Supported external storage vendors for use with Unitrends Backup appliances

SUMMARY

Supported external storage vendors for use with Unitrends Backup appliances

ISSUE

This article provides a list of certified vendors to be used for external backup storage with Unitrends Backup (UB) systems.  

Note: These recommendations are for UB backup storage devices only. Unitrends protects data on any NAS device and supports all NAS devices for archiving data.  

Best Practice:  Per Deployment Best Practices for Unitrends Backup, we recommend connecting your storage to your hypervisor itself, (typically with dedicated iSCSI network paths or Fiber Channel connectivity) and create a datastore native to your hypervisor, then, deploy the UB and attach virtual disks in that datastore to the UB to be used as stateless backup storage.  This would enable your hypervisor to properly optimize IO communication to your storage using advanced protocols and further eliminates CIFS/NFS protocol overhead, which will result in a substantially faster, more reliable UB system as well as improve options for future expansion or migration of your data storage.  Other storage connectivity options are supported however, and this KB will clarify Unitrends position on supported storage systems of all types. 

    RESOLUTION

    Supported Hypervisor-Connected storage (Virtual disks in a datastore attached to UB for backup storage use)

    When using storage connected to your hypervisor per best practices, Unitrends will support any storage device that the hypervisor vendor itself supports. 

    See your hypervisor Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) website for a list of supported storage vendors and devices.  Devices that are not certified for use with your hypervisor may be denied support, so please ensure you are checking for 3rd party vendor support before making storage purchase decisions.  

    If you are using direct attached storage (DAS) that is internal to the hypervisor or physically connected via SCSI/SAS to a controller in your VM host, any storage vendor can be used; hypervisor certification is not required for DAS storage.  
     

    Supported pass-thru (CIFS/NFS/iSCSI) storage vendors connected via the UB UI

    If you choose to connect external storage from the UB virtual machine directly through network protocols (NFS, CIFS, or iSCSI passthru), only hypervisor certified devices from the vendors below are formally supported.  Other vendors may work, but will be considered "use at your own risk," but a best effort will be made for devices that are certified by your hyervisor vendor to support VM or enterprise workloads.  

    Note, not all devices from the below vendors support common filesystems or can sustain IO requirements to host virtual machine workloads.  Devices from the below vendors should also be certified by your hypervisor vendor for compatibility for VM or application workloads.  
    • Dell * EMC **
    • HDS
    • HP*
    • IBM*
    • Netapp
    • Oracle/SUN

    FileSystems Supported:  Your NAS/SAN Hardware should run XFS, EXT3/4, or NTFS* file systems.  Other file systems may cause issues or failure.  If your NAS device presents other file system types you may be directed to your storage vendor's support resources in order to reformat to a supported file system.  

    * Note about Windows OS:  General servers running Windows OS are not supported for UB backup or cold copy storage.  Some hardware NAS devices may run Windows Embedded firmware OS and present NTFS partitions via CIFS or NFS shares and this would be supported, however user managed versions of windows deployed on traditional server hardware hosting network shares will not be supported "Dell" or "IBM" refers to vendor hardware storage systems and product lines specifically sold as SAN or NAS storage devices, not their server lines.  Windows Storage Server is not supported for backup storage or cold copy use.  

    Note about storage replication: Storage vendor replication is not supported.  To replicate your backups saved on the external storage you must utilize Unitrends Hot Copy or Cold Copy technologies. A UB must not be deployed to storage that is part of a cluster pool or uses mirroring between separate physical devices or trays.  

    ** Note about 3rd party deduplication devices, like EMC DataDomain, Exagrid, or Exablox: The use of 3rd party hardware deduplication devices is not supported for backup or replication (hot copy) data storage.  Native Deduplication Devices may be used for cold-copy (archive) storage but cannot be used to hold deduplciated backups or the Unitrends Database.  

    Storage Performance Concerns:  Unitrends leverages a powerful database engine to support it's Advanced Adaptive Deduplication as well as many enterprise class features.  
    In some cases IO performance of provided UB storage may be insufficient to support some features, especially in larger deployments.  Good news: relocating the Unitrends Database to alternate fast disk independent of backup storage can greatly improve performance and reliability without requiring large scale enterprise storage systems.  See Deployment Best Practices for Unitrends Backup and Move the Unitrends database off of stateless storage and onto a new partition for more information.  When taking advantage of Unitrends SureCare professional deployment services, your onboarding engineer can help you measure your storage performance and decide where and how to deploy our system to best leverage your available resources and ensure reliable long term operation of your purchase.  

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