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Space Saver

ProtecTIER deduplication saves more data on less disk

ProtecTIER deduplication saves more data on less disk
Illustration by James Yang

Simply Productive

IBM’s ProtecTIER solution lets clients store more data on a small amount of disk—up to a 25-to-1 reduction, according to Nemechek. “Deduplication can squeeze 25 terabytes of data down to only 1 terabyte of physical disk, so customers can have the speed and reliability of disk, but without that one-to-one cost,” he says. “It enables them to do more of their backup to disk as opposed to only getting to do that for their most critical data.”

Other productivity and cost-saving measures should also be considered. Nemechek says in mainframe environments tape is often the choice as a repository for daily production data. ProtecTIER with a virtual tape infrastructure is disk pretending it’s tape and doesn’t change the mainframe’s application or processing, but it can speed up operations. “Your data is instantly there on disk,” Nemechek says. “Not only does it help in the backup and recovery area in mainframe, it will also help in primary application-processing speed.”

Sometimes implementing backup strategies can be complicated and time consuming, but with the ProtecTIER solution, mainframe clients can see the benefit without much effort. “It’s a very simple change in the backup application, so it doesn’t disrupt what customers are already doing,” Nemechek says. “The way they’re backing up things is exactly the same, but they get the benefits of backing up to disk rather than physical tape. Now they can restore data quicker, back up jobs more reliably and do some powerful things with that data now that it’s on disk.”

Tight Integration

While other deduplication technologies exist, none are as tightly integrated as the IBM ProtecTIER solution. “Most other deduplication vendors have just gone to third-party companies that supply a convertor box to convert the I/O of a mainframe to open systems,” he says. “They just slap that box in between the mainframe and their deduplication system and say they’re ready for mainframe now.”

IBM does mainframe deduplication without using third parties. “We’ve done it in-house working with the System z team,” Nemechek says. “We’ve also written some code that more tightly integrates the ProtecTIER box and the mainframe, making them communicate better and eliminating the kludginess of other vendors’ solutions.”

The integrated communication component is a clear distinguishing benefit. For example, if the mainframe is sending a lot of data and the deduplication system can’t keep up, ProtecTIER will send a signal back to the mainframe requesting a slowdown until it can catch up. Most other solutions on the market don’t have that signaling mechanism, which increases the opportunity to lose data or skip data because it can’t communicate an overload, according to Nemechek.

Tami Deedrick is the former managing editor of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition.



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