cloud-integrated storage system connected to HP Cloud Services, driving a reduction in storage TCO of 60 to 80 percent in many cases. StorSimple customers can mix and match HP Cloud Services with any other cloud storage services they are currently using, eliminating the vendor lock-in on the data center floor that is common with traditional SANs.

“HP’s open-source approach to cloud services encourages customers to deploy applications in HP Cloud Services with the confidence that they will not be locked into one particular service provider.” said Steve Querner, vice president of sales for StorSimple. “Cloud-integrated enterprise storage from StorSimple provides the same open approach to cloud storage by certifying multiple leading cloud storage services. When adopting an open approach to cloud storage, customers should insist on features that facilitate cross-cloud functionality without compromising on an enterprise high availability feature set.”

HP Cloud Services public beta offering is certified by StorSimple and supports the full range of StorSimple cloud data management features, including Cloud Snapshots™, thin restores, non-disruptive upgrades and dual path redundancy. StorSimple customers can now use HP Cloud Object Storage as a tier of storage, transparently extending their Windows and Linux datasets, which could be running on VMware and Hyper-V, into the cloud.

A key benefit of HP Cloud Services is the open-source approach. Aligned with HP’s approach to a customer-choice model, StorSimple cloud-integrated enterprise storage systems allow HP Cloud Services customers to simultaneously store complete sets of data across multiple cloud providers. This open architecture prevents the limitations of vendor lock-in in data centers for enterprise customers.


Industry Dynamics of Online Storage and the Decade Ahead

Guest Post by Eric Greenwood

Eric Greenwood is a technophile whose interests have led him to study all things related to the cloud computing movement from online storage to software as a service. Get more tips and advice on his Cloud Computing blog.

Online, or cloud storage, is a massively growing industry, already poised to change the way we use our computers. By 2016, consumers are predicted to be spending as much $16 billion on cloud storage annually.

Big names are flying into the cloud. Oracle and Hewlett Packard are rushing to sell cloud computing tools; Amazon’s cloud services division has earned an estimated $750 million from cloud services in 2011 – and predictions are for earnings of $2.5 billion by 2014 from all cloud services including their Simple Storage Service. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos suggests potential for Amazon Web Services could surge to match that of its retail earnings, which last year topped $25 billion. Rackspace’s cloud servicing is also surging.

While currently only approximately 10% of global spending IT goes to cloud computing, the shift to cloud storage is a growing trend and market.

Popular cloud storage service Dropbox already has over fifty million users, and $250 million in venture capital; and Google Drive’s new online storage is poised to rival them. Like Dropbox’s chief competitor, Sugar Sync, Drive offers 5 GB of free storage, over doubling the free storage amount provided by Dropbox.

Storage competitors are also likely to follow Dropbox’s option of gallery pages that allow users who follow a link to see photos, presentations and videos without downloading each individual file. Dropbox is valued at approximately $4 billion, currently. The company’s CEO recently turned down a reported nine-figure offer from Apple. Apple of course maintains its own online storage system, iCloud, free to all users of iOs5. iCloud’s seamless interface with Apple products keeps this cloud storage service somewhat above the competitive fray.

Dropbox was recently voted “startup of the year,” and is reportedly the fifth most valuable web start-up, globally. But along with iCloud, SugarSync, and Google’s new drive, competition is fierce from other online storage startups ranging from Box.net, now known simply as Box, to Microsoft’s massive SkyDrive, Carbonite, which offers solid data backup services, and SpiderOak, which offers data encryption. Each of these cloud storage companies have greatly benefitted from the decline in pricing for online storage. Clearwell Systems research estimates that the storage cost for 1 gigabyte of information that cost $20 in 2000 is now approximately ten cents. HTML 5 has also greatly accelerated the growth of cloud storage companies. The cost and technology trends that have made cloud computing expand will only accelerate over the next ten years.

