In an effort to simplify the use of its different backup and recovery products, Veritas Software Corp., Mountain View, Calif., has introduced a new tool that manages NetBackup and Backup Exec from one console. The tool also adds a new level of reporting aimed at advancing the idea of utility computing.
Additionally, Veritas announced new versions of its top software products, with speedier backup-and-recovery performance numbers and more support for low-cost disk platforms, plus a new tool for archiving and data retention.
One application to manage all others
Veritas' newest product is CommandCentral Service 3.5, an "umbrella management tool" that integrates with Veritas' existing backup and recovery technology to allow administrators to create logical resource groupings, define services, measure service levels and allocate costs based upon usage.
CommandCentral combines with NetBackup and Backup Exec software to track backup and recovery job details and policy, error and media information from Veritas and third-party data protection software. Veritas said that, initially, the product will support applications like Tivoli Storage Manager and Legato products. Support for more vendors' tools will be added in the future.
CommandCentral also produces up to 75 reports that allow business and IT users to track service-level performance and resource utilization by department, geography and application. A new chargeback feature allows users to define and allocate costs for storage across departments.
"What this thing really does is it take less of an infrastructure view of your infrastructure and more of a business view," said Veritas' chief marketing officer, Jeremy Burton.
Burton said that, while the added reporting capabilities don't improve the performance of backups, they do serve a critical purpose. "I've seen this [business-level reporting] tool being used to communicate the relative importance of backups and help articulate what it is that's required to guarantee a service level," he said.
"Infrastructure guys are under pressure today to be more accountable, be more aligned with the business needs, and there hasn't been software to support them," he added.
Dianne McAdam, senior analyst and partner at Data Mobility Group Inc., Nashua, N.H., said that the integration of multiple products under the CommandCentral Service is a big deal.
"In the past, their products were isolated and did not integrate well with other Veritas products. Veritas has made a major initiative to get the products to work well together and report to the same database," McAdam said. "Prior versions of the products would maintain their own separate databases, which made it difficult, if not impossible, to share statistics and information for reporting purposes."
The CommandCentral Service offers a "single pane of glass" through which users can manage different Veritas software applications from one console.
Mike Fisch, director of storage and networking for the Wellesley, Mass.-based Clipper Group Inc., said, "What jumps out to me is that Veritas is taking another incremental step toward utility computing with CommandCentral Service. It's their management platform for delivering storage as a service, instead of as a box, which is where the industry is headed."
Steve Kenniston, a technology analyst at Enterprise Storage Group Inc., Milford, Mass., also sees Veritas products becoming more strategic: "Veritas is one of the first companies who is taking data protection and moving it toward a true service-level agreement, which is where IT wants to go, but they don't know how to get there with all the products they have."
The CommandCentral Service 3.5 software is available now for a starting price of $22,000.
New versions of NetBackup and Backup Exec
Veritas also announced the release of NetBackup 5.0 software and Backup Exec 9.1 for Windows Servers. These new versions work in tandem with the CommandCentral Service software to enable backup and recovery as a "utility," combining advanced data protection with service-level delivery and reporting. The company said a new feature, dubbed the Desktop and Laptop Option (previously known as Project Shadow), will protect critical data residing on PCs and laptops at the periphery of enterprise computing.
Veritas touted NetBackup 5.0 as faster than previous versions of the software, a feat achieved through the use of synthetic backups, a method of restoring data faster, without the need to conduct a full backup by melding many smaller backups into one. This helps reduce recovery time and tape media usage, according to Veritas.
NetBackup 5.0 also now offers support for a number of low-cost disk platforms to bolster its presence in the disk-based backup market. Supporting AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris and Windows, the NetBackup 5.0 software -- including the new Desktop and Laptop Option -- will be available in December 2003. Pricing starts at $5,000. The NetBackup 5.0 Desktop and Laptop Option starts at $2,500.
Veritas enters information life cycle management fray
Finally, Veritas has jumped on the compliance bandwagon with Data Lifecycle Manager 5.0, which also plugs into NetBackup 5.0 to help organizations meet regulatory requirements for data management across different types of storage media.
Veritas said the software automates the placement and management of data in virtual archives that can span online, nearline and offline storage media types, according to user-defined policies. Data Lifecycle Manager also features an automated search-and-index technology that reduces the time needed to retrieve electronic records.
The real difference between Veritas' compliance product and competing software may be its ability to index and archive any data that has already been backed up to tape using NetBackup. Data Lifecycle Manager sweeps historical information into its archives by automatically indexing and archiving existing NetBackup software tapes.
"[Veritas] has developed a very sophisticated search engine to search archived records. This engine can search, for example, archived e-mail by sender's name, recipient's name or subject field," McAdam said.
The software is designed to handle e-mail and file archiving in Microsoft Exchange and NTFS formats. Data Lifecycle Manager is scheduled for general availability during the first quarter of 2004.
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