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Pivot3 swivels quality of service toward data protection policies

Hyper-converged vendor Pivot3 adds a wrinkle to acquired NexGen Storage technologies. QoS data protection policies can be scheduled for data stores, groups or volumes.

Hyper-converged vendor Pivot3 upgraded the quality-of-service software it picked up this year from all-flash array vendor NexGen Storage, extending it to data protection policies.

Pivot3 first integrated NexGen quality-of-service (QoS) performance monitoring in the vSTAC SLX platform launched in June. Pivot3 and NexGen merged in February.

With the new software update released Wednesday, Pivot3 has integrated NexGen-engineered dynamic QoS provisioning for its vSTAC SLX products. Pivot3 now allows policies for array-based snapshots, replicas and retention to be defined and scheduled via preconfigured templates. The automated QoS policy can be applied to an individual data store, group or volume.

Customers can schedule policy changes to occur at predetermined intervals, such as moving backups to flash after hours and returning flash to primary storage when business resumes.

Pivot3 started shipping hyper-converged systems in 2007, primarily for video surveillance. The vendor increased its emphasis on enterprise storage in 2014.

Quality of service describes features designed to mitigate contention when applications vie for the same resources. Adding QoS to data protection policies broadens vSTAC use cases, said Bruce Milne, Pivot3's vice president and chief marketing officer.

"Enterprises want to use hyper-converged infrastructure for virtualized and nonvirtualized data center applications," Milne said. "They want to ensure those applications get priority access for performance and data protection."

Data protection policies can be prioritized with user-defined libraries

Enterprises want to use hyper-converged infrastructure for virtualized and nonvirtualized data center applications.
Bruce Milnevice president and chief marketing officer, Pivot3

Pivot3 presents storage as a vSphere vCenter plug-in. An N5 vSTAC plug-in was rolled out in June for unified management across Pivot3 nodes and N5 all-flash arrays. A provider of vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness allows QoS to be applied to an individual virtual volume, data store or LUN. For Hyper-V backups, vSTAC is presented through a Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service provider to the application layer.

The new QoS for data protection policies also adds support for Microsoft Windows applications and virtual machines spawned in Microsoft Hyper-V.

QoS intelligence analyzes workload priorities on the fly. Job reservation and queuing make sure important snapshots get taken first. Resources get throttled back if a less critical application starts to infringe on production. Block storage is moved between fixed disk, flash and RAM, in line with corresponding performance and protection criteria.

"We had data protection before in the form of snapshots and replication," said Mike Koponen, a Pivot3 senior director of product and solutions marketing. "What we enable now is the customer to build a user-defined library and apply the data protection policies to a volume or group. As the policy changes, QoS will automatically apply the update to the defined volumes."

QoS for data protection growing

Data protection appears to be the next phase in the maturation of hyper-converged storage systems, said Jeff Kato, a senior analyst at Taneja Group Inc., in Hopkinton, Mass.

"Pivot3 is going to use QoS as a key differentiator in the market. This gives them some powerful features [to complement] all-flash storage. It extends QoS to meet recovery point objectives through snapshots and replication," Kato said.

"NexGen was a strong supporter of VMware Virtual Volumes, so adding data protection policies to the mix really helps to better handle mixed workloads."

Milne said NexGen technologies will be completely integrated across vSTAC by the end of 2016. The vendor's roadmap includes a "bigger, faster, closer integration" in a new version of its operating system.

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