Archive for March, 2013

Tell Microsoft How They’re Doing

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

The team at Microsoft Canada is focused on ensuring that they help set you up for success by providing the information and tools you need in order to be get the most out of Microsoft based solutions, at home and at work.

Twice a year, Microsoft sends out the Global Relationship Study (GRS for short); it’s a survey that Microsoft uses to collect your feedback and help inform their planning. If you receive emails from Microsoft, subscribe to their newsletters‚ or you’ve attended our any of their events you may receive the survey.

The important details:

  • Timing – March 4th to April 12th 2013
  • Sent From – “Microsoft Feedback”
  • Email Alias – “feedback@e–mail.microsoft.com
  • Subject Line – “Help Microsoft Focus on Customers and Partners”

Many of you already read the Microsoft Canada IT Pro team’s blogs‚ connect with them on LinkedIn and have attended their events in the last year or so. So you may already know that you’re their top priority. So they want to hear from you.

Pierre, Anthony and Mitch use the GRS results to shape what they do, how they do it and if it’s resonating with you. Tell them what you need to be the “go-to” guy (or gal). Tell them what you need to grow your career. They want you to be completely satisfied with Microsoft Canada.

This year, Pierre, Anthony and Mitch have delivered 30 IT Camps and counting across the country. Giving you the opportunity to get hands on and learn how to get the most value for your organization. They have a few more events planned this year, so keep an eye on their plancast feed for events near you. Based on your feedback, topics they’re planning to cover will include:

· Windows 8

· Windows Server 2012

· System Center 2012

· Private Cloud

· BYOD – Management and Security

That’s not all. They’ve heard you loud and clear so in addition to hands on events, they’re also delivering more technical content online via the IT Pro Connection Blog. Windows 8 continues to be a big area of focus for them. They covered a lot of great content at launch and they’ve complimented that with new content like:

· Security Concepts

· Enterprise Focused Content

· Windows 8 and System Center 2012 Integration

In addition to this, there are some valuable online resources you can use like Microsoft Virtual Academy, Microsoft’s no-cost online training portal. Or software evaluations (free trials) on TechNet that allow you to build your own labs to try out what you’ve learned.

Regardless of how you engage with the team at Microsoft Canada‚ you’d probably agree that they hear you. They’d also encourage you to continue to provide that great feedback. They thrive on it‚ they relish it‚ they wallow in it and most importantly of all‚ they action it. So please keep connecting with them and keep it coming! Pierre, Anthony and Mitch are listening.

Resources, Tools and Training

· Tim Horton’s Gift Card Contest – We’re giving away 350 Tim Horton’s gift cards, all you have to do to qualify is download a free qualifying software evaluation (trial). Download all three for more chances to win, but hurry, the contest closes soon.*

· Windows 8 Resource Guide - Download a printable, one-page guide to the top resources that will help you explore, plan for, deploy, manage, and support Windows 8 as part of your IT infrastructure.

· Windows Server 2012 Evaluation – Get hands on with Windows Server 2012 and explore the scale and performance possibilities for your server virtualization.

· Microsoft Support - Get help with products‚ specific errors‚ virus detection and removal and more.

· Microsoft Licensing -Visit the Volume Licensing Portal today to ask questions about volume licensing‚ get a quote‚ activate a product or find the right program for your organization.

*No purchase necessary. Contest open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. Contest closes April 11, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Three-Hundred-and-Fifty (350) prizes are available to be won: (i) $10 CDN Tim Horton’s gift card.  Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. For full rules, including entry, eligibility requirements and complete prize description, review the full terms and Conditions.

Deduplicate Microsoft DPM 2010 and 2012 Data

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Building on our highly successful and industry-exclusive DPM deduplication product family, BridgeSTOR now offers the next generation of data deduplication product optimized for Microsoft DPM 2010 and 2012.

CRUNCH for Microsoft DPM is the only product available today that brings proven, 2nd generation advanced data reduction to Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager environments. A BridgeSTOR Virtual Deduplication Appliance co-resides with DPM 2010 or 2012 in a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V environment to add the most capacity-efficient DPM storage capability available today.

CRUNCH for DPM is optimized to interoperate with the unique storage workloads produced by DPM 2010 and 2012 when protecting Hyper-V, Exchange, SQL, SharePoint and shared/networked storage (NAS, CIFS) servers. Coupled with CRUNCH for DPM, Microsoft’s DPM can finally offer “bullet-proof” data protection with market-leading data storage efficiency.

The CRUNCH for DPM Product Offering

BridgeSTOR offers CRUNCH for DPM as a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V Virtual Deduplication Appliance that typically operates as a Guest in the same physical server that acts as your DPM 2010 or 2012 server. CRUNCH for DPM is offered as a service (DaaS – Deduplication as a Service) that does not require you to make a capital expenditure.

