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Ease into Archiving through Backup

Look to your backup vendor for archiving

Whether you are building out your archive storage because you must comply with federal regulations, or simply because you believe it's the right thing to do, it may make sense to explore what your backup software vendor has to offer for archival software.

The biggest advantage your backup software vendor may have over an independent archive software vendor is that they already support your storage environment. For example, Veritas' Data Lifecycle Manager (DLM) shares the same media manager as its NetBackup and Backup Exec products, says Jeff Lundberg, Veritas senior product marketing manager for Data Lifecycle Manager.

Chris Van Wagoner, director of product marketing for CommVault Systems, says that CommVault's Galaxy backup suite and DataArchiver solutions go further: They can share the same secondary storage resources, down to the individual tape cartridge. Not so if you choose an archiving product separate from your backup vendor; you'll probably have to partition your tape or optical library into separate subsystems.

Another benefit you may get from going down the backup software road to archival is the ability to utilize existing backup data to populate an archive. In other words, "there's no need to go out and dupe a massive tape library," Lundberg explains. Veritas DLM supports this feature now, he says, and CommVault DataArchiver will in the fall.

But make no mistake, sharing resources doesn't mean sharing data formats and files. A backup data store and an archival store are two separate entities, even if they are managed by a central system. In part, that's because the aim of backup and archival are different, says Jim Geronaitis, Computer Associates' vice president of product marketing for BrightStor. "Typically, you want to archive to a robotic device that is nearline and accessible." Backup, on the other hand, "is truly a data protection scheme that you want shipped off site."

Similarly, CommVault specifies separate data stores for its HSM product DataMigrator and DataArchiver, because HSM data is designed to be brought back writable by the originating application, whereas archival data is designed to be brought back as read-only and "off to the side, in a special place where people can do investigative work on it," says Van Wagoner.

Backup and archival software can have a lot in common, but there is a lot that separates them as well. Today, Veritas' DLM and backup do not share the same servers, nor do they share client-side agents. That is a goal going forward, though, says Lundberg. "The intent is definitely to have a single agent doing the data gathering and copying in a single sweep," he says. What you want, he says, is "an integrated backup and archival solution," which is more stable, and has fewer redundant copies. "There's just no substitute for that level of integration."

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