Enterprise backup embraces VMs and cloud, but lags on mobile

We survey enterprise backup products and find the top five tightly meshed with hypervisors and integrated with cloud, but lacking mobile device support

We live in an age of virtualisation, of rapidly proliferating devices and the growth of the cloud. From the point of view of enterprise backup that means many more sources of data and more potential targets.

Backup software follows, rather than leads, such developments. In the five enterprise backup software products surveyed here, tighter integration with hypervisors is a clear trend, with the ability to manage backups, restores and other operations from VMware a new feature in many of these products.

This tighter integration goes further in some cases – in Symantec NetBackup, for example – by leveraging VMware's changed block tracking to cut the time it takes to create a system image.

Meanwhile, in all the products Computer Weekly focuses on here, new versions released in 2013 have added or boosted support for the cloud.

Mobile device support is, however, conspicuous by its absence in most of these products.

All the enterprise backup software products studied have taken the opportunity to update compatibility with new versions of enterprise applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2013.

CommVault Simpana 10 

Launched in February 2013, Simpana 10 introduced a single pane of glass graphical workflow process to view, manage and access all functions and data. It also introduced global data deduplication and self-service restores from mobile devices.

New features also include web-based user self-service; snapshot support for applications; converged backup, archiving and reporting for Microsoft Exchange; customisable web-based reporting and cloud-based analytics; and multi-tenancy protection, self-service operations and chargeback.

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

Mobile device-specific features include source deduplication, encryption of data in transit and bandwidth throttling. Targets include disk, tape and the cloud, with data stored in a central repository with a single index.

Simpana 10 supports Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vCenter and vCloud Director, and provides customised discovery rules to include or exclude virtual machines (VMs) based on affinity rules for datastores, resource pools, VM names and others.

Application-specific protection is provided for Microsoft Exchange Server, SharePoint, SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, and Lotus Notes, with recovery for individual tables, databases or entire applications.

Reporting features include live dashboard views that display storage utilisation and success rates, historical operations data for status reporting, trend analysis and best practice comparisons. It can also report on chargeback and service level agreement (SLA) attainment.

For compliance purposes, it can collect and search data with the results placed into legal hold for data preservation.

EMC Networker 8.1 

Launched in July 2013, 8.1 adds snapshot management for its VMAX and VNX arrays and RecoverPoint replication software with a wizard-based user interface (UI), plus auto-discovery and automated assignment of snapshot storage and added DD Boost data deduplication over Fibre Channel.

It can also now back up to the cloud using EMC Mozy. Integration with Active Directory allows Networker to use existing user accounts. New storage pools reduce storage quota management.

Networker offers wizard-driven backup and granular recovery down to file level and snapshots to targets including disk, tape and cloud.

The package is modular, with separate licences available for database and application support, including DB2, Informix, Lotus, MySQL, Oracle, and Sybase. A Microsoft module adds application support for Exchange, Hyper-V, SQL Server, and SharePoint, and there is an SAP with Oracle module. Hypervisor support includes Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.

Integration with VMware vCenter enables auto-discovery of virtualised environments. The vSphere Web Client enables VMware self-service image backup and recovery, as well as vSphere reporting. A new web-based recovery user interface enables file level recovery for Windows and Linux environments for administrators and others with system privileges.

Licensing can be either traditional or capacity-based. The former is based on features and backup targets such as snapshot, disk and tape, and is aimed at smaller environments but with over 250GB per client. Capacity-based licensing is more suitable for large numbers of clients – either physical or virtual – but typically with less than 250GB per client, and unlocks more advanced features such as data deduplication, application support and VTL backup.

HP Data Protector 8 

Released in June 2013, Data Protector 8 can run up to 100,000 sessions daily, manage up to one trillion file names, support up to 50,000 clients, and deliver up to 144TB/hour data throughput, with bandwidth throttling available for low-bandwidth circumstances.

It offers a single point of management and control for data deduplication, snapshots, backup and recovery, and supports virtualised remote office environments.

Virtual machines can now be restored as new instances without overwriting the existing VM, and snapshots can be backed up to HP's 3PAR StoreServ storage systems.

Data Protector 8 provides bare metal recovery to virtual or physical servers with no system image needed. It will back up to HP Autonomy's cloud, as well as to disk and tape, and includes protection of Microsoft Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, SQL Server, and Oracle.

It supports backup and recovery, snapshots and replication support for VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen, with automated, policy-based integration with VMware vCenter and vDirector; single items can be retrieved by VMware admins with sufficient privileges. The web-based management console enables self-service recovery.

Operating system (OS) support includes HP-UX, Windows, Solaris, Tru64, OpenVMS, NetWare, Linux, and AIX.

Licensing is either traditional, based on features and backup targets (such as snapshot, disk and tape), or capacity-based.

IBM Tivoli Storage Manager 7.1 

Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) is a modular platform that can be bought in a variety of pre-packaged, solution bundles.

The latest version, launched in October 2013, enables a daily ingest of deduplicated and replicated data up to 10 times greater than previous versions, so IBM claims. 

It also boasts support for Microsoft Exchange 2013; improved responsiveness of the mailbox restore browser; full VMware VM instant access, recovery and restore verification; item level recovery for Microsoft Exchange Server from a VM backup, database-level recovery for Microsoft SQL Server from a VM backup, and recovery of VMware VM domain controllers hosting Microsoft Active Directory; support for VMware vCloud Director Tenant vApps; and additional status and application coverage reporting of VMware environments in the management GUI

The TSM operations console offers improved visibility for server diagnostics. It can co-locate virtual machine backups by group to optimise tape usage, and offers a more granular retention policy and management of VMs.

Clients supported range from laptops to mainframes, with protection available for any physical or virtual device.

Symantec NetBackup version 

Released in June 2013, this maintenance release includes bug fixes, a new date and time range feature for backups and restores, plus support for clients on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

Tighter integration with hypervisors is a clear trend in enterprise backup software, with the ability to manage backups, restores and other operations from VMware a new feature in many products

There is new support for Hyper-V 2012, and for new versions of applications such as Microsoft Exchange 2013, DB2 10.1, and SharePoint 2013. NetBackup now uses VMware's changed block tracking to allow a full image backup in the time it takes to complete an incremental backup – a 35x performance boost, the supplier claims.

The new Replication Director for VMware feature enables control of management and recovery of array-based snapshots and replicated snapshots, and VMware vCloud Director support is now included. NetBackup now automatically discovers Oracle instances requiring backup and deploys the appropriate policies to protect them.

The product can back up and restore physical machines, and virtual machines from Microsoft and VMware, with granularity from the individual file to entire volumes, as well as databases. Other hypervisors supported include HP-UX Integrity VM, IBM VIO Server, and Solaris.

Other features include data deduplication, snapshots and replication, recovery from disk, tape, snapshot or the cloud. NetBackup can be managed globally using a single console, with management features including the ability to backup and restore, search for backups down to individual files within image backups.

Licensing can be based on either the OS type and the specification of the physical machine, or capacity-based, which depends on the amount of data being backed up.

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