Powering the Cloud 2013: Quantum DXi

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During the last “Powering the Cloud” event in Frankfurt, I had the opportunity to privately meet some exhibitors. One of them has been Quantum. I talked about their solution called DXi with Stéphane Estevez, Sr. Product Marketing Manager EMEA.

Quantum DXi

Quantum is well known for its tape archiving solutions. However, they recently expanded their portfolio with other solutions, all related to Data Protection. Specifically, during the meeting we talked about Quantum DXi.Quantum Product LineUp

It’s a complete family of deduplication disk appliances, with several physical machines, and two virtual appliances. They all have some common features like in-line deduplication (that is, it’s done when new data arrives and before it’s written to disk) and a variable block size.

The product can be accessed ny any external backup product via NFS or CIFS protocols, or even using Symantec OST, if your data protection soluton supports this protocol.

The only difference between the physical moddels come from their size, thus the maximum available backup area: it starts with the small DXi 4601, with 4 TB “usable”, up to the biggest model, named DXi 8500 and able to reach 330 TB of usable space. The effective size obviously depends on the compression and deduplcation ration that can be reached. Quantum says a typical ration is 20:1, so the biggest backup area on the biggest model is 6,6 PB.

Among the available features, there is also replication. Each DXi model can replicate all its content or a part of it towards any other model.

Finally, the two biggest models also have encryption, thanks to the usage of Self Encrypted Drives, that are hardware encrypted drives. This is for sure an interesting feature for high-security environments.

DXi v1000

Quantum V1000

Other than these common features, I asked to have more informations about the V1000 model. It’s a virtual appliance, so a customer can deploy it on its on hypervisor with some local storage. Right now only VMware vSphere is supported, but a version for Hyper-V is coming. This appliance is totally free, and freely downloadable from Quantum website. It’s limited to 1 TB of usable storage (so this is the biggest disk you can assign to the virtual machine), and also limited to a deduplicated value of 24 TB. But, 1 TB usable space is the only limit, other than this it has all the same features of its bigger brothers, except enryption.
This means also replication to another DXi is available: this makes the DXi V1000 an almost perfect fit for many small environments. If you place two V1000 appliances in two separated sites, and you replicate them (up to 24 TB of data), here you have a complete remote data protection solution, for free!

Vision Management and Service Providers

Another interesting solution is their suite, named Vision.

It’s a software that can connect at the same time several DXI systems, even if they are from different custoemrs, so they can be centrally managed.

For sure a quick use case are Service Providers: thanks to this software they can monitor and manage several installations made at customers sites, even when the free V1000 as used. Software has complete multi-tenancy capabilities, an integrated chargeback systems, and “virtual partitioning”, in order to offer disk space to different customers in a completely separated way, even if it comes from the same DXi appliance.

A service provider is now able, thanks to this solution, to design and offer OffSite Backup solutions. Quantum can also re-brand and customize the software appearance, if a provider wants a custom version.

Finally, even licensing has been designed for Service Provider: you pay 6 cents per GB /deduplicated) per month. It’s a pure pay-as-you-grow license, and this is something appealing to Service Provider.

Final notes

The appliance alone is on the same level as other competitors, like for example EMC DataDomain, that was quoted several times as a direct competitor It does not have any groundbreaking feature (here, really the only “one of a kind” solution is still ExaGrid), but the combination of the Vision software and the free V1000 can become a great overall solution for Service Providers.

As it happens many times, maybe a single product is not so disruptive, but there could be an interesting service using that product as a building element.