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EMC Combines Replication and Backup Reporting

Backup and replication technologies merged again on Monday when EMC updated its backup monitoring and analysis tool, Data Protection Advisor (DPA). Acquired in 2008 with the WysDM acquisition, Data Protection Advisor (then known as Backup Advisor) was focused on monitoring backup processes. However, EMC has continued to expand Advisor's capabilities, adding NAS device support (SAN was already provided), virtual tape libraries (VTL), tape, deduplication and now in version 5.5, enhanced virtualization and support for EMC replication technologies.

The result is a cross-platform, data-protection governance tool that lets data center managers monitor backup applications along with replication technologies in physical and virtual environments. "EMC is starting to actually integrate the products they've added to their portfolio through acquisitions over the years," says Howard Marks, president of and analyst for InformationWeek Analytics. "It's a good thing to see all of your data protection status information on one pane of glass." More specifically the new version of Advisor adds support for:

  • Replication software on EMC's Symmetrix and Clariion storage arrays, to provide a map of application clients, arrays, devices and replicas, identifying what is working and where replication gaps exist
  • EMC RecoverPoint, for better insight into replication configuration and performance
  • VMware with vCenter Server integration, providing backup monitoring, alerting and reporting for individual virtual machines and ESX servers
  • Unified deduplication reporting that provides a unified view of dedupe ratios across EMC Data Domain, Avamar and NetWorker backup solutions
  • Graphical mapping of EMC Celerra Replicator software relationships, helping customers ensure performance and maintain high availability requirements.

Overall, the DPA changes should improve organizational compliance and reduce risk for data exposure. Operational efficiencies will also be improved by being able to identify resource utilization. Knowing how the underlying equipment is being used will put IT in a better position to charge departments for those services.

With that said,  a major thrust behind DPA is knowing whether organization can recover their replicas. Similar capabilities are already provided by other vendors, such as Continuity Software with its disaster recovery management solution. Virtualization support is also available in other environments. Aptare expanded its StorageConsole in April, adding the resource management for VMware and replication management to NetApp environments.

In June, Tek-Tools Inc, enhanced its VMware capabilities. Numerous backup vendors have also added reporting capabilities including CA ARCserve, CommVault Simpana, EMC NetWorker, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and Symantec Corp. Veritas NetBackup.

Ultimately though providing all of those capabilities in a single package is what will appeal to large data center providers. That it will lead to further lock-in for EMC products is an inconvenience that many will be willing to accept.
DPA pricing starts at $3,000 for 20 clients with replication licensed separately based on platform and configuration - for example, replication pricing for Symmetrix starts at $346 per terabyte.