Archive and backup snuggle up

The drive toward better data management for DR and compliance purposes is forcing vendors to look at combining backup and archiving products.

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In the past, storage administrators turned to standalone solutions for their respective backup and archive demands. But today's corporate storage environment, heavy on data retention/retrieval demands and coupled with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other compliance concerns, means that storage users seek more streamlined, integrated solutions for their backup and archive needs.

Greg Schulz, senior analyst with the Denver-based Evaluator Group, believes that the integration of archive and backup is essential right now in the corporate storage arena from both simplification and cost-savings perspectives, "as well as to address specific issues around data protection, data retention and compliance."

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According to Schulz, key players headed toward, or now offering, the integration of archive and backup products include the major storage vendors IBM/Tivoli, EMC Corp./Legato, Symantec Corp./Veritas, and Computer Associates International Inc., among others. "There are some startups that are approaching things more from a continuous data protection ( CDP) standpoint, or from an archiving and data migration standpoint (under the [information lifecycle management] ILM banner)," he said. "STK [Storage Technology Corp.] is doing some things with their IntelliStor solutions, including partnering with independent software and hardware vendors."

In addition, Symantec (Veritas) offers NetBackup 6.0, the result of a recent development effort with Network Appliance Inc. With this product, storage administrators can catalog all of their company's backup copies of data. It allows for the management and recovery of systems across UNIX, Windows and Linux environments. For archive needs, this product has been integrated with the company's Enterprise Vault 6.0, designed for records retention and management.

Pegasus Disk Technologies Inc, San Ramon, Calif., offers Pegasus, the certified media manager for Symantec/Veritas' NetBackup and Enterprise Vault products. Enterprise Vault also offers removable ultra-density optical media from Plasmon. "We've seen a significant up tick in users looking to add write once, read many to traditional backup systems and copy off that subset of data that is critical archive or regulated data to safe off-line-able, secure media," said Pegasus president Roy Slicker. "There are so many new regulations and users are really having a difficult time keeping up. It boils down to the rush to comply, store everything and make sure it's on secure media."

Dianne McAdam, senior analyst and partner with the Data Mobility Group in Newton, Mass., said some organizations accomplish integration by "backing up the data then archiving some of the data based on policies that have been defined." McAdam adds that such integration of backup and archive functions is beneficial because "you only have to deal with one vendor and the process is automated."

Brian Babineau, research analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) notes that even when the solutions are integrated, it's still important for users and storage managers to comprehend the differences between backup and archive functions. "Backup equals restore," Babineau said. "I want to back data up quickly so I do not lose valuable information. Archive equals longer term retrieve."

Today's integration of backup and archive functions indicates a significant shift toward the future of enterprise-wide storage management. "The reason customers need backup and archival systems integration is that they don't need and can't afford to have two separate processes," ESG's Babineau said. "Backup can be the first step in the archival process. Once data is off a primary system or server, it can be moved anywhere. Customers may want to keep one copy on disk to resource from, another copy in a data warehouse archiving for marketing purposes, and another copy may be sent to a tape system and carried offsite. The concept is move once, use many," he said.

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