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Catalogic copy data management supports HPE Nimble Storage

Catalogic is reacting to market appetite for putting copy data management on primary storage. Flash customers want to get more out of their arrays, and the hardware can handle it.

Why have a golden copy when you already have a platinum one?

Catalogic ECX copy data management (CDM) software will introduce support for HPE Nimble Storage at the end of this month. ECX manages snapshots, replication and cloning, and is described as an "in-place" CDM product. It works off production data rather than a golden copy generated from backup systems like with other CDM approaches. This in-place CDM leads to faster CDM performance, at the cost of space on primary storage hardware. However, Catalogic claimed in the case of Nimble Storage, customers have been looking for ways to maximize their primary storage investment and put more workloads on their high-performance, all-flash and hybrid arrays.

"Your primary is a platinum copy. There's no reason to make a golden one," said Sathya Sankaran, Catalogic Software COO.

Actifio is often credited as the vendor that coined the term copy data management, but other vendors such as Cohesity, Rubrik and Commvault also perform CDM. CDM works by creating a full virtual copy of production data that is continually current while spawning other copies off that copy whenever a task calls for it. Uses cases include backup, test/dev and analytics. Actifio is currently suing Rubrik for patent infringement.

Sankaran said ECX doesn't have to be installed on flash storage, but flash customers are looking to get more out of their systems because it can handle the extra load. Putting CDM on the same storage platform as production provides benefits such as faster recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives (RTO/RPO). Sankaran claimed ECX can back up 10 TB to 12 TB in five minutes.

Why work with Nimble Storage rather than Primera, which is HPE's flagship storage product? Sankaran said Nimble's API made it easy to get ECX working on Nimble systems. Nimble also has an established installed base while Primera has been in the market for less than a year.

Catalogic ECX is already compatible with NetApp OnTap, IBM Spectrum, Pure Storage and Dell EMC Unity. On July 31, it will support the full line of HPE Nimble Storage all-flash systems and hybrid array systems. Initially, ECX will support snapshotting, but Catalogic is planning on supporting asynchronous replication and HPE Cloud Volumes soon. Sankaran added that HPE Primera support is also on the roadmap.

Randy Kerns, senior strategist and analyst at Evaluator Group, said Catalogic is naturally expanding its CDM software to integrate with additional storage platforms because customers rarely have only one type of storage system. Nimble, in particular, is a good choice because it has a lot of customers, so he wasn't surprised Catalogic launched on that instead of Primera.

screenshot of Catalogic ECX
Catalogic ECX now supports HPE Nimble Storage.

Sankaran said Catalogic ECX hasn't been missing sales opportunities because of competing CDM products, but rather because customers who tried the ECX product wished it worked on Nimble Storage.

Although it's generally good practice to keep secondary data off primary storage, which is often more expensive, Kerns said there are many use cases where different parts of IT would want quick access to copies of data. In the end, it's an economics argument, and it's possible to build a strategy such that the benefits of deploying CDM on primary storage outweigh the cost.

"Practices and what really happens are disconnected," Kerns said. "Think of the example of database admins who create multiple copies for a variety of reasons. Think of developers who want to test for the final environments. There's no question this would be valuable."

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