What type of storage array do you use?

  • 28 January 2021
  • 12 replies
  • 205 views

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We currently use IBM V5000 arrays for our Commvault backup target to land our deduped backups.  We are starting to review other options to see what other fast, cost effective options are out there.  I do prefer to use Fiber Channel connections, but open to options.   Since Commvault is really the brain in our scenario, the storage array does not really need any features, just good speed.

 

What Vendor Storage arrays do you use?  Are you happy with it?  


12 replies

Userlevel 5
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Not an endorsement for any particular vendor, but my personal observation is that NetApp are usually great performers. Isilon can be too, but often they push the archive class nodes which are cost-effective and backup fast OR copy fast, but trying to do both at the same time overwhelms the cache and performance suffers.

I have heard good things about infinidat as well - fast storage and great UI.

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we use Hitachi HNAS storage for backup target so far no issues with performance , throughput

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Have used EMC Clarion’s and VNX’s in the past however have moved to Dell EMC Unity All Flash HP Nimble Hybrid storage systems during the last couple of years.

 

Performance wise the difference is night and day. Very happy with the new storage ecosystem.

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The V5000 arrays are nice, cheap, and deep - but not even the newer generation V7000’s can compete with how Nutanix Objects scales in performance and parallel workloads, and so makes for an outstanding Commvault certified solution. It is super easy to setup and use. You can run a media agent/vsa vm on each node and / or use physical media agent servers;

https://www.nutanix.com/viewer?type=pdf&path=/content/dam/nutanix/resources/solution-briefs/sb-buckets.pdf

https://www.nutanix.com/viewer?type=pdf&lpurl=optimizing-commvault-with-nutanix-and-vsphere.html

Regards,

Joel

Userlevel 3
Badge +6

The V5000 arrays are nice, cheap, and deep - but not even the newer generation V7000’s can compete with how Nutanix Objects scales in performance and parallel workloads, and so makes for an outstanding Commvault certified solution. It is super easy to setup and use. You can run a media agent/vsa vm on each node and / or use physical media agent servers;

https://www.nutanix.com/viewer?type=pdf&path=/content/dam/nutanix/resources/solution-briefs/sb-buckets.pdf

https://www.nutanix.com/viewer?type=pdf&lpurl=optimizing-commvault-with-nutanix-and-vsphere.html

Regards,

Joel

I read your post @Joel Lovell  and immediately smelled that you have to be working for Nutanix. Sorry, to say, but I really do not like to see this kind of advertisements here. Please use Linkedin, and if you really want to make a statement, than please come prepared and give us some proof showing why a v7000 cannot compete against Nutanix Objects. Do not forget to include a budgetary quote for the setup ;-) 

Thanks!

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We started using NetApp E 5600 Series and absolutely love them. These things rock and are pretty simple to install/manage.

Userlevel 2
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For simple storage usage without any “smarts”, I’ve noticed many customers are choosing Isilon, especially for large scale deployments of PB’s in size. 

Other than that, NetApp’s have traditionally offered great balance between performance and capacity. 

 

Lastly, would caution against cheap/low end NAS devices like QNAP or Synology as most of their products have terrible performance when trying to do both reads and writes concurrently as well as having less support / product reliability. 

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We generally use NetApp e-series generally for short/mid term dedupe storage and StorageGRID for long term. 

The alternative is the HPE MSA class array direct attached to the MediaAgent. Something that’s scalable is the key.

Userlevel 3
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Interesting discussion - and I am not going to put any vendor or array name into this post because I believe that for backup storage on disk you usually don’t need any features that go beyond “standard stuff” that all vendors of a given class of storage should be able to provide - and performance in the end boils down to actually used physical devices and the Raid / Pooling etc. technology on top.

So when it comes to choosing a disk based storage solution for Commvault Backup there are a few questions one should ask themselves:

  • Do I need automated failover for Media Agents on backup as well as restore (Commvault GridStor)
    • This requires all involved Media Agents to be able to read and write to the same storage library at the same time. This can mainly be achieved using NAS or in some cases clustered/scale out filesystems (e.g. Hyperscale)
  • Do I want to use partitioned deduplication in Commvault
    • For this at least all Media Agents need to be able to read all the data - write could be to dedicated mount paths per MA. Data Server IP with Read Only sharing could be a solution here if DAS/SAN is used for storage. Keep in mind that if the sharing MA is offline then you won’t be able to guarantee restores/copies - backups will continue to run.
  • Do I need to do regular “full” copies (e.g. tape-out) or complete data recoveries
    • This will require to read all “logical” data blocks - meaning it will be quite random (dedupe references could be all over the library) and it will read the same data many times (references could be referenced multiple times)

What I have encountered in the past is that especially the last bullet point has not always been thought of, when sizing backend storage for Commvault. The classic way of thinking has been “it’s backup, so let’s just put few really really large drives into RAID 6 and we should be fine” which is definitely true for a non-deduplicated storage pool. Once deduplication comes into play, the randomness of data is growing on reads - writes will still be sequential as they will only write new data plus some references and metadata - so it’s always “additive”. 

Commvault provides a tool that lets you test disk performance of a disk library to find out if it is sufficient for your needs: https://documentation.commvault.com/commvault/v11/article?p=8855.htm

My personal preference for non-Hyperscale backup storage is high performance NAS as this will give you the sharing of the library across many Media Agents read and write so you can do failovers, AuxCopies using just the target Media Agent, restore through any MA etc. etc. 

It could also make sense to take a peek at Commvault Hyperscale technology which will run on many different server hardware platforms - as this is really easy to buy, setup and run and it gives you all the same benefits plus simple scale out.

Userlevel 3
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Interesting discussion to follow for sure! Still read quite a few people who are talking about block storage arrays which is really interesting to me, because the choice for block storage also introduces a challenge if you want your MAs to be HA leveraging partitioned DDBs, just like @Christian Kubik mentions. 

My personal order would be to pick something that can deliver:
1) Cloud storage
2) File
3) Block

If I had to design something new and the customer is not leveraging on-premise cloud storage than I would definitely try to convince the customer to purchase cloud based storage like Cloudian/MinIO/StorageGRID. It offers many advantages like to be less sensitive for ransomware attacks, WORM, the ability to have copies in multiple locations without need to auxcopy and an additional selling point would be that it can be used to drive software/business development.

As for file storage you can look at the big names NetApp/Dell EMC or just have a look at he portofolio of Tintri. We have good experience with their IntelliFlash arrays. Very interesting from a price point of view and they offer multi-protocol capabilities. 

 

Userlevel 3
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@Onno van den Berg Good points, although I have found that is ideal for the primary target to be file for the sparse attribute support and secondary cloud (for all the reasons described).

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Very good question.

I’ll probably surprise some, we now use Purestorage Flashblade array with a 4+1 gridstor, configured in S3 mode, using many 10G ethernet attachment for MAs, and multiple 40G for the array.

This array has been the replacement for an old Netapp FAS2554 10G NAS that became more and more overloaded as time (and stored data) went by. When we had a need to perform huge parrallel restores the FAS2554 was killed. This is not the case anymore with the Flashblade.

Of course, the price is far different, but our ambitions (and budget :grin: ) have been reviewed after this performance issue. 

This primary was and is still the source for auxcopies to a SAN spindle disks array (less performance/more capacity) to have a secondary copy, and also the same source to a Cloud copy. 

Top performance now, while having the previous FAS2554 as primary, auxcopies were delaying and piling up because of the multiple writes (primary) and reads (copy to SAN, copy to Cloud). 

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