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Datrium DVX adds cloud option for Amazon Web Services

Startup Datrium is readying a new Cloud DVX option for Amazon Web Services to provide customers with an off-site option for backup and disaster recovery.

Datrium is adding cloud backup for data stored in its on-premises DVX systems, initially through Amazon Web Services.

The startup this week demonstrated its Cloud DVX services at Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Craig Nunes, Datrium's vice president of marketing, said Cloud DVX is due to become generally availability in late January, and Datrium will extend it to additional clouds and use cases throughout 2018.

The Datrium DVX storage system for VMware virtual machines (VMs) consists of compute nodes and storage nodes. DVX Compute Nodes use server-based flash cache to accelerate data reads, and DVX Data Nodes store data that has been compressed and globally deduplicated.

With the on-premises Datrium DVX system, customers have the option to supply their own third-party x86 compute nodes equipped with flash drives, purchase DVX Compute Nodes, or use a combination of the two. The DVX system supports up to 128 compute nodes and 10 data nodes.

With the new Cloud DVX option, the Datrium DVX software runs in Amazon's Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) on servers that do not need flash drives, Nunes said. DVX writes from the EC2 instance directly to Amazon Simple Storage Service buckets, which serve as the data nodes in the cloud.

"If you think about our architecture [on premises], it actually resembles and mirrors the architecture that you have seen with the public cloud providers, with the separation of compute and capacity," said Tushar Agrawal, director of product management at Datrium.

Features include deduplication, incremental backup

Datrium compresses and globally deduplicates data on premises before transmission to the Amazon cloud to keep down costs for network bandwidth and Amazon S3 cloud storage. The Cloud DVX instance can also deduplicate data again in cases where multiple Datrium DVX systems might copy VMs to the cloud.

Customer can recover deduplicated data on a granular basis to improve recovery time objectives (RTO). To reduce AWS retrieval charges, Datrium looks at the local DVX system for duplicate data and retrieves only data blocks uniquely stored in the cloud. For instance, the recovery of a 100 GB virtual disk may require the retrieval of only a few GB of data if most of the data is stored on the local DVX system.

We aim to make it super easy -- one-click setup and then manage the instance for the customer and deliver it as a service.
Craig Nunesvice president of marketing, Datrium

"The Cloud DVX has the metadata associated with the local DVX, so it knows what's in the local DVX. [Cloud DVX] can compare what it has with what's on the local DVX and then send only what's different," Nunes said.

The Datrium Cloud DVX service on AWS supports forever incremental backups, so customers don't need to do full backups after the initial one. The service also supports end-to-end encryption, so customers don't need to add a separate VPN and incur related AWS charges, according to Datrium.

To set up the Cloud DVX service, customers need an Amazon account. Agrawal said Datrium then sets up DVX in the cloud, managing it, upgrading it and supporting it.

"We aim to make it super easy -- one-click setup and then manage the instance for the customer and deliver it as a service," Nunes said.

Early customer sold on easy implementation

The University of Maryland's department of agriculture and resource economics has been using the on-premises Datrium DVX System for about 15 months to run its virtual desktops and store research data. Jeff Cunningham, the department's director of information systems, said limited resources had prevented the department from putting in place a solid off-site backup plan for disaster recovery.

Cunningham said Cloud DVX gives him an easy way to do that "without having to go through a whole lot of hoops," through the same storage system that he was already using.

As a Cloud DVX beta tester, Cunningham said he set up an AWS account, accessed the protection scheme page in the Datrium system and supplied his AWS cloud credentials and password. He said Datrium handled the rest, setting up the AWS EC2 instance and S3 storage and the connections between the on-premises and cloud systems.

"I've got a schedule that I had set up for [local on-campus] snapshots within my cluster. The nice thing about [Cloud DVX] is that I can set a completely different schedule for the snapshots that go up to AWS," Cunningham said.

Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said Datrium's new services are part of a trend of using the cloud for data protection.

"IT buyers are demanding it, and the competitive forces are looking at how they can offer hybrid cloud environments," he said. "At this time last year, you had the story of us versus them, on-premises vendors versus the cloud. And that story has dramatically shifted to where nearly every on-premises vendor either has a story of how they can offer a hybrid solution or they're actively working on a story to offer a hybrid solution."

The list price for the Cloud DVX is $6,000 per 5 TB increment of deduplicated data per year. Customers pay Amazon for the EC2 compute and S3 storage. Nunes said for many customers the annual cost of Cloud DVX with the Amazon charges would wind up cheaper over a three- or four-year period than the cost of buying a second physical DVX system.

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