Backup Vendors Roll Out Upgrades

CommVault and Arkeia tout data de-duplication and virtualization

January 27, 2009

3 Min Read
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In what is expected to be the first in a wave of upgrades from storage backup vendors, CommVault Systems Inc. and Arkeia Corp. this week introduced new versions of their data management and backup applications with a host of new features. CommVault added global embedded data de-duplication to a new release of its Simpana software that works with all tiers of disk and tape. Arkeia added support for virtual servers to its Network Backup Suite.

IT managers should expect to see more frequent revisions and upgrade from storage backup and archiving vendors, says Lauren Whitehouse, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) to create point-and-click recovery points from any storage tier. CommVault plans to integrate with Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) in the future.

The enhancements will help CommVault to better compete with major backup vendors like EMC and Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), says analyst Whitehouse. "CommVault has figured out a way to de-dupe to tape. I don't know of anyone else who is doing that," she says. "Tape is an integral part of the data protection strategy at many companies. They have a lot of investment in tape and they aren't willing to walk away from that."

Eric Burgener, a senior analyst with Taneja Group , agrees. "There are several technologies that should be part and parcel of a comprehensive data protection and backup solution, like replication and de-duplication and continuous data protection," he says. "CommVault is one of the first to have a pretty complete offering that's integrated to manage data throughout its entire lifecycle through a common management interface."

Arkeia introduced an upgrade to its Network Backup suite that includes bundles of agents for backing up virtual machines, starting with an agent for VMware ESX and soon agents for hypervisors from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Xen. The company backup server also can now be combined with Linux, a pre-configured virtual tape library and agents, and be deployed as a virtual appliance. "Virtualization is the big disrupter in the industry," says Arkeia CEO William Evans. "Our ESX agent will take snapshots and let customers back up all of the virtual machines running on a single hypervisor. And by delivering our backup server as a virtual appliance, a customer can select his own hardware with VMware running on it and simply install our solution." He says Arkeia is the first to bundle a backup application with its own operating system as a virtual appliance.Performance is enhanced through the use of the virtual appliance, he says, because it lets customers do backup over the SAN and not the LAN. "You can use SAN storage for staging and connection to tape devices," Evans says. Arkeia's permits customers to license the backup application as software only and later switch to a virtual appliance license. "You can also mix and match and replicate backup sets among all three, and use centralized management for all of it." He argues that Arkeia offers "90 percent of functionality" of the well-known vendors "at 40 percent of the cost."

Arkeia is not well known, but has a feature-rich disk-to-disk product, says analyst Whitehouse. She noted that the vendor has repackaged and renamed its products, is trying to draw attention to its pricing policies for bundles of agents, and has taken an interesting approach to backing up virtual servers. "When customers move from physical to virtual servers, they often have to buy more agents for backup. Instead of putting an agent in every virtual machine, you can put an agent in the hypervisor instead." she says. "It is a different approach and done in a way that works with VMware."

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