Permabit’s Albireo – From Dedupe to Software-Defined Storage

Permabit recently announced the latest additions to their Albireo Virtual Data Optimizer (VDO) deduplication and thin provisioning software for Linux-based storage systems. Permabit added turnkey software applications for compression and replication. With these additions, Permabit enables storage OEMs to level the competitive playing field with enterprise storage manufacturers by embedding advanced software feature/functionality into their storage hardware. VDO is evolving from a deduplication engine to a Software-Defined Storage efficiency offering for storage OEMs.

Software on Demand

The demand for advanced storage management features like data deduplication with compression, thin provisioning and replication is becoming increasingly stronger. Various industry surveys reveal that most storage request for proposals (RFPs) list these 4 features as standard requirements of any storage platform. This puts added pressure on storage manufacturers to not only embed these capabilities into their offerings, but do so while demonstrating clear technology differentiation.

As a result, Permabit is increasingly assuming the role as the “de facto storage software development arm” for manufacturers that don’t have the time, resources (people and capital) or inclination to spend the development cycles to create their own unique versions of advanced storage management data services. Indeed, a key business benefit of deploying Albireo is it completely obviates the need to make software development capital expenditures to produce an “in-house” storage software solution. Instead, storage suppliers can leverage VDO for core storage services while they invest development cycles building data services features unique to their offerings.

Deduplication and Compression

As is evidenced by their recent inclusion of data compression, Permabit continues to invest and drive innovation into the Albireo product. While unstructured, “Big Data” continues to grow at a meteoric pace, most data centers today continue to make the vast majority of their business decisions on data residing in structured database environments. The ability to efficiently store, manage and protect this information is paramount as enterprise environments continue to march towards virtualized, cloud computing environments.

While deduplication can help drive improved efficiencies in the storage systems safeguarding database repositories (i.e. copies used for analysis, testing, etc.), data compression often times can be more efficient, particularly within databases themselves. Similarly, file sets that generally don’t deduplicate well, like user files and log files, will also be able to derive a data reduction benefit through compression.

The challenge, as always, is applying compression processes to live data without impacting the ability of the underlying business applications to rapidly retrieve information.

Albireo’s advanced memory management capabilities enable it to efficiently manage complex deduplication and compression processes in standard, off-the-shelf solid state memory or DRAM without applying excessive overhead on application storage I/O. In fact, Albireo’s index lookups account for less than 0.1% of I/O overhead. As a result, database environments that don’t deduplicate well can still derive 66% data reductions through in-line compression without suffering any negative performance impact. Albireo’s 750 MB/second in-line data deduplication and compression line transfer speed is setting the industry standard for robust storage efficiency performance.

Cloud Ready Replication

Data replication is a cornerstone technology for ensuring that real-time, business data is actively protected across multiple systems and/or across multiple geographic locations. Once reserved for the most critical business data, replication is becoming increasingly utilized to transport and protect data on everything from primary and backup storage platforms to end user mobile devices. Whether moving information across data centers or across continents, it is important to first optimize the payload of the data transfer to avoid saturating network links which may be carrying other critical business data traffic.

By compressing and deduplicating data prior to transport, the Albireo VDO software creates a bandwidth optimized file copy that can be leveraged across a number of important business use cases ranging from traditional asynchronous array based replication to synching file shares between end point user devices and drop box like file applications, to virtual machine replication into cloud DR data centers. The replication software client can be deployed independently from the other VDO software components to provide a lightweight client agent capable of enhancing the upstream transfer of data and enabling deduplication into the cloud.

As we discussed in our article, “Can Deduplication Be The Answer To Cloud Pollution?”, in order to be competitive, cloud service providers (CSPs) need to integrate storage and data management solutions which are effective at driving greater efficiencies into virtualized cloud computing infrastructure.

Cloud Provider Utility

While data deduplication is one measure for achieving cost reductions, it is equally critical to enable the rapid, efficient movement of data from client data center locations, regardless of the data source, back into the CSPs facility. Likewise, CSPs need to be able to demonstrate to their prospective clients that their data can be quickly accessed and retrieved on demand.

Utilizing commodity Linux servers and low cost storage, Albireo can elegantly scale to support the multi-PB deployments required for CSP multi-tenant data center environments. When coupled with Albireo’s bandwidth friendly replication, CSPs have several of the key required components to build out a cost effective storage (SaaS), backup (BaaS), or disaster recovery (DRaaS) as a service utility offering.

Conclusion

Next generation computing technologies are fundamentally software based. Server hypervisors and open source cloud computing platforms, for example, are helping to further commoditize data center infrastructure hardware. As such, IT decision makers are placing a higher premium on the unique management and efficiencies that software technologies can deliver to the data center.

As a technology supplier, Permabit is closely aligned with this trend by carving out an interesting niche as the storage software OEM “go to” source for storage manufacturers and CSPs. In addition to delivering an easy to deploy, leading edge software stack which helps drive enhanced data center efficiencies and data protection functionality, Permabit’s Albireo product family enables storage suppliers and CSP’s to remain focused on their respective niches while fielding highly competitive enterprise class products.

Permabit is a client of Storage Switzerland

As a 22 year IT veteran, Colm has worked in a variety of capacities ranging from technical support of critical OLTP environments to consultative sales and marketing for system integrators and manufacturers. His focus in the enterprise storage, backup and disaster recovery solutions space extends from mainframe and distributed computing environments across a wide range of industries.

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