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Using Nutanix Objects as an S3-Compatible Backup Target

  • 19 June 2019
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Using Nutanix Objects as an S3-Compatible Backup Target
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This post was authored by Laura Jordana Technical Marketing Engineer, Nutanix

**Update: Nutanix Buckets was recently renamed to Nutanix Objects**

The upcoming release of Nutanix Objects will provide simple, scalable S3-based object storage, with support for common S3 APIs. Nutanix Buckets object storage is deployed and managed from within Nutanix Prism and provides an S3 endpoint over HTTP or HTTPS that any S3-compatible application can connect to. Many popular backup applications are compatible with the S3 protocol and are an ideal use case for Nutanix Buckets.

Why Use Object Storage For Backups?

Backup has never been an exciting topic in the world of technology. Nobody really cares about backups until they are needed, and backups are a critical part of any IT environment. One of the key questions to be answered when designing a backup strategy is determining where and on what type of storage the backups should be kept. This could be almost any type of storage, including NFS/CIFS-based network shares, block storage, object storage, tape devices, and more.

Storing backups on object storage has several benefits. The cost of object storage is generally cheaper than block and file storage, and much easier to manage than tape. Tape-based backups typically have a higher RTO and involve additional devices such as autoloaders and tape libraries. Block and file storage allows for easier manageability but may be overkill for storing backup archives. Object storage is ideal for this type of unstructured, infrequently accessed data.

Instead of the typical NFS/SMB/iSCSI storage protocols, object storage uses HTTP-based protocols, and as such, is natively suited for cloud environments. This allows for flexibility in managing backup archives whether on-prem or in the cloud. Nutanix Objects object storage implements the S3 protocol, which has become the industry standard for accessing data in the cloud (both public and private). Being able to use S3 as a backup target opens up options to be able to easily tier between the two in the future, allowing for a true multi-cloud experience.

Unlike file and block storage, object storage uses a flat namespace. Objects contain only three things - a unique identifier, metadata, and the data itself. There is no filesystem overhead, which makes it massively scalable to the petabyte level, which means you can consolidate and store all of your backups in a single namespace.

Nutanix Objects for Backups

Configuring backup targets in traditional siloed infrastructure can cause management and configuration headaches, and even result in missed backup windows. With Nutanix Objects, your backup targets are managed from the familiar Nutanix Prism user interface and leverage the underlying Acropolis Distributed Storage Fabric that powers other Nutanix core services. This means that with Nutanix Objects you are getting not only the simplicity, scalability, and enterprise-grade storage features, like adaptable compression and advanced data placement provided by the core Nutanix storage services, but also important features for object storage, such as:
  • Multi-part Upload Support - Multi-part upload allows clients to upload large files in chunks. This can speed up upload times as well as prevent loss of progress during an upload if there is connectivity loss.
  • Small Object Support - The architecture of Nutanix Objects offers a highly scalable metadata layer that can support extremely small objects (at the byte scale).
  • Sustained Throughput Performance - Nutanix Objects runs as a service on top of AOS, which allows it to leverage the storage features found in ADSF (Acropolis Distributed Storage Fabric). This, along with the metadata service layer, allows Objects to deliver block-like sustained throughput performance.
  • Ability To Scale To Billions Of Objects - Nutanix Objects is highly scalable and can support billions of objects.


Using Nutanix Objects simplifies backup and offers a one-click experience, integrating seamlessly with many 3rd party backup providers that provide an S3 connector.

Supported vendors at Objects GA include HYCU, Commvault, Veeam, and Veritas NetBackup.

Performance Testing with HYCU

The following are the results of preliminary performance testing that was done on HYCU with Nutanix Objects. This testing was done on early access (EA) Objects and AOS code. A key thing to note is that although block storage is typically thought of as more performant than object storage, the performance was nearly identical or better when backing up to Objects as compared to Volume Groups (block-based storage).

Configuration
  • HYCU VM config: 16 vCPU and 32G memory
  • Scaled from 1-4
  • 16 VMs to backup, each with 6 data disks and 1 OS disk.
  • Total storage usage per VM was around 240GiB
  • 8 HYCU threads were used to concurrently backup/restore each VM
  • Source cluster: NX-3060-AF (running the HYCU VM)
  • Destination (Objects) cluster: NX-6155
Baseline (without Objects, leveraging Volume Groups)
  • 16 VMs backed up to 16 vDisks (Volume Groups)
  • Data Set: 3863.8 GB
  • Time: 8107 seconds
  • Throughput: 476.60 MB/s

Objects results


Backup
  • 1 HYCU VM backing up 16 VMs to Objects target
  • Data Set: 3863.8 GB
  • Time: 7983 seconds
  • Throughput: 484 MB/s
  • 2 HYCU VMs backing up 16 VMs to Objects target
  • Data Set: 3863.8 GB
  • Time: 5240 seconds
  • Throughput: 737.37 MB/s
Restore
  • 1 HYCU VM restoring 1 VM from Objects target
  • Data Set: 241.68 GB
  • Time: 856 seconds
  • Throughput: 282.34 MB/s
  • 2 HYCU VMs restoring 2 VMs from Objects target
  • Data Set: 483.36 GB
  • Time: 892.5 seconds
  • Throughput: 541.58 MB/s
  • 4 HYCU VMs restoring 4 VMs from Objects target
  • Data Set: 966.72 GB
  • Time: 1146 seconds
  • Throughput: 843.56 MB/s
Using Nutanix Objects for backups offers simplicity and ease-of-use without sacrificing performance, with easy configuration, single pane of glass management, and out-of-the-box compatibility with a variety of backup software.

With AOS 5.11 and above, 2TiB of Nutanix Objects is included for free on a per-cluster basis.

Stay tuned for future posts where we will discuss how to configure various backup applications with Nutanix Objects!

For more information on Nutanix Objects and object storage, check out the following resources:
  • Tech Note: https://www.nutanix.com/viewer.html?type=pdf&lpurl=/go/nutanix-buckets
  • Blog: Reimagine Object-based Storage in a Multi-cloud Era https://www.nutanix.com/2017/11/08/reimagine-object-based-storage-multi-cloud-era/
  • Blog: Nutanix Objects and Containerized Architecture https://next.nutanix.com/blog-40/nutanix-buckets-and-containerized-architecture-32020
  • Objects in the Nutanix Bible: https://nutanixbible.com/#anchor-book-of-storage-services-buckets-(object-services)
Forward-looking disclaimer
This blog post includes forward-looking statements concerning our plans and expectations relating to new product features and technology that are under development, the capabilities of such product features and technology and our plans to release product features and technology in future releases. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and instead are based on our current expectations, estimates, opinions and beliefs. The accuracy of such forward-looking statements depends upon future events, and involves risks, uncertainties and other factors beyond our control that may cause these statements to be inaccurate and cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied by such statements, including, among others: the introduction, or acceleration of adoption of, competing solutions, including public cloud infrastructure; a shift in industry or competitive dynamics or customer demand; and other risks detailed in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2019, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and, except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or subsequent events or circumstances.

©️ 2019 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. Nutanix, the Nutanix logo and the other Nutanix products and features mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nutanix, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s).


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