Tools to fine-tune your backups


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Support for replicas, snapshots and clones. Triggered by snapshot and replication features in storage arrays, disk-based data protection adoption has proliferated and DPRM tools are playing catch up. In many environments, snapshots and replicas are eventually backed up to tape, but "what good is a backup report that shows a successful backup to tape of a replica if the replica itself has problems?" asks Yishay Yovel, VP of marketing and product management at Illuminator. Today, Illuminator Virtual Recovery Engine has the broadest and deepest data protection reporting support for EMC Symmetrix arrays and NetApp filers, abstracting physical copy information from all data protection systems to report on available recovery points for hosts, apps, file systems and their state. Both WysDM for Backups and Tek-Tools' BackupProfiler report on NetApp snapshots and mirrors, although they lack the reporting depth of the Illuminator product.

Exposure analysis and recoverability. Proving recoverability and having provisions in place to detect unprotected data assets has been the focus of compliance audits, especially Sarbanes-Oxley. Backups need to be complete and consistent to be recoverable; a simple "job succeeded" doesn't suffice unless it implies completeness and consistency. To take this a step further, estimating recovery time helps storage managers live up to their advertised recovery time objectives (RTOs).

Service-level compliance and risk and gap

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analysis are the focus of Symantec's Veritas Backup Reporter. "The backup of an app like SAP may consist of different backup policies for the application, database and files; for the backup to be successful, all related jobs must succeed to claim success," says Erica Antony, principal product manager at Symantec. "Veritas Backup Reporter correlates related backup policies and takes a holistic approach when assessing the success of backups."

Aptare, Illuminator and Tek-Tools also concentrate on exposure analysis and recoverability. "We're comparing hosts in the backup policies with the actual backup and discovering clients that aren't backed up, as well as unprotected volumes and mount points of partially protected clients," says Aptare's Clark.

Business-centric reporting. Aligning storage with business objectives is part of all DPRM tools. Topping the list are compliance reports, triggered mainly by audit requirements of public companies. "Data protection in audits is all about proving that you follow defined policies and that you take [the] best effort to be recoverable," says Nancy Hurley, Bocada's VP of marketing and business development. "Bocada Enterprise 4 maintains all relevant information and delivers the evidence required during audits," she says. Besides compliance, reports on service-level management, cost-management, chargeback and billing are finding their way into DPRM tools.

This was first published in July 2007

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