Feature

Hands-On Review: CommVault QiNetix

Ezine

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Backup job summary report:

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Quick stats from summary report: QiNetix generates a summary report that provides a quick look at how backup operations fared.

Performance and features
Due to limitations inherent in a test environment, we couldn't scale the product to the hundreds or thousands of devices found in many large environments. However, the architecture of QiNetix follows the highly successful design of CommVault's Galaxy B/R product. That is, when a configuration becomes too cumbersome, it can be split into smaller, more manageable subgroups. Centralized management isn't sacrificed, as information from all sub-groups can be rolled up to a single master console.

QiNetix shouldn't be compared to general-purpose SRM products, nor should it be compared to B/R job-reporting tools. QiNetix actually falls somewhere between these two categories. Given the tight integration with Galaxy, IT organizations probably wouldn't consider a standalone implementation of QiNetix. QiNetix and Galaxy should be considered a B/R suite, and be compared to these types of suites.

Although QiNetix isn't as extensive as full-featured SRM products, it generates a tremendous amount of useful B/R information. For example, it generates reports about the speed and completion of backups, alerting administrators to jobs falling outside the backup window. It also provides reports about holes in the backup operation to identify vulnerabilities and risks of unprotected data. It provides this information in almost any configuration or combination of storage devices.

Rating the product
In rating the product, we focused on these aspects:

  • Ease of use. Recognizing that a learning curve applies to the product, we found it to be quite easy to use after working with it. When deviating from the scenario the designers clearly expected, error messages weren't useful and working through problems wasn't always easy. Following CommVault's implementation recipe should avoid most problems, so we rate the product "very good" for ease of use.
  • Breadth of features. QiNetix offers much more than most B/R products alone. Although some general-purpose SRM tools offer as much (or more) backup-related data, SRM products tend to be much more difficult to deploy. We'd like to see more features in QiNetix aimed at improving media usage (e.g., tape utilization percentage), and therefore give it a "good" rating for breadth of features.
  • Improve organizational efficiency. What QiNetix does, it does very well. The architecture is scalable and understandable. We especially like the cohesion of the product architecture. QiNetix will almost certainly make a storage administrator's life easier and more productive. In this regard, we give the product a "very good" rating.
  • Recommendations
    B/R is the low-hanging fruit for reducing storage costs and improving operations. Nevertheless, this "fruit" is surprisingly difficult to pick. In many cases, IT organizations don't have the tools necessary to identify and focus on the most important areas. Organizations may be well advised to take a fresh look at their B/R environment as a whole, and CommVault is worth checking out when they do.

    This was first published in January 2005

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