The DaaS model is easy to understand with annual charges low and fixed. There are no hidden charges, surprises, “up-front” or one-time charges and no CAPEX is required.

Site and Enterprise service options are available. See the CRUNCH for DPM pricing page for details or contact a BridgeSTOR sales representative at sales@BridgeSTOR.com

CRUNCH and System Center Data Protection Manager

Today’s DPM Capacity Management

DPM natively supplies two (2) storage tiers: 1) a disk tier for short term storage from which data can be quickly and conveniently recovered in the case of data loss or corruption and 2) a tape tier for long term storage and archive from which data can be recovered if it is no longer available from the disk tier.

This storage hierarchy is illustrated below. Native DPM

Today’s DPM Storage Hierarchy

The native Microsoft DPM storage hierarchy provides a balance between operational data recovery and long term data retention, but some users say that it has significant limitations in production environments. Because the long term data retention tier is based on tape – with tape a far less convenient media type for data recovery – many administrators view the tape tier as strictly an offsite disaster recovery tier. Increasing the size of the short-term disk tier to accommodate more recovery points or to protect more servers has traditionally been performed by adding disk capacity to the short-term data retention tier.

How CRUNCH for DPM Works

CRUNCH for DPM adds data deduplication to create a new, long-term disk storage tier that reduces short-term storage pool capacity requirements. CRUNCH for DPM’s capacity optimization is the ideal response to DPM’s voracious storage appetite and helps you extend the life of your in-place storage hardware.

CRUNCH for DPM is a true 2nd generation implementation of BridgeSTOR’s Advanced Data Reduction technology. The principal technological advance that enables BridgeSTOR to leap from previous implementations to CRUNCH is DDFS – the Data Deduplication File System. DDFS represents a breakthrough in cloud-enabled data deduplication that operates at both the file and sub-file (data block) level. Other key DDFS features that specifically address the unique requirements of DPM data deduplication are: block and file-level deduplication, Synthetic Data Archiving™ and an unlimited number of data Recovery Points.

CRUNCH for DPM enables deduplicated DPM data to be stored on disk configured as virtual tape.

The illustration below describes how CRUNCH for DPM deduplication is integrated into your DPM data protection environment. BridgeSTOR DPM

CRUNCH for DPM Data Deduplication

CRUNCH for DPM offers the following advantages and benefits:

  1. Most recoveries will be performed from short-term disk storage, so initial synchronizations, consistency checks and recovery point creations will proceed at native DPM speed.
  2. Less disk storage capacity is required to setup and maintain short-term DPM data stores because the length of time data is retained on that tier is reduced by shifting data to the new long-term tier.
  3. CRUNCH deduplication makes possible longer data retention periods using the new long-term disk tier with the potential of eliminating physical tape completely.
  4. Data stored by CRUNCH for the long term can be recovered from standard Windows shares without using DPM.
  5. Introducing Virtual Tape and disk-based data deduplication at the point where DPM archives data to tape creates a new long term disk data retention tier.
  6. Data is deduplicated only once – when being prepared for storage on the long-term tier – the deduplication process no longer has to be reversed for every read operation, greatly reducing processing overhead.
  7. CRUNCH for DPM is offered via an annual subscription so there is no capital expenditure required.

Microsoft’s System Center Data Protection Manager provides a comprehensive solution for data protection requirements in Windows Server, Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, file serving and Hyper-V environments as well as for corporate desktops and laptops. BridgeSTOR’s products provide transparent data deduplication to minimize storage pool capacity requirements.

The new generation of BridgeSTOR deduplication products for DPM addresses the following points:

  1. Introducing disk-based data deduplication at the point where DPM archives data to NAS disk or physical tape creates a new long term disk storage data retention tier.
  2. Data is deduplicated only once – when being prepared for storage on the long-term tier – the deduplication process no longer has to be reversed for every read operation, greatly reducing processing overhead.
  3. Performing deduplication at times of low system activity enables BridgeSTOR’s software to page the hash table in and out of memory, eliminating the need for multiple processors, large RAM configurations and Enterprise software licensing costs.

Specification Summary

  • CRUNCH for DPM is supplied as a software download in Microsoft VHD format that is installed on the same physical server that acts as your Microsoft DPM 2010 or 2012 server.
  • A single CRUNCH for DPM Virtual Appliance can manage 12 “containers” of physical storage capacity, each of which can be up to 4 TB in size (total of 48 TB of physical capacity).
  • Thin provisioning ensures that physical capacity additions can be performed gradually and incrementally.
  • 32GB of system memory in the Hyper-V server (or 8GB of RAM supplemented by 32GB of dedicated SSD storage) are recommended for optimal operation.
  • Throughput may be limited by constraints of the server and storage hardware you are using in your DPM system.