Feature

Big three apps adjust to disk-based backup

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With disk playing a bigger role in backup, the three major enterprise backup programs--EMC's NetWorker, IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager and Symantec's Veritas NetBackup--are undergoing radical changes.

As disk rapidly becomes the preferred initial backup target, vendors of the three big backup programs--EMC Corp.'s NetWorker, IBM Corp.'s Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) and Symantec Corp.'s Veritas NetBackup--are scrambling to enhance and change the focus of their programs. Never before has a shift of such titanic proportions affected the product development of these three dominant players which, until now, have been slow to change.

Of course, the most widely used backup software products have always provided some disk support, but vendors recognize the need for significant product upgrades to take advantage of disk's lower costs and unique restore capabilities (see "

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Product roadmaps"). EMC's forthcoming NetWorker PowerSnap RecoverPoint module enables central management of EMC's continuous data protection (CDP) product; IBM's TSM advanced copy services for Exchange allows users to tap into Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) in Microsoft Exchange environments; while NetBackup's new PureDisk technology adds single-instance storage for remote-office protection (see "Noteworthy new features").

There's no question there will be some major bumps in the road for users as the movement from tape to disk accelerates. And they'll have reason to be wary. Some Symantec NetBackup users have been reluctant to upgrade to Version 6.0 because of the major code revisions. EMC's acquisition of Legato led it to provide more snapshot integration with EMC's storage product lines, but left existing NetWorker users with heterogeneous storage environments out in the cold. And IBM is showing little evidence it will support other vendors' disk storage products.

For example, Steve Shim, director of technical services at Health First, Rockledge, FL, was forced to look beyond IBM's TSM because he found its 24-hour recovery time unacceptable.

This was first published in April 2006

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