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VTL gets a boost from backup apps

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"We actually would be happy to do deeper integrations with the whole [VTL] ecosystem, because it really is about customer choice out there," says Dan Cobb, CTO of EMC's Information Management Software Group. "It's going to depend, I think, on the view of the VTL vendors," he adds.

As for IBM, Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has long included native backup-to-disk capabilities. "They [IBM] actually have deduplication capabilities built into TSM; they've just never called them that," says Lauren Whitehouse, analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, Milford, MA.

Further integration with third-party VTLs isn't part of IBM's strategy, at least, not in the short term. "Other than deduplication, the real value proposition to deploying VTLs is more a storage infrastructure simplification in the customer's shop, as opposed to a deep integration play with TSM at this point," says Colin Dawson, TSM server architect at IBM.

It's too early to tell whether backup apps will eventually encroach on the VTL market by offering more competing functionality, to the point where the convenience and usefulness of the VTL might be threatened.

"They [VTLs] have to continue to innovate, to add value and to get stickiness with their accounts so they're not cut out," says Whitehouse. "The backup vendors are ultimately going to decide what's best to happen in their application and what's best to leave to something else."

--Trina MacDonald

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This was first published in August 2007

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