Just last week I posted commentary on an analyst’s article on eWeek. Ironically, there is currently a hot discussion going on over at ByteandSwitch on another article from the same analyst. (I am purposely not linking to the article, if you want to read it visit B&S and look for Data De-Dupe Guide 2.) In this case, the discussion revolves around the analyst’s objectivity. The reality is that analysts are paid to write vendor centric papers all the time which is not problematic as long as articles are identified as such. The issue here is that the article on ByteandSwitch is vendor centric, and the author is positioning the content as vendor agnostic. The author further compounds the problem by incorrectly summarizing the available capabilities of shipping deduplication solutions. In his Mr. Backup blog, W. Curtis Preston writes about some of the errors.
I am often perusing industry related sites to find what people are saying about disaster recovery and data protection. Most of these sites rely on independent contributors to provide the content. Given the myriad of viewpoints and experience levels, it is not uncommon to see a wide range of commentaries, some consistent with industry trends, and others not. I keep this in mind when reading these articles and generally ignore inconsistencies; however once in a while an article is so egregiously wrong that I feel a response is necessary.
In this case, I am referring to an article appearing in eWeek where the author makes gross generalizations about VTL that are misleading at best. Let’s walk through his key points:
VTLs are complex
I completely disagree. The reason most people purchase VTLs is that they simplify data protection and can be implemented with almost no change in tape policies or procedures. This means that companies do not have relearn new procedures after implementing a VTL and thus the implementation is relatively simple and not complex like he suggests.
He also mentions that most VTLs use separate VTL software and storage. This is true for solutions from some of the big storage vendors, but is not the case with the SEPATON S2100-ES2. We manage the entire appliance including storage provisioning and performance management.
Finally, he complains about the complexity of configuring Fibre Channel (FC). While it is true that FC can be more complex than Ethernet it really depends on how you configure the system. One option is to direct connect the VTL which requires none of the FC complexities he harps on. He also glosses over the fact that FC is much faster than the alternatives which is an important benefit. (My guess is that he is comparing the VTL to Ethernet, but he never clearly states this.)