Avamar – The Capacity Game

Last week I was talking to one of the local EMC technical resources about Avamar in general.  We got to talking about how Avamar capacity was sized and licensed and some of the potential gotchas that could come up.  In particular the practice of selling a solution that may have a stated capacity but only licensing it for something less than that capacity.

As an example let’s take a situation where a client needs 3TB of Avamar.  There are a couple of ways to accomplish this.  One option could be a replicated 3.3TB single node solution the other could be a 5 node RAIN configuration with 3 active 2TB nodes (6TB of space).  From a growth perspective the RAIN config is much more flexible as you can simply add a node(s) as you grow.  So, to keep costs down we may sell the RAIN solution but only license 3TB initially.  The client can then “enable” the additional 3TB as it is needed.  Sounds reasonable right?  At least I think so.

EMC capacity licensing is really done on an honor system so even though you may purchase 3TB of licensing the system will not stop you from using the additional 3TB of space on the system.  So good news if you’re the client right?  Well……..not exactly.  Let take the same 3TB/6TB example above.  You’ve purchased your Avamar solution and are chugging along for a year or so with your 3TB of capacity, in the meantime the system is really using all 6TB that are physically there.  Finally you are almost out of capacity so you call your reseller to “enable” the additional 3TB of space.  Imagine your surprise when you find out that not only do you need to pay for the 3TB of space you’ve already filled up but you also have to buy more capacity on top of that for growth, plus the cost of additional hardware nodes.  End result = the client is irritated and the vendor looks like a moron.

There has to be a way around this right?  Yes. Yes there is.  There is a way to administratively trick the system into thinking that it is 100% full at 3TB instead of 6TB.  It is a very easy setting to change (so I’m told) but it is often overlooked during implementations.  So what is the setting and how do you change it?  Honestly, I have no flipping clue yet!  🙂   I’ve been doing some research and still haven’t found what I’m looking for so stay tuned until I can get some more technical info for you and post it to the blogosphere.

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