Startup focuses on tracking data backups

Startup software vendor Bocada has attracted some high-profile customers, including Philip Morris and Reader's Digest, with an...

Startup software vendor Bocada has attracted some high-profile customers, including Philip Morris and Reader's Digest, with an application designed to address the relatively high failure rate of data backups.

Bocada last week released an upgrade of its BackupReport Suite, which includes modules that support diagnostics, trending, audits and user chargebacks related to backup procedures. The software stores backup details in a Microsoft SQL Server database and offers storage administrators graphical overviews of their backup environments.

BackupReport 2.0 adds tape libraries and IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager software to the repertoire of storage systems it can track. It can pull backup information from tape devices to help IT managers "understand what tapes are still available for backup, what data is on them and what data can be deleted," said Bocada chief executive officer Mark Silverman.

According to Bob Zimmerman, an analyst at Giga Information Group, about 25% of all backups fail because of network complexity and interoperability issues. Storage management vendors such as IBM, Veritas and Legato Systems also offer backup tracking capabilities, but Bocada's product provides more functionality, Zimmerman said.

Reader's Digest could not find enough time to back up hundreds of servers to two direct-attached tape libraries or track how long the process took.

"We had servers in the 500GB range that took 28 hours to back up," said Adam Ladd, senior desktop analyst at Reader's Digest. "That's just a terrible system."

Earlier this year, Ladd negotiated with his tape library vendor StorageTek to develop customised software to address the problem. However, he was concerned that it would only be a temporary fix and that his team would not be able to manage it on its own. StorageTek suggested that Reader's Digest instead try BackupReport.

Reader's Digest began piloting the product last spring. Ladd said the software provided a dashboard view of completed and failed backups and information about how long the procedures take to run. That information helped IT administrators modify and improve scheduling.

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