VBR 6.5 includes customizable reports, tape drive utilization and throughput reporting, and deeper integration with IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM). The upgrade, which became generally available Feb. 4, will now report on disk-based backup options, such as virtual tape libraries (VTL) and disk backup targets integrated with Symantec software, through its OpenStorage API. Support for those disk-based backup options was first announced with NetBackup 6.5 last June.
"That adds good flexibility for people with enough expertise," according to Lauren Whitehouse, an Enterprise Strategy Group analyst. "But there are some backup operations teams without that skill set, and it might be better for them to be able to go through the VBR interface."
Symantec senior product marketing manager Kristine Mitchell said more granular precanned reports are coming in future releases. Currently, VBR offers precanned reports for Exchange, Oracle and SQL applications.
"The reason we enhanced the SQL query capability is because our users are typically not DBAs and need to be able to treat custom SQL reports just like our 'out of the box' reports and be able to save, export, etc.," added Mitchell in an email to SearchStorage.com.
Other updates include new support for features specific to IBM's TSM, including disk-based storage pools, as well as the reclamation process TSM uses to cycle data through them. Customers can also now track tape drive utilization and throughput rates. Previously, VBR tracked only tape media and whether it was stored off-site or on-site. Veritas Cluster Server is also now compatible with VBR, enabling organizations to make their backup reporting environment highly available.
VBR remains largely separate from NetBackup 6.5, though the two products have a single sign-on and the data backup software contains links that open the VBR interface.
Whitehouse had pointed out this lack of integration on earlier versions of VBR, but said the new TSM support shows that Symantec is positioning the product more broadly than its original version. "[Single sign-on integration] is probably good enough for now, especially since they're trying to report on other vendors' products, like a standalone third-party reporting tool," she said.
However, Mitchell said tighter integration between VBR and NetBackup is on the roadmap. "It's definitely of importance," she said. "It's a priority item moving forward."