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With its latest major storage center update, Compellent Technologies has turned to thin replication for bandwidth management and more cost-effective disaster recovery.

Traditionally, thin replication has allowed a user to replicate only the written portion of storage volumes. Similar to thin provisioning, it tends to lower bandwidth costs through better optimization.

Because of the thin replication technology, Compellent’s Storage Center 3.5 will have more replication capability than in the past, said Bruce Kornfeld, the company’s vice president of marketing.

“We’ve offered storage replication for over a year, but in speaking with customers, we realized that what they really needed was a lower cost for bandwidth and management,” he said.

Thin replication will cut bandwidth and requirements by up to 50 percent over competing products, the company claims.

One of the largest, ongoing expenditures for disaster recovery strategies is dedicated bandwidth costs, said Brad O’Neill, senior analyst for The Taneja Group.

“Disaster recovery shouldn’t have to be a harsh set of tradeoffs,” he said.

Click here to read more about Microsoft’s efforts in the replication space.

Compellent’s Thin Replication differentiates the firm from other storage vendors, and addresses the disaster recovery “pain point” felt by many companies, O’Neill added.

Optimization and efficiency in Storage Center 3.5 are achieved through several features, including bandwidth simulation, which can estimate requirements and prevent overprovisioning.

Bandwidth shaping customizes the transfer rates based on link speed, time of day and a wizard-based setup tool.

An optimization option allows users to create volumes based on only written data, and transfer changed blocks of data, reducing the chance that data blocks will be sent over a network multiple times.

The wizard-based capability is also designed to streamline administration, with only six clicks to remote replication, and a centralized view of local and remote configurations from a single console.

Ease-of-use is one of the features that drew Golden Gate Bridge Transportation District, noted the organization’s senior systems administrator, Tomasz Klys.

“During the first presentation, I was blown away by how easy it was to use,” he said. “Replication here was pretty much backing up to tapes and then shipping it offsite, so it was important to find something to replace that system, and have it be simple to use.”

The user interface is new for Compellent, and was created in response to customer need, Kornfeld said.

The company said it hopes that with the interface and thin replication, it can woo customers away from complex SAN products.

“Typically, we see companies that have deployed a SAN already but are struggling because they feel they’re locked into a solution and don’t have the capability they want,” he said.

“A lot of our business is replacing existing SANS that aren’t giving IT shops the storage replication and disaster recovery they were expecting.”

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