True Data Protection with HPE SimpliVity: Too Good to be True?

It may seem too good to be true, but HPE SimpliVity provides enormous gains in efficiency without any catches. It can guarantee a reduction of 90% in storage. The average customer gets a reduction with a ratio of 40:1.

How does SimpliVity do it? In the same unique SimpliVity file system platform, HPE SimpliVity provides efficiencies by leveraging primary storage and backup.

Some of my customers, especially those who have been storage practitioners over a long time, become suspicious right away on hearing this. Why? It’s because it means breaking the golden rule of backups: you should never store backups in primary storage; the risk is that you may lose everything.

But HPE SimpliVity is changing the rules of the game. The situation is not that IT administrators have decided suddenly to discard the golden rule. It is that SimpliVity offers true Data Protection.

How does HPE SimpliVity Data Protection work?

Well, first things first. Backups are absolutely necessary. Every IT expert understands that principle. Backups are needed to replace any lost or damaged data. How does data get lost or damaged?  

  • The loss of an entire site
  • The loss of an entire system or cluster
  • Ransomware or malware attacks (Have you read my ransomware blog yet?)
  • Data loss, like files or VMs due to accidental deletion
  • Data loss due to failed hardware, typically hard drives
  • Data loss due to system node failure, typically a virtualisation host

Here’s another reason for backups: the ability to return to different data points in time. This is to remediate situations when, for a period of time, data loss or corruption have gone unnoticed, or when previous copies of data are required for testing and verification.

So, it’s clear that all IT experts are in agreement about the importance of securing data via backups. The key goals are to be able to keep data copies at multiple points in time and a well-defined data retention period. It is also crucial to be able to restore data ASAP and, in reference to the golden rule, we need to ensure the backup data is safely stored outside the fault domain which we want to protect.

Backups with HPE SimpliVity

In HPE SimpliVity, every node manages its own data independently and all storage across each node is pooled together into a single logical file system. HPE SimpliVity offers built-in backups and disaster recovery capabilities, including, without the need for third party data protection, efficient replication of software bandwidth. How is this achieved? The secret is the use of a storage controller built to purpose which provides online deduplication, optimisation and compression: the HPE OmniStack Accelerator.

The HPE OmniStack Accelerator analyses the blocks as data comes in. If they’re unique, they are then marked in the system metadata, compressed and written to flash drives. If the block is analysed to be a duplicate and it is stored already in the system object store, then a pointer is created in metadata, and processing that block is not further required.

It’s a smart design and with it, HPE SimpliVity provides deduplication and compression of all data through its lifecycle that is fine-grained, always-on and real-time. The backups are created in metadata and by leveraging deduplication, there are not any I/Os generated to run them. The outcome is that a full backup is super-fast and what’s more, not limited any longer to the traditional backup windows.

This powerful feature enables organisations to be able to do full backups more often, even every 10 minutes. This translates to more recovery points available and less data loss in the case of a disaster. This would just not be commercially feasible to do using third-party backup products, which take up storage resources and consume computing resources in the process.

HPE SimpliVity gives customers the flexibility to tune recovery point objectives (RPOs), enable high-frequency backups and replication across multiple sites.

HPE SimpliVity provides true data protection

HPE SimpliVity was designed to secure your most valuable asset: data. So, it protects data at multiple levels against failures at multiple levels. At the most granular level, HPE SimpliVity protects data against SSD failure, including VMs and backups, using RAID by an accelerated HPE Smart Array controller. Then all of this data, again including VMs and backups, is written to two nodes in order to protect against loss of single nodes. Each node in a SimpliVity cluster manages its own data independently. This then ensures that two locations or more for data storage to provide different domains in case of failure.

Another feature to protect against a site disaster is site-level protection. HPE SimpliVity offers businesses a set of rules that is simple and straightforward to create backups in a secondary Data Centre with an orchestration tool to automate the failover of VMs. The secondary Data Centre could be in a remote location or it could be in a third-party Data Centre facility, for example, like one of NTT’s Tier-3 DCs in Australia or around the world.

To sum up, HPE SimpliVity protects data at each of the levels described above:

Data loss due to accidental deletion

HPE SimpliVity uses file-level restore functionality and entire VM restore with no I/O.

Data loss due to failed hardware, typically hard drives

RAID sets is a proven mechanism to protect against multiple drive failures.

Data loss due to system node failure

Each VM is stored across two different nodes. In case of a node failure, no VM or backup data is lost.

The loss of an entire system or cluster

An additional single node or cluster at a different physical location allows backups to be created elsewhere to protect against the unlikely event of a SimpliVity cluster failure.

The loss of an entire site

As above, a different location can protect against site disasters with minimal impact to workloads.

Malware or ransomware attacks

Tuneable high-frequency full backups for near-continuous data protection considerably reduces the impact of malicious attacks.

So, if you use HPE SimpliVity, does this mean that you’ll never need a third-party backup product? Not necessarily. There are some genuine cases when you might require a third-party product, for example policies to back up to tape or in the case that an HPE SimpliVity cluster coexists with a non-HyperConverged deployment.

In essence though, HPE SimpliVity can streamline your operations, free up your storage and accelerate local and remote backup and restore functions at only a fraction of the cost of a traditional three-tier deployment.

So, why not talk to an NTT ICT expert if you want to discuss how HPE SimpliVity increase your IT operational agility while simplifying your backup operations and reducing your RPOs.

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Orlando Garcia NTT ICT Australia web
Author Name: Orlando Garcia

Orlando Garcia is a HPE Solutions Consultant at NTT Communications ICT Solutions. He is a HPE technology evangelist who supports NTT ICT's HPE business by establishing mission critical platforms, or introducing HPE's next generation technologies for customers.

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Added 24 April 2018

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