EMC Corp. today announced the general availability of EMC NetWorker 7.6 SPI with integrated support for Data Domain Boost (previously pre-announced at EMC World), along with several new capabilities such as data dedupe, simplified cloning, checkpoint restart and a capacity-based licensing model so customers can purchase the NetWorker backup application based on the amount of source data protected.
At EMC World, the company had unveiled software that speeds data backups by offloading part of the data dedupe processing to the backup server. Sold as a software option, Data Domain Boost supported Symantec Corp.'s NetBackup and Backup Exec backup software. EMC's NetWorker is now integrated with Data Domain Boost, which EMC executives claim can improve performance by 50%. Like Symantec's OpenStorage API, Data Domain Boost integrates the target deduplication device with the backup software, but goes the extra step of offloading processing to the server.
Previously, the deduplication process was done entirely in the Data Domain appliance, but part of the process is now done in the NetWorker media server, making the backup server more efficient.
"It's a clever piece of software that speeds up your deduping process," said Mike Fisch, senior contributing analyst at The Clipper Group. "It does some deduping on the backup server by asking the Data Domain appliance which data parts are new. It's up to 50% faster and that's significant. It's done through software; there's no extra hardware involved."
As part of the tighter integration between Data Domain and NetWorker, EMC also announced a more simplified replication management capability, in which users can manage Data Domain Replicator for scheduling and visibility of all backups through the NetWorker Management Console. Management of backup can be done at both the primary and secondary locations, and the IT manager can create separate retention polices for the primary and secondary locations from a single pane of glass.
"Before this, the customer couldn't track the configuration of any replication within the Data Domain system," said Rob Emsley, senior director of EMC's Storage Division. "With this announcement, the customer can control all the replication."
EMC also introduced a new wizard to improve discovery and configuration of Data Domain systems. Customers can get status reports of Data Domain systems without going into another management console.
Another EMC NetWorker backup software capability unveiled is a simplified cloning device that eliminates the need for users to write scripts when they want to implement different scheduling between primary and secondary sites. For instance, if a user wants to set different incremental and full backups for the primary vs. the secondary sites, it can be done via the NetWorker management console. Bottom line: Users get better control of backup scheduling without the need for scripts.
Scott Heffner, network operations manager at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, plans to upgrade to EMC Networker 7.6 SPI with Data Domain Boost within the next two weeks. His organization uses tape for archiving, they back up to disk and then clone to tape. For his staff, the best part of NetWorker is the new script cloning feature that will allow them to clone without writing scripts. "That the cloning itself doesn't require scripts is great," Heffner said. "Before, you needed programming skills and now you don't. We clone disk to tape but the process to review it was manual. But now we don't need to write scripts and review log files."
Finally, EMC is providing a checkpoint restart functionality that allows customers to restart a backup from the point of failure if an interruption occurs rather than having to restart the backup job from the beginning. And a new capacity-based license model means customers can purchase NetWorker based on the amount of source data protected rather than having to buy a license for each server that needs protection. EMC isn't the only company to adopt this new pricing model. Symantec had done it, IBM is contemplating it and EMC has pulled the trigger, said Lauren Whitehouse, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.
"Server virtualization is breaking up the licensing model," Whitehouse said. "Now, because of virtualization, you can have an infinite number of servers. People are thinking differently, like how much capacity do I need? How much data do I need to back up?"
For EMC NetWorker users who wish to leverage the new support of Data Domain, U.S. list pricing for NetWorker Data Domain Device Type starts at $9,590.