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Major Product Features
IBM Tivoli Storage Manager
Backs up mainframe and open systems through one product.
Manages and migrates between many tape and disk media types.
Veritas NetBackup DataCenter

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of the data backup streams to the tape media, speeding up the backup process.
Offers the latest storage technologies as optional offerings such as bare metal restore, shared storage option for SANs and NDMP for NAS.
The newest 4.5 release offers a Global Data Manager option that enables a view of the enterprise from a single console.
CA BrightStor Enterprise Backup
Data staging capability that moves data to secondary location such as disk before migrating off to tape.
Enables cross platform device and media sharing to allow storing both Windows and Unix data on the same media.
CommVault Galaxy
Writes backups to disk via random access, as opposed to sequentially to capitalize on disk's strength in random access.
Offers policy-based management features that allow administrators to manage and apply policies for each media resource.
Views all backup media from a logical view as universal storage resources as opposed to physical devices.
Legato Networker
Real-time data replication for Windows servers without the use of specialized or proprietary hardware.
Enables block-level image snaps for large files using NDMP on Sun and HP-UX systems.

The downsides
Any effective medicine comes with its side effects, and backup software is no exception. Large organizations usually own a smattering of backup software products: a little Veritas NetBackup, some Tivoli Storage Manager and a dose of Legato Networker. As a result, only the most basic backup and restore features get utilized. Because it takes a long time to get to know the ins and outs of complicated software, the more advanced features and the corresponding savings they offer end up being overlooked or underutilized by the administrators responsible for managing this array of products.

David Liff, VP of storage solutions at CA, points out that the quality of data varies greatly from platform to platform. CA found that 85% of the data in the mainframe environment and 65% in the Unix environment meet its definition of quality data. Yet in the Windows environment, only 10% to 15% of data meet this definition. While obviously these percentages won't hold true in all environments, they highlight an important point: Not all data is created equal and the degree of effort and money spent on backing up these different qualities of data should not be viewed the same either. To address these data management challenges, new tools and techniques are appearing on the scene to meet users' needs in these environments.

New treatments
CA took a stab at making its products easier to use by borrowing an idea popularized by Microsoft, the time-tested wizard. CA includes wizards in its Enterprise Backup product allowing administrators to set up and schedule backups, restores, check job status and device management operations easily and quickly.

Other software companies are making products that help manage a mixed environment of software products. For example, Fujitsu Softek's Storage Manager provides a single policy-based interface permitting the administrator to define the backup needs for each application or server. Once defined, Storage Manager generates the scripts to start the backup process, regardless of the backup software product used.

These scripts enable functions ranging from setting up a simple midnight start time backup to more complex operations such as pausing a database, taking a volume level snapshot, resyncing the database and then starting the backup. This software alleviates one of the difficulties existing in backup environments today: the requirement for administrators to write and test specialized scripts to support these different backup software functions.

Currently, Storage Manager interacts with Legato's Networker--which it OEMs--but their next release due in mid-2003 is scheduled to provide this functionality for Veritas' NetBackup, Tivoli's Storage Manager and CA's BrightStor Enterprise Backup from one interface.

This was first published in March 2003

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