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Backup product survey: Cloud and VM integration now table stakes

For enterprise backup, cloud integration and the ability to backup and be deployed in virtual machines as well as be controlled from the hypervisor are table stakes, along with data reduction and app-specific backup

Backup software continues to evolve as technologies emerge and businesses evolve their infrastructures to meet new challenges and address demands and markets.

Cloud integration is now universal, providing deployment on, backup to and recovery from the cloud.

The trend towards increased integration with virtual machines (VMs) is also evident. All suppliers offer the ability to not just run the backup product in a VM as an appliance but also to use the hypervisor’s native services to backup virtual infrastructures.

Technologies such as data deduplication and compression are now table stakes, as is the ability to monitor operations from a single pane of glass as well as application-specific backup and recovery functionality, such as Microsoft Exchange, databases, SAP and, in some cases, industry-specific applications.

We are also seeing increased use of analytics technology to spot trends, improve security and automate scenario modelling.

Commvault v11

While version 10 was known as Simpana, Commvault’s latest software is known as Commvault 11 – however, it maintains a single pane of glass, as seen in previous versions, to give access to all product features.

It offers automated analysis, backup and self-service recovery, snapshots, replication, data deduplication, archiving and data searches across storage in datacentres, desktops, laptops and in the cloud.

Commvault 11 supports all major hypervisors, along with application-specific protection for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, Oracle, DB2 and others.

Major feature changes from v10 are few – Commvault has redesigned its security layer to improve access control and flexibility, as well as to address the needs of mobile users; updated support for a range of third-party systems; and improved the granularity of backup operations.

There are also a number of changes to admin-level features such as alerts and permissions, media, client and data management, many of which aim to add usability.

EMC NetWorker 9.1

Version 9.1 runs on Windows or Linux only, and it introduces a new backup management paradigm. Where previous releases used group-based configurations, version 9.x uses policy-based configurations. This means users can now create universal policies and apply them to clients, VMs and other backup sources.

EMC has also added security features. A new authentication service is designed to improve security by using token-based authentication and single sign-on.

Licences are stored in a single file for all installed products, which could simplify licence management. A restricted-data zone feature provides admins with an additional layer of privilege control that allows users to isolate access to resources and separate these resources into specific groups.

Speed and performance have also been addressed, as block-based backup for Linux platforms enables just blocks in use to be backed up. More parallel data streams are used for backing up to boost performance, and the system can be run as a VMware virtual appliance.

The package also includes a Rest application programming interface (API), allowing automation of backup operations from custom applications.

HPE Data Protector

This snapshot-enabled backup and recovery system for physical and virtual environments provides scalable backup and replication, standardising data protection by using compression and federated data deduplication across locations, applications, formats, storage platforms, operating systems and hypervisors.

Recovery for applications includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SQL, Oracle, SAP, SAP HANA, IBM DB2, Sybase and MySQL. Application owners can self-service search, backup and recover operations.

It integrates with hypervisors VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen, and requires no VM agents. Automated disaster recovery is also available to/from bare metal physical or VMs.

Authorised access via a Rest API enables the enterprise to plug data protection tasks into its own service portals or applications. Cloud integration is native with Microsoft Azure, HPE Helion and, via a gateway, with Amazon S3.

It also offers customisable dashboard reports, root-cause analysis for troubleshooting, and analytics for trends and scenario-based modelling.

IBM Spectrum Protect Extended Edition 7.1.3

IBM Spectrum Protect Extended Edition – once Tivoli Storage Manager – is a data protection platform that offers policy-based management and administration via a single point of control.

It enables tiered backups and recovery for virtual, physical and cloud environments, and provides API-driven cloud backup storage as one tier of backup storage. Other backup tiers include disk, tape, deduplication appliance and object storage.

Features include data deduplication, multi-site replication, incremental backup without the need for additional full backups, a self-service portal for VMware users, snapshot-based backup, hypervisor integration for VMware and Hyper-V, and backup agents for VMware, Exchange and Microsoft SQL.

