Exablox is pretty sweet - but not great for restore applications

Great strengths in simplicity and scalability

Comment One of the best places to find business storage products reviewed is Storage Review, which has just reviewed the Exablox NAS-headed object storage system for small and medium businesses.

We wrote about Exablox and its RAID-less, deduping, highly scalable OneBlox technology here, saying the product looks like an Isilon cluster on the outside but uses object storage on the inside, concluding: "today it’s not a performance box but a capacity one."

That's what Storage Review found as well. They found the system was superbly easy to use and scale out, and to set up as a backup target. However, restore performance was not good.

They tested it with backing up from Veeam and turned off Veeam's own inline deduplication and compression as per Exablox's best practices recommendations (PDF). Here's what they concluded:

the Exablox model identifies any duplicate data stored within a given ring (cluster) of OneBlox systems. Veeam currently only finds duplicate data within a single backup job -- which can contain one more virtual machines. It does not keep an index of all blocks stored. Veeam also uses a much larger block size than the 32-KB that OneBlox uses. The Veeam block sizes used are between 128KB and 1MB.

Initial testing at Exablox indicates that the Veeam compression does not increase overall storage capacity on the OneBlox appliance.

Based on these two points, we recommend that all deduplication and compression be disabled within Veeam for backup jobs being sent to the OneBlox appliance.

The result was that the overall dedupe ratio for backed up VMs was low, at 2.3:1, with Storage Review commenting: "While the OneBlox was able to reduce the data footprint to some extent, it lacked the ability to reach the metrics often associated with dedicated dedupe appliances, as well as an excessively long backup window without being able to leverage Veeam's inline compression and dedupe functionality."

They then restored a backed up 603GB VM. This took 6.5 hours with restore speed of 14 - 27MB/sec. The Exablox OneBlox array was populated with 4TB HGST 7K4000 enterprise HDDs; capacity drives and not performance drives.

This was contrasted with a WD Sentinel DS6100 running Windows Server 2012 R2, which took 1 hour 40 minutes, ran at 70 - 82MB/sec, and cost less.

Storage Review concluded: "Exablox has sacrificed its single node performance in return for a global namespace, scale-out clustering, RAID-less protection, and inline deduplication."

It adds: "For IT organisations that need to prioritise scalable capacity over performance OneBlox has a deep feature set."

Translate that "deep" as excellent. Sounds about right. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022