Hot Spots: A new level of backup reporting


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The EMC-branded WysDM technology is delivered as EMC Backup Advisor and is bolstered by EMC's worldwide sales, services and support. For example, EMC successfully leverages Backup Advisor in its backup/recovery/archiving assessments. Backup Advisor is differentiated by its support for the EMC Disk Library, enabling virtual tape library disk capacity and utilization reporting.

Servergraph, acquired by Rocket Software, is well-known for its niche support of IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM). Servergraph has since expanded its backup app coverage to include EMC NetWorker, CA ARCserve Backup and Symantec Veritas NetBackup. The product excels with its slick graphical monitoring, self-healing capabilities and optional data center-ready appliance delivery.

Similar to Servergraph's initial single-vendor focus, Aptare's StorageConsole originally concentrated on Symantec's Veritas NetBackup. The company added support for TSM, EMC's NetWorker and Avamar, Symantec's Backup Exec and Veritas NetBackup PureDisk, CommVault Simpana and Hewlett-Packard Data Protector. The company's partnership with Hitachi Data Systems broadens its opportunities, and its new capacity management solution--providing monitoring and reporting for primary storage capacity and utilization--delivers new depth to the company's StorageConsole platform.

Tek-Tools' Profiler provides more depth than any of its competitors

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in this category, reporting on server, storage, application and backup components (although most of its customers rely on the backup reporting module). Similar to a storage resource management solution, but smaller in scale, Profiler is appealing to midsized organizations with a need for end-to-end real-time and historical resource reporting.

Symantec, with its Veritas Backup Reporter, has the distinction, like EMC, of being a backup software provider that has a reporting solution for its systems as well as its competition. Introduced last year, Veritas Backup Reporter made an impressive debut with support for top-tier backup apps. It collects data on backup processes, systems, platforms and devices, aggregating and storing the information in a relational database. It offers hundreds of out-of-the-box reports and a report wizard to extract and manipulate data.

Key features
The architecture of a backup reporting app has two important components: data collection and how that data is stored. Backup reporting tools automatically gather data on backup operations by scanning the backup app's database and error log, typically enabled by the backup ISV's APIs and oftentimes by reverse-engineering. A few use agents--small footprint code distributed on servers or devices--to collect data. An agent architecture spreads the workload and operates in the background continuously or on a schedule. Most products have an agentless approach, eliminating the need to install and manage agents on targeted servers and devices. Backup reporting vendors support a few different relational databases, and nearly all rely on users to supply them (i.e., purchase a license). Aptare includes an embedded Oracle database and Tek-Tools leverages open-source MySQL, which is reflected in the price of both vendors' solutions.

This was first published in February 2008

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