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Disaster Recovery Throw Down: HPE SimpliVity Native Backup



Hani A.jpgBy guest blogger, Hani El-Qasem, Solution Architect

In my last article, I detail the differences between snapshot and backup methods for disaster recovery. With all of that in mind, I think it’s important to dive into the HPE SimpliVity data protection mechanism and explain how it is more effective than most traditional backup strategies available.

HPE SimpliVity Native Backups

The first question you might ask is, “Is an HPE SimpliVity backup a backup or a snapshot?” Many people assume it is a snapshot since it is unusual for a vendor to provide a fully integrated native backup like HPE SimpliVity 380 powered by Intel® does. But in truth, it is a hybrid method combining the best attributes of backups and snapshots.

HPE SimpliVity native backups leverage inline deduplication, compression, and the optimization of a synchronous off-device I/O write path. This ensures users experience all of the advanced functionality of backups with the spbigstock--124554827.jpgeed of snapshots. But, HPE SimpliVity goes even further than snapshots and backups, exceling in three specific aspects.

1. Capacity

Traditional backup providers often consider capacity a secondary priority, but still need to ensure backups complete within an allotted timeframe (i.e. backup window). To do this, most traditional backup solutions limit the scope of their data efficiency operations. A backup target device needs to ingest a huge amount of data during the daily backup processes, so an operation’s tradeoff is understandable during such an arduous task. Often, it is global deduplication that suffers and needs to be completed per job. For example, the block sizes used for deduplication may be 256KB and upwards for most solutions, while HPE SimpliVity applies the  granular 4-8KB methodology globally. The net effect is that the overall capacity requirements are significantly increased to store traditional backups.

2. Load

Most traditional backup providers recommend running daily backups at an off-peak time, typically over night. Usually, there is a huge amount of disk activity incurred to run either a full or incremental backup. This affects workload performance if a backup is run during peak times. It is also difficult to reduce recovery point objectives (RPOs) as the most recent copy of data available will be from the previous evening. HPE SimpliVity’s native backups, however, provide backups by leveraging the synchronous write path. The technology does not have to touch the underlying HDDs at all, meaning there is little load on the system during a backup process. Therefore, the RPOs are reduced and backups can be run whenever is convienent rather than the traditional “last night” approach.

3. Speed

HPE SimpliVity can perform native backups extremely fast, thanks to the synchronous write operation used right from the start of every data block’s lifecycle. How fast? HPE SimpliVity hyperconverged solutions can backup or restore a 1TB VM in under 60 seconds. To run a full back up on a 1TB VM with a traditional solution (assuming that the network is good and the backup target is powerful) this same process can take six to seven hours. Similar differences exist with restores. Some traditional backup tools can bring back a VM in a matter of minutes, but can only restore one or two VMs in parallel, requiring a lengthy clean-up process, and often coming with degraded performance. Generally, with multiple or large VMs , the restore process will take 10-12 hours. HPE SimpliVity has proven with many customers that it can restore a 1TB VM in 60 seconds and restore hundreds of VMs in parallel, with no lengthy clean-up processes.

So, while backups and snapshots aren’t very different based on their definitions, it is clear that HPE SimpliVity native backups combine the strengths of both. This hybrid approad differentiates HPE SimpliVity from the traditional approaches of other vendors. In fact, 51% of customers retire their previous backup solutions completely after launching HPE SimpliVity.

Check out my previous article: Disaster Recovery Throw Down: Snapshots vs. Traditional Backups.

For more details on how hyperconverged can help simplify your datacenter, download the e-book: How Hyperconvergence Can Help IT


Hani El-Qasem is a UK based Solution Architect. A 20-year veteran of the IT industry, he has worked with a broad range of client organisations and an equally broad range of technologies. Prior to HPE SimpliVity he held positions at Veeam Software and more recently VMware.  With his experience of applications, platforms and infrastructure through the eras of mainframe, client-server, virtualisation and cloud, he now helps organisations to leverage hyperconvergence to simplify, protect and optimise their IT environments.

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