Backup Reporting Tools Become DPM

Companies use backup reporting as starting point for broad but diverse set of tools

August 21, 2007

5 Min Read
Network Computing logo

What used to be called backup reporting is morphing into something more elegantly termed data protection management (DPM). But instead of unifying a specific roster of features and functions, the move to DPM is producing an expanding boutique of specialized products.

Today, for instance, backup reporting specialist Aptare, which started life as a services company back in the early '90s, unveiled the addition of capacity management to its StorageConsole software.

Up to now, StorageConsole has produced reports on the status of backup environments supported by EMC Legato Networker, Symantec's Veritas Netbackup, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, and earlier versions of Symantec's Backup Exec. With this release, Aptare has expanded the list to include HP Data Protector and Symantec Backup Exec 11d. (See Symantec Supports Exchange '07, Aptare Tackles Capacity Management, Big Bytes Finalists Named, Big Bytes Winners Named, SAN Software Takes Center Stage, HDS to Work With Aptare, Overdue Backup for Backup and Who Makes What Updated.)

Now, the vendor can also produce reports on primary disk array usage, as well as the backup environment. "We can show you what percentage of storage is free and allocate it in the array," says Richard Clark, the Aptare CEO.

StorageConsole can also list which departments are exceeding their allocated storage. (See Qualcomm.) "One of the biggest challenges is working out who has got what," says Tony Wessells, Aptare's vice president of worldwide marketing. "Customers can put a reclamation policy in place to take capacity back from users and abusers."Clark says StorageConsole 6.5 uses the SMI-S protocol and array vendors' APIs to collate information on storage capacity in a package-integral Oracle 10G database. So far, it works with EMC Clariion, Symmetrix, and DMX systems, as well as HDS arrays. The vendor will be adding support for HP and IBM gear in the fourth quarter of this year, according to Clark. (See CyOptics Unveils InP Modulator and And the Winner Is....)

Pricing for the capacity management-enabled StorageConsole starts at $20,000 for 50 Tbytes. The backup-only version of the product is priced at $15,000 for 50 clients. Storage Console 6.5 will be available at the end of next month.

Aptare can't name any customers using its capacity management product, though it claims to have around 4.

Aptare faces a growing roster of competitors that includes Agite, Bocada, Illuminator, Monosphere, Onaro, Servergraph, Tek-Tools, and WysDM, to name a few. (See WysDM Enhances Software, WysDM Seals 100th Customer, Onaro, NetApp Enter Deal, Onaro Adds New Storage Views, MonoSphere Teams With EMC, and MonoSphere Beefs Up.)

Like Aptare, each of these suppliers supports a growing roster of backup packages, like Netbackup or Tivoli Storage Manager. And though some, like Onaro, are branching into capacity management and other SRM areas, most offer specialized features and functions that supplement, but don't comprise a full SRM menu.Startup Agite, for instance, offers backup reporting similar to Aptare's, though with an emphasis on performance of disk, VTL, and tape libraries. The self-funded company claims its software has proven that tape drives in use today typically run at one third of their rated capacity at half their stated throughput. "We provide a layer on top of backup applications, which historically have been pretty poor on reporting metrics that administrators really want," says Vaughn Liley, VP of sales for Agite.

Liley's helping spearhead Agite's recent push into North America after successfully installing its DPM wares, named BackupVISUAL, for a claimed 200 takers, mostly in Europe. These include several government agencies in Switzerland, the Swiss branch of GlaxoSmithKline AG, the toolmaker Hilti, and others listed on the vendor's Website.

Like Aptare, Agite claims to support an agentless approach because users view the data in a Web-based interface to a server that can be hosted by Agite or at the customer's site. (Like Aptare, Agite too started life as a consultancy.) Agite's software is offered typically for $25,000; hosted service at about $1,250 a month.

In this vein, Aptare CEO Clark says that around 20 managed services firms are signed up to offer StorageConsole 6.5 as as a hosted solution, but only two of these, Glasshouse and FusionStorm, have been made public.

Whether to adopt an on-site package or a hosted service is just one of the choices customers face in weeding through an increasingly diverse series of DPM wares. And since most come from small vendors, the challenge is increased."The products are all very different," says W. Curtis Preston, VP of data protection at GlassHouse Technologies, which, as noted, offers Aptare-based services. He suggests looking at the basic packages a product supports, its architecture, the database it uses, its level of automation, and its impact on security and the rest of the storage or IT infrastructure.

"Do you have any requirements, like monitoring multiple remote offices and/or a data center?" Preston asks. "Find out how data gets back to a central point in order to form reports."

"Data protection management tools have evolved from basic reporting to include reporting on additional data- and storage-related resources," says Greg Schulz of the StorageIO Group. "You need to know what you are looking for, first and foremost. Do you need something to simply tell you if your backups are running OK or not, and some info about what resources are being used for backups? Or are you looking to actively manage data protection beyond backup? What issues and pain points are you looking to address?"

As this segment continues to expand, it will be interesting to see the various directions taken by backup reporting vendors as they look to expand their reach and usefulness.

  • Aptare Inc.

  • Bocada Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • GlassHouse Technologies Inc.

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Illuminator Inc.

  • MonoSphere Inc.

  • Onaro Inc.

  • ServerGraph Inc.

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Tek-Tools Inc.

  • The StorageIO Group

  • WysDM Software Inc.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights