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Veritas HyperScale storage software extends OpenStack

Veritas expands beyond data protection with HyperScale storage software to give OpenStack users added quality of service, data protection and management capabilities.

Veritas Technologies LLC took another step beyond backup with a software application designed to give OpenStack users enhanced data management, quality of service and data protection capabilities.

Veritas HyperScale for OpenStack, which installs on commodity hardware, enables users to set maximum and minimum performance levels and specify the number of data copies they want the system to make. The product also integrates with Veritas' NetBackup software and enables users to schedule off-host backups to avoid affecting application performance.

"Out of the box, OpenStack doesn't do this," said Singh Garewal, a product marketing manager at Veritas.

Carlos Carrero, senior principal product manager for Veritas HyperScale for OpenStack, said the software integrates with OpenStack's Nova compute service, Horizon web-based dashboard and Cinder block storage service. It also extends OpenStack flavors, which define the compute, memory and storage capacity of Nova compute instances.

The persistent block storage that Veritas provides through OpenStack Cinder drivers is separated into two layers. A compute plane keeps the primary data copy, and a data plane can store second, third or point-in-time copies the system makes every 15 minutes. Users set quality of service at the compute layer to facilitate predictable performance. Management tasks, such as backup and replication, run on the data plane to eliminate the performance impact on the compute instances, Carrero said.

The product's dual-plane architecture gives customers the option to use powerful servers equipped with local solid-state drives on the compute side to boost performance and use cheaper, high-density storage in the data plane, Carrero said. He added that alternatives such as Ceph, Dell EMC's ScaleIO and Nutanix hyper-converged appliances run compute and storage on the same layer.

According to Carrero, Ceph creates a pool and enables users to set resiliency for an entire cluster, whereas Veritas HyperScale enables policies to apply to specific instances. This granular level of control could help users to minimize noisy neighbor issues, where one server starts to monopolize I/O resources. Customers can limit the IOPS an instance can consume with Veritas HyperScale.

Choice of resiliency and performance levels

Veritas customers can choose gold, silver and bronze resiliency and performance levels. The bronze option is an instance with a single copy that is geared toward web servers. Silver offers two copies, and the gold option offers three copies. Users also have a choice of low, medium or high performance.

"It is not one size fits all. You can really customize what you need in terms of performance and resiliency," Carrero said. "What I hear from every Ceph or ScaleIO user is that people keep three copies for everything because they don't want to have any risk."

You can really customize what you need in terms of performance and resiliency.
Carlos Carrerosenior principal product manager, Veritas HyperScale for OpenStack

The leading OpenStack Cinder block storage driver in use today is the Ceph RADOS block device, which is available both as open source code and as commercially supported software from vendors such as Canonical and Red Hat. Veritas HyperScale for OpenStack aims to both compete with and cooperate with Ceph, according to Carrero.

"We understand that Ceph is good, but it's not good enough for SAN performance characteristics," he said. "This is the reason we're bringing HyperScale, to complement Ceph in the storage arena."

According to Carrero, Veritas worked with Canonical for the current HyperScale for OpenStack release and plans to collaborate with Red Hat on the next one. Users have the option to use HyperScale for OpenStack on a stand-alone basis or in tandem with Ceph.

Pricing for Veritas HyperScale for OpenStack is by subscription, starting at $450 per terabyte managed at the compute nodes. Customers need a separate NetBackup license to take advantage of the integrated backup capabilities.

Veritas continues its reach up the storage stack

Amita Potnis, a storage systems research manager at International Data Corp., said via an email that users with database and other high-performance workloads would benefit the most from the HyperScale for OpenStack product. Potnis said Veritas might also look into developing a HyperScale appliance in addition to its software-only offering.

Veritas also has a HyperScale for Containers product. The two HyperScale products are related and share a significant amount of code, according to the firm's Garewal.

"Like all software-defined storage, there are some differences between them based on use," he said.

Steven Hill, a senior storage analyst at 451 Research, said the HyperScale software represents Veritas' latest move to extend its reach upward in the storage stack since the company split from Symantec. The Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm, bought Veritas for $7.4 billion in a deal that closed in January 2016.

"HyperScale for OpenStack rounds out a portfolio that also offers software-defined storage products targeting unstructured data, disaster recovery and high-performance workloads," Hill said.

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