Dropbox’s popular rival SugarSync is an outgrowth of Sharpcast, the 2006 creator behind Sharpcast Photos, utilized for synching photo images to multiple devices. SugarSync’s differentiation with its competitors is based on its use of an automated refreshing process which means users don’t need to update their own synced files.

Microsoft’s recent overhaul of its SkyDrive online storage has doubled the storage file limit size, and made sharing as well as file management simpler for users. Just last month, Microsoft released a desktop app for SkyDrive, and allows direct file sharing to Twitter.

On the downside, there may only be a finite amount of users willing to store their data in the cloud, and a lot of competitors vying for a slice of the same pie. What’s good for consumers in terms of free storage or service perks may be difficult to sustain an entire industry of cloud storage competitors. Consolidation of some companies may be necessary.

A recent cautionary note was also founded when the file storage and hosting business Megapuload in Hong Kong was shut down by the U.S. Justice department for assisting in the violation of U.S. copyrights due to the ability of users to upload copyrighted material and distribute a link to it.

Megaupload’s violations bring up a key point in cloud storage, leading to the question as to whether or not Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, and all their competitors must scan files for copyright violations. Should this occur, the market will likely improve for Google with its Content ID already in place. Privacy and trust issues are also key in cloud storage growth. The only online storage company that claims to be unable to view users’ stored data is SpiderOak.

Online storage may be still in a speculative stage, but with data volumes predicted to multiply over forty times by the year 2020, data storage in one form or another is not only here to stay, it’s here to grow. Publicly traded companies such as EMC Corporation, NetApp, Isilon, Amazon, and CSC are providing expanded cloud storage options, and growing in financial leaps and bounds. IBM is working on a cloud system that can create virtual machines, able to integrate data without the costs of standard IT development, and simplifying cloud resources.

Complete data management through the cloud is clearly coming in the near future. Personal computer users and businesses multi-national to mom and pop size, must address data storage. Cloud storage is the go-to storage of the future, protected from human error, disasters, theft, and hardware malfunctions.


Morphlabs Announces First OpenStack Converged Infrastructure for Enterprise Private Clouds

OpenStack

Morphlabs today announced the general availability of the all-SSD mCloud Rack Enterprise Edition, an SSD-powered converged infrastructure solution for the enterprise powered by OpenStack. The mCloud Rack E leverages the Dell PowerEdge-C Platform, Arista Networks’ switches and Nexenta’s enterprise-class OpenStorage to deliver the industry’s most price performant private cloud.

“The all-SSD mCloud Rack Enterprise Edition powered by OpenStack offers Morphlabs’ customers the full benefits of the most dynamic and fastest-growing open source project ever,” said Morphlabs CEO Winston Damarillo. “Morphlabs optimizes the best-of-breed cloud building blocks from Nexenta, Dell and Arista to deliver a high-performance, flexible infrastructure that leverages the robust OpenStack community for rapid innovations and increased code stability.”

The mCloud Rack E next generation modular architecture utilizes OpenStack adaptiveness to harness industry-leading cloud computing components. The mCloud Rack E optimizes enterprise cloud deployments by providing exponentially more IOPs per compute while retaining industry-defining power and cost efficiency.

“The strength of our community and contributions of companies like Morphlabs are helping accelerate the adoption of OpenStack by making it easier for enterprises to deploy and manage,” said Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack Project Policy Board and co-founder Rackspace Cloud. “Morphlabs’ mCloud Rack Enterprise Edition is a testament to the readiness of OpenStack for mission critical infrastructure deployments.”

Morphlabs’ mCloud solutions are built and tested on Dell PowerEdge-C servers, which use the latest hyperscale technology to decrease energy use, space and weight. Dell Data Center Services (DCS) provides global support for mCloud Racks, enabling four-hour response times anywhere in the world and affording a world-class supply chain to deliver the latest, most efficient and cost-effective data center technology to customers.

