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Product Review: Quantum NDX-8d Deduplication Appliance

Device does double duty for storage and backup.

The Quantum NDX-8d network-attached storage appliance provides a complete storage and data protection system and fits well across organizations of all sizes.

In small organizations, the NDX-8d can serve as both a NAS device and backup system. In larger organizations, it might be dedicated to one function or the other. The device offers DATASTOR deduplication, which ensures that only one copy of a given file is stored. This is particularly valuable when multiple systems are backed up to the device because beyond the first copy each extra copy uses relatively little additional space.

Advantages

The Quantum appliance includes all necessary software and is a drop-in solution for either file storage or backups. IT managers can install it in a rack, turn it on, run a configuration script and be ready to go. The client-side deduplication reduces network traffic and enables the 8-terabyte device to back up multiple systems.

The amount of data that can be backed up depends on how much data is duplicated between each backup. For instance, during my testing, I backed up a 1.2TB volume, added another 300 gigabytes to the system, and backed it up again. The second backup decreased the available space on the system by only 318GB, rather than the 1.5TB it would have required without deduplication.

Similarly, when backing up multiple virtual machine disk files (VMDKs), backing up 20 files with the same OS consumed little more space than backing up one. Each VMDK held about 48GB of files and applications for an instance of Windows Server 2008. Because most of the files were the same from one VM to the next, 20 VMDKs used only about 55GB of space. On the other hand, organizations that have several TB of unique data, such as video or audio files, would only experience relatively small reductions in data.

Why It Works for IT

The NDX-8d offers IT managers a quick, painless way to add storage to the network, or to set up backups for a number of servers quickly and easily. It offers a modular 1U rack-mountable unit with four hot-swappable drives and quiet operation.

Backups to the NDX-8d hard drives are quick and painless, and performing data restoration is much faster than with tape. Whether restoring a single file or an entire hard disk, recovery is simple and fast.

The NDX-8d integrates with Active Directory, which simplifies the process of setting up backups of multiple Windows servers or clients. IT managers will also appreciate the straightforward process of setting up network shares to use the system as a NAS device, whether they’re integrating it into existing Active Directory domains or creating a workgroup for a few clients.

Disadvantages

Administrators with an existing backup infrastructure that uses another backup software package may want to look elsewhere for an additional backup target because some of the NDX-8d features wouldn’t be necessary. The Quantum appliance is not easily expandable, so organizations seeking a system that can grow with their network should consider other options, such as the Quantum NDX-12d, which offers 12TB of capacity.

What’s more, if organizations plan to use the unit for backups of data that doesn’t have much duplication between one volume and the next, they won’t save much storage space with this feature.

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Apr 23 2013 Spice IT

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