A Better Convergence for Converged Data Protection?

Converged data protection solutions attempt to manage all backup software and protection storage management operations from a single interface. These solutions also tend to be scale-out, addressing another big backup pain point, scaling and managing the backup repository. The challenge is that IT administrators still need to maintain at least two different software interfaces. They have to manage the environment they are attempting to protect, and the converged data protection solution itself. Nutanix’ s Mine solution is the company’s attempt to further consolidate the data protection process by integrating data protection software and hardware management into the same interface as the production environment.

The Data Protection Fragmentation Problem

On closer inspection, it is a surprise that traditional data protection works at all. Customers have to select the software, not only testing its capabilities but also seeing if they can understand the licensing strategy. Then they have to pair that software with one or more backup storage targets like disk, tape, and cloud. Then, if anything changes in the environment, they need to make sure the data protection infrastructure can handle it. If it can handle the changes, then IT administrators need to figure out how to integrate more hardware and buy more licenses.

Converged data protection is a hot topic in data protection spaces because the “old way of doing things” won’t scale in the modern data center. The rapid growth in the number of applications and in the capacities of storage they consume is stretching IT personnel too thin. IT no longer has the time to keep up with all the various parts of the backup process.

Converged data protection simplifies backup operations by reducing the number of management points. Nutanix Mine takes that reduction a step further than other solutions.

Most converged data protection solutions try to replace current backup software solutions. A vital aspect of the Mine solution is it doesn’t attempt to replace existing backup software. Instead, it works with them. When Nutanix made its Mine announcement, there was an extensive list of backup software vendors claiming support of Nutanix Mine at launch. It seems at this point that Veeam and HYCU are the most likely to be ready at the start.

Backup software vendors work with the Nutanix Mine API set so Mine can gather information from the backup solution. Nutanix then integrates these details about the state of the backup process into the Nutanix Prism Dashboard. Nutanix administrators can see the cluster’s protected state, from a single interface. If there is an issue, the Nutanix Mine interface launches the appropriate backup vendor’s management software.

Another goal of Mine is to simplify deployment. A Nutanix Mine customer receives a pre-staged appliance. Nutanix claims it takes less than two hours after unboxing to be ready to start the first backup. The Mine software is installed through “Foundation for Mine” which configures the backup software stack through a wizard-based workflow. Once complete, the administrator launches the new Mine dashboard in Prism to review the hardware infrastructure status and begin monitoring backup jobs. After implementation, the customer can decide to run the Mine as a net new deployment or they can migrate data from another backup repository into the Mine repository.

Nutanix Mine is a turnkey solution, including all necessary software and hardware. There is a small system, which is a 2U four-node system with 96TB of raw capacity. The medium system is a 4U four-node system capable of 192TB of capacity. IT can expand Mine via a 2U two-node configuration which adds 96TBs of capacity.

Each Mine System will come with the supported backup solution of your choice. The software licensing ties to the Mine configuration (and the expansion unit), making licensing simple.

StorageSwiss Take

Nutanix Mine enables Nutanix customers to simplify how they protect their current Nutanix *and* non-Nutanix environments. Using the same Prism interface they use to manage production operations, they can now monitor backup software and manage backup storage. It also eliminates licensing confusion, since it essentially ties backup software licensing to the capacity of the node.

Nutanix should be complimented for not going out and creating their own backup software solution, and instead leveraging the years, if not decades, of data protection experience of some of their partners.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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