Infinidat is claiming its data protection system can restore data at 28TB a second, yes, terabytes a second, which would far outpace competing systems.
Update: ExaGrid points added. 4 Sep 2023. Infinidat points added. 5 Sep 2023.
High-end array supplier Infinidat’s CMO Eric Herzog presented at the recent VMware Explore event in Las Vegas and looked at how Infinidat and Veeam worked together to protect VMware workloads. He asserted that the RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is the most critical metric for cyber recovery and business continuance after cyber attack events.
Herzog claimed a 20 PB Veeam backup set was recovered in 11 minutes and 55 seconds from an Infinidat InfiniSafe system. Spreadsheet maths says this is 1.678 PB per minute and that means 27.96 TBps. At least in this single test, if the reported numbers are accurate, this is much faster than a Pure Storage FlashBlade, with stated restore times of up to 270 TB per hour (4.5 TB per minute and thus 75 GBps.
The InfiniSafe system, at 1,678 TB/min is more than 370 times faster. This is so outlandish we checked our numbers again – but they were correct – see our table below.
We tried to compare this against ExaGrid, known for high performance, which has a tiered backup storage design using a non-deduplicated disk landing zone for recent data and deduplicated disk for older backup data. Restores from the landing zone, without the deduplication rehydration overhead are fastest, with an ExaGrid document saying: “ExaGrid can provide the data for a VM boot in seconds to single-digit minutes versus hours for inline data deduplication backup storage appliances that only store deduplicated data.”
But no actual restore speed numbers are provided. Its fastest appliance, the EX84 has a maximum backup throughput of 15.25 TB per hour. An InfiniGuard array can take in up to 180 TB per hour, and this implies that InfiniGuard would outpace ExaGrid’s EX84 in restore speed terms as well as ingest speed.
This isn’t unexpected as, other things being equal, an all-flash system should go much faster than a disk-based system. But ExaGrid’s appliances scale out so you could add more of them to match Infinidat’s ingest and restore speeds. ExaGrid can actually scale out to a 488 TB/hour ingest rate with its EX2688-G configuration, so matching Infinidat’s restore speed should be possible. Whether this is worthwhile has price/performance, rack space and electricity usage aspects to the decision.
Why is InfiniSafe so fast? It is basically an InfiniGuard data protection hybrid array or InfiniBox (disk-based) or InfiniBox SSA (all-flash) storage array running InfiniSafe software which stores immutable snapshots of production InfiniBox systems. InfiniSafe also protects against ransomware with its cyber-resilience feature set, but we are not concerned with that here, just the restore speed. And that comes from the base InfiniBox system being a fast system with its memory caching. The all-flash InfiniBox SSA II is the fastest of all Infinidat’s arrays.
Production systems can be backed up using Veeam Backup and Restore software. Infinidat CMO Eric Herzog says there are more than 100 mutual Infinidat-Veeam customers. His presentation cited enterprise customers who had replaced Data Domain, ExaGrid and NetApp backup storage systems with InfiniGuard, with InfiniGuard’s speed a significant competitive advantage in each case.
Bootnote. Here is our spreadsheet table showing Infinidat and Pure Storage restore speed numbers:
ExaGrid point of view
ExaGrid CEO Bill Andrews told us: “When comparing scale-out to scale-up you need to compare apples to apples: ingest performance, restore performance and cost. They [Infinidat] may be comparing SSD to HDD which of course is faster for restore but will be very very very expensive as well. That is why they called out Pure as it is Infinidat SSD to Pure SSD.
“Scale-out front end-controllers where you add disk shelves can take in a 1PB or 2PB full backup.
“Each ExaGrid appliance (Scale-Out) takes in 84TB and the you add another appliance and so on.
“ExaGrid can have up to 32 appliances in a single scale out system for a 2.7PB full backup at 488TB/hr. for ingest.
“This is much faster than the inline deduplication approach Infinidat uses for ingest performance. (See web site link; Scalability – ExaGrid)
“For a real comparison:
- ExaGrid will be a fraction the price HDD versus SSD
- ExaGrid will be faster for ingest because writing to HDD will always beat inline deduplication in CPU regardless of what it writes to
- Any SSD system will be faster for restore but then again your backups are slower and it cost a lot more
“ExaGrid is far cheaper than Pure, 2X the ingest performance but because Pure is SSD so the restores are faster. We do see Pure in some deals. We never see Infinidat. We see a lot of HPE, NTAP and HPE primary storage, Dell Data Domain, HPE Storeonce and Veritas FlexScale appliances.”
ExaGrid’s VP for architecture Tom Gillispie said: “26TB/Sec is the read bandwidth of 4,667 SSDs in parallel, and that’s before overhead for fault tolerance. It is 2,400 100GigE connections running in parallel. I suppose if you had 10 to 1 compression you’d have 1/10th the numbers, but something needs to rehydrate at that rate.
“My guess is the 11 min, 55 secs is the time from restore being started until the restore says complete and it is an entirely metadata operation, as in instant recovery at that scale or something similar. Either that or they can scale very large and their spreadsheet is assuming a gigantor backup deployment.”
We understand that, from several Infinidat Webinars, the 20PB recovery is from an InfiniGuard system, which has a hybrid InfiniBox embedded within the InfiniGuard and does not have an InfiniBox SSA II all-flash option. Infinidat is not comparing recovery from an all-flash InfiniBox SSA to a Pure all-flash array but from a hybrid array-based InfiniGuard compared to a Pure all-flash array, as well as to several other vendors that are mentioned in the VMware Explore presentation.