Reforming dedicated data backup in an era of flash

No longer constrained by the limitations of slower disks and tape media, Huawei's flash-based OceanProtect Backup Storage is ready for an era of "data blooming".

In a fast-paced digital economy, enterprises are generating and storing more data than before to better serve customers or simply to run their operations more smoothly.

In the next five years, the world will create three times as much data as it did in the three years before, according to a prediction by research firm IDC.

This will usher in a new era of data "blooming", which will create three important challenges for many enterprises not ready for the volume, variety and velocity of information coming their way.

·       Rapid growth data: The amount of backup data is increasing rapidly year by year. The backup time window, however, remains unchanged or even decreases. This means a flash-based backup system is required to accelerate the backup.

·       Instant recovery: As digital transformation deepens and expands, IT systems are becoming increasingly important and require faster recovery. Flash-based backup systems can accelerate recovery.

·       Diverse backup objects: In addition to traditional applications, emerging ecosystems also need to be backed up. These include big data and containers, which have a large amount of backup data and complex applications, requiring the acceleration delivered by a flash-based backup system.

The move to a new era

Many of these challenges can no longer be answered by legacy backup and disaster recovery infrastructure, which lacks the performance, scale and reliability to keep up.

Legacy disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) backup technologies may have worked for more than 15 years but today, this is fast changing with the needs that digitally connected enterprises have.

Longer backup windows, long and unpredictable Recovery Time Objective (RTO) can be detrimental to an enterprise's fast-paced business should it have to recover its data after an unexpected incident.

Even maintaining the setup is difficult for engineers, who have to be ready at odd hours to restart or complete a job that takes too long.

This is where flash-to-flash-to-anything (F2F2X) comes in. By taking advantage of the growing capabilities of flash storage and its inherent speed, enterprises can overcome many of the issues that come with the explosive growth of data.

At the Huawei Connect 2021 event his year, Michael Fan, the director of data storage solution sales at Huawei Enterprise, called for a move from D2D2T to F2F2X to greatly improve the performance of backup storage.

For example, to ensure a lower RTO and instant restoration for data re-use, enterprises have to clearly improve the performance of recovery, he noted.

"As the industry develops, we need to consider how data can be safely stored on third platforms, such as public or private cloud of an organisation, as well as on a disk-based systems, tape and Blu-rays," he added. 

Flash-based backup storage

As the development of F2F2X moves forward, Huawei is launching the OceanProtect Backup Storage solution. This is set to redefine dedicated backup storage by using a flash-based system.

In an enterprise network, the OceanProtect Backup Storage system is connected to backup media servers that bring in the backup date from production hosts that run databases, enterprise resource planning software and other applications.

The flash-based backup solution can then be connected to a backup storage on the cloud for remote replication or to a tape library or Blu-ray storage for long-term archiving.  

What makes the Huawei solution the backup solution of choice for the future? There are four reasons:

•                Rapid backup and rapid recovery: As an all-flash system, Huawei's OceanProtect accelerates backup performance by boosting backup bandwidth by 3x and recovery bandwidth by 5x over the peer product, while also ensuring a predictable backup and recovery time window.

•                Integrated algorithms: Backup data preprocessing, inline variable-length deduplication, together with adaptive compression and byte-level compaction provide the highest data reduction in the industry. It benefits the customer for better TCO, including space saving and energy saving.

•                Innovation: Huawei invests in and patents the next-best technologies in all-flash-storage industry, making the systems the most robust on Earth.

•                Openness: Huawei solutions are designed to adapt new ecosystems, like containers, big data, and cloud backup, to grow with customers.

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The new Huawei solution comes in two models. The mid-range OceanProtect X8000 supports two controllers on a single node, with a maximum capacity of 3.4PB, backup bandwidth of up to 55TB per hour and restore bandwidth of up to 57.6TB per hour.

The high-end OceanProtect X9000 supports four controllers on a single node, with a maximum capacity of 9.2PB, backup bandwidth of up to 155TB per hour and restore bandwidth of up to 172.8TB per hour.

Setting it up in the real world

Huawei's backup solution can be applied in various scenarios. Key to this is integration with commonly used backup software such as NetBackup, Commvault, Veeam and others.

OceanProtect Backup Storage is suitable for backing up databases, data warehouses, virtual machines, mail systems and file systems. It supports local backup and remote backup and restore as well.

In a government project meant for 2022, Huawei's backup solution is set to replace an existing solution that would have cost US$1 million more.

Among the customer's requirements is the backup of 1PB of data, including 200TB for databases, 400TB for VMWare and 400TB for fingerprint and video applications.

The main challenge? The need to complete a full backup within 10 hours with the replication bandwidth at 4Gbps and a distance between disaster recovery centres in the hundreds of kilometres.

Huawei's answer is to replace the media with the new OceanProtect Backup Storage but keep Veeam, the existing backup software so the transition is simpler to implement.

The customer has two options. It can use Huawei's solution as a long-term or short-term backup, as part of its strategy to overcome existing performance bottlenecks.

This is just one example of Huawei at the forefront of the latest innovations. Increasingly, too, customers are ready to embrace solutions such as the OceanProtect Backup Storage for a F2F2X future.

Looking ahead, Huawei expects to facilitate new opportunities with innovative products and solutions, enabling enterprises to back up, restore, and re-use their data more easily and efficiently in a digital economy.

Find out more about Huawei's OceanProtect Backup Storage solution here.