“As early supporters of OpenStack, Dell remains committed to providing open, standards-based solutions that enable customers to integrate new technologies without sacrificing performance or existing IT investments. By employing the power of Dell PowerEdge-C servers, including Dell’s popular Crowbar software framework, in Morphlabs’ mCloud Rack E, we created a purpose-built infrastructure that enables users to be up-and-running on an OpenStack cloud in mere hours,” said John Igoe, executive director of Cloud Solutions at Dell Inc.

The mCloud Rack E is the only converged infrastructure solution that enables scalable and modular enterprise-grade block storage. Leveraging the mCloud Rack E’s revolutionary share-nothing architecture and Nexenta Systems’ highly resilient ZFS-based NexentaStor, SSD-accelerated storage that eliminates the risk of data loss at the foundation of the cloud is finally affordable.

“If you want to accelerate the transformation of your virtualized infrastructure into an internal cloud, these solutions provide all the basic building blocks, already pre-integrated for you. They include the automation solutions for deployment, management, and monitoring; the unified virtual infrastructure; and even the self-service portal for deployment requests,” wrote Forrester Research, Inc. Vice President and Principal Analyst Richard Fichera1.

“Using OpenStack with proprietary storage makes no sense; why use an open approach to the cloud and then hand your data off to a proprietary vendor?” said Nexenta CEO Evan Powell. “Morphlabs has done a great service for their customers and the OpenStack community by launching an end-to-end engineered solution that leverages the best of open infrastructure. We’re proud that Morphlabs selected our ZFS-based and SSD-accelerated NexentaStor as the foundation of their mCloud Rack E and look forward to working closely with them.”

A trial of the mCloud platform is available for a limited time at http://www.morphlabs.com/evaluatessd/.


Caringo Offers VMs of Market Proven Cloud Storage Architecture for Rapid Evaluation

Caringo Inc., a provider of object storage software, today announced virtual machine editions of their CAStor object storage engine, and Content File Server (CFS), instant access to CAStor via standard file protocols (CIFS, NFS, FTP, and WebDAV). The VMs can run on any Windows server via VMware ESX and VMware Player, on Mac via VMware Fusion, and the CFS VM can also run on Oracle VirtualBox (Windows or Mac). The Virtual Editions were designed to enable the quick and easy evaluation of Caringo object storage software, which is ideal for cloud storage architectures. The VMs are available immediately for download with a free 2 TB license, bringing the benefits of object storage and cloud storage architecture to ANY organization within minutes.

“Cloud storage services built upon object storage provide scalability, ease of management, responsiveness and affordability,” said Mark Goros, CEO at Caringo. “With our Virtual Editions we are bringing the same technology to any company or individual to install and try in less than 30 minutes. Now anyone can easily experience the power of object storage and cloud storage architecture quickly and securely.”

Caringo’s object storage software Virtual Editions delivers cloud storage architecture and instant access by providing:

Data access and portability using HTTP 1.1, and customizable metadata that is stored with each object, enabling data mobility based on business value with content moving freely and securely system wide – even across different locations.

Automatic data protection driven by an integrated health monitor that continuously checks and fixes any issues encountered. All servers participate in recovery so as the system grows, recovery times decrease; even petabyte-size stores can be automatically protected without backups or RAID.

Zero provisioning scale-out and zero downtime servicing with automated, system wide optimization and balancing. Combined with rolling software and hardware upgrades results in no-downtime servicing, no single points of failure and no bottlenecks.

Secure multi-tenancy and multi-site storage in a single system with 128-bit unique universal identifier obfuscating all stored data; all account information is stored with an object allowing support for an unlimited number of tenants, employees, or subscribers on the same infrastructure.

Cloud economics using any x86 server hardware, any combination of servers, or even any size drives at up to 98 percent utilization.

Instant access for legacy applications or devices via CIFS, NFS, FTP, and WebDAV.

Both VM Editions are available now at http://www.caringo.com/virtual-editions