Last week, I had a chance to catch up with Brady Murray and Rex Walters of Tintri. Mostly this was a transfer of information, but the guys let me know that they are on the verge of announcing a new per-VM replication feature which they first demoed to me when I met Tintri at VMworld last year. This will be the main feature in Tintri’s new 2.0 launch.
Many folks might ask why this replication feature is so special. Well, from the offset, Tintri were always about doing things are the per-VM level. Almost all array level replication technologies continue to work at the per-LUN or per-Volume basis, meaning that you are replicating a lot of unnecessary blocks over the wire. Tintri’s replication feature is only replicating the blocks used by the virtual machine that you wish to protect.
Secondly, with Tintri’s replication feature, if a block already exists on the destination array, then they will not copy that block over the wire. Instead, they simply reference it via metadata. All of Tintri’s replication is deduplicated and compressed, meaning that the minimum amount of data is sent over the wire.
Another key feature of this replication technology is a feature which Tintri refer to as Remote Cloning. This allows administrators to clone a virtual machine from a local Tintri storage array to a remote Tintri array at another site. This is very interesting, and I’m sure this is something many administrators wish they could do with the click of a button from time to time. One nice part of this remote cloning feature is that the thin provisioned nature of the virtual machine is preserved, i.e. when the VM is cloned to the destination, it is not inflated to a full size, but instead remains thin. The VM may also be cloned back to the source from the destination. Tintri feel that this ability to retain thinness and do bidirectional cloning across arrays gives them an advantage over their competition. This was a very interesting part of the demo at VMworld 2012, where Tintri were able to show hundreds of virtual machines being cloned to a remote array in a matter of seconds.
The 2.0 release should be available very soon. Looks like it has some nice new functionality for existing Tintri customers, and definitely something to look into for folks looking for arrays that work at a virtual machine granularity. One minor disappointment for me is that the new replication feature is not yet integrated with VMware’s Site Recovery Manager product, and I hope this is something Tintri choose to implement in the not too distant future.
Update: Here’s the press release: http://www.tintri.