Policies can drive on-site and off-site retention, and remote replication to enable lower-cost disaster recovery. Automation scripts enable the deployment of backup servers with fewer process steps, and recovery of entire systems or individual items.

The Extended Edition platform offers optional modules for SANs, enterprise applications, email, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and virtual environments.

Nakivo Backup and Replication

Nakivo Backup and Replication uses web-based management to automate backup, and provides a variety of recovery options for both file and VM recovery.

The product supports large and distributed environments with multiple locations. It works as a virtual appliance on Hyper-V or VMware and will use local storage or the cloud – including Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 or Microsoft Azure – as backup targets.

In Nakivo, backups can be deduplicated and compressed. Backup and Replication performs forever-incremental backups, transferring only changed data to the repository.

Up to 1,000 recovery points can be saved per backup; they can be rotated using the GFS backup schema on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly schedules.

The replication feature creates and maintains exact copies of backed-up objects, and VMs thus created can be left switched off until required in a disaster recovery scenario.

Integration includes use of VMware Changed Block Tracking (CBT) to enable fast identification of changed data blocks, along with WAN optimisation to improve RPO and RTO.

Veritas NetBackup 8

NetBackup protects datacentre environments using virtualised and cloud-based backup targets. It supports most server, storage, hypervisor, database, application and cloud platforms, including Windows, Linux, Unix, VMware and Hyper-V. It also offers centralised management and can be automated using a multi-tier architecture.

Application support for backup and recovery includes IBM DB2, Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Oracle, SAP, and others.

Backup service integration includes snapshot, replication and NDMP storage systems from EMC, HP, Hitachi, IBM, NetApp and others. Cloud providers supported include AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and SwiftStack. Features include the backup of changed blocks only, replication and snapshots.

The system can be managed from a single pane of glass that uses graphical elements to help identify items such as tape drive utilisation, success rates and unprotected area.

It also provides contextual reporting based on line-of-business, geography, or application across a heterogeneous environment, as well as long-term trending and analysis, so users can predict backup storage consumption by tracking growth rates over time, both pre- and post-deduplication.

Unitrends Backup Software

Unitrend Backup Software runs as a virtual appliance that offers integrated backup, replication, deduplication, archive and recovery, deployable either on-prem on VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V or Citrix XenServer, or on Microsoft Azure or AWS cloud platforms.

The product backs up to cloud services including Unitrends Cloud, Microsoft Azure and AWS S3; Unitrends’ own cloud service offers long-term off-site retention.

It will backup Windows and other physical servers, virtual machines and servers in the public cloud, and can be managed from a single pane of glass.

Built-in compliance reporting automatically tests and compares recovery actuals against RPOs and RTOs, and includes a disaster recovery test that creates reports and statistics showing how an outage would affect business continuity, and how much data the business might lose.

Unitrends’ data deduplication technology works inline and globally, is content-aware, and can adapt dynamically based on the data’s content and the reduction possible for that data.

Security features include ransomware protection via machine learning and predictive analytics to detect ransomware infections, allowing users to restore immediately and stop ransomware spreading. Additionally, the backup appliances run on a hardened version of Linux.

Veeam Availability Suite 9

The product aims to protect and manage VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments, offering fast recovery, data-loss avoidance, verified recoverability and complete visibility.

The latest version adds a range of features, including the ability to backup using snapshots from HPE, NetApp, EMC and Nimble arrays; and the ability to migrate VMs, physical servers and endpoints into Microsoft Azure.

It also includes more support for and integration into Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V, including integration with Resilient Change Tracking (RCT) for backups and restores, and support for Hyper-V hosts installed on Nano Server and Storage Spaces Direct. Self-service backup is also available for tenants of VMware vCloud Director.

The company claims that Availability Suite enables recovery time objectives of under 15 minutes, data protection using replication, WAN acceleration, and native tape support.

It also offers the ability to test changes before committing them, and includes monitoring and alerting tools providing problem alerts and visibility into backup environments, including VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V infrastructures.

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