As we discussed a few weeks ago, you can certainly argue that snapshots, when combined with replication, could serve as an adequate backup system. My biggest objection was that snapshots lack the catalog that conventional backup applications build as they back up data. Commvault's SnapProtect fills that gap by providing catalogs and a management console for snapshots across a variety of arrays and other snapshot providers.
SnapProtect integrates Commvault's Simpana backup with the snapshot capabilities of most midrange and enterprise disk arrays or even CommVault's own software provider. With SnapProtect, you can schedule snapshots through the Simpana backup console.
When your backup schedule calls for a snapshot, Simpana calls the Commvault VSS provider, for Windows servers, and the snapshot API for your disk array to create an application consistent snapshot. Application consistent snaps are also supported for Oracle and on several Linux distributions and Unix flavors with the usual scripting.
The Simpana backup server then mounts the snapshot, runs the database integrity check you may have specified and catalogs the snapshot. From that point on, you can restore files, or Exchange objects like e-mail messages, through the Simpana console from the snapshot just as if it were a conventional backup but without having to actually copy the data off your disk array.
When you decide to actually copy your data off your primary array for longer-term retention, Simpana backup with SnapProtect can use any of the snapshots you've created as its data source. Like VMware vStorage API backups, this process offloads the backup load from the source server and your data center LAN since the Simpana media server mounts the snapshot across the SAN and copies the data to whatever backup repository you decide to use.