Actifio takes copy data out-of-band for critical apps

Actifio, which manages copy data for improved data protection, adds out-of-band support for applications, such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL.

Actifio has built new features into its copy data management platform that include out-of-band support for business-critical applications, self-service provisioning for database administrators for faster test and development workflows, and the ability to monitor and manage service-level agreements from mobile devices.

"We are adding a whole new set of use cases," said Andrew Gilman, Actifio's senior director of global marketing.

The Actifio copy data software creates virtual copies of data so it can be placed in any location and used for multiple purposes.

The platform works on the application level and Actifio 6.0 has added out-of-band support for AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, IBM iSeries, Microsoft Exchange/Exchange Clusters, Microsoft SQL Server/SQL Cluster and SAP. It previously had out-of-band support for VMware, Oracle and Microsoft Windows.

"We want to give our users a choice of how they use the platform," Gilman said. "Before we supported these applications in-band, but we're adding advanced API integration for out-of-band support."

Actifio supports most enterprise applications in-band, but the out-of-band support will give it more ability to push into the enterprise. Many enterprises resist placing software from a startup in the data path in their production environments.

"Before, they didn't have the option to expand out-of-band," said Ashish Nadkarni, IDC's research director for storage systems. "Keep in mind, only a certain set of people are amenable to in-band solutions. It has the potential to be disruptive to a lot of things in your environment. It introduces complexity. You have to uninstall the drive stack on servers. You have to reconfigure your storage and change the zones on your switches."

The latest Actifio version, which includes the out-of-band capability, has deeper support for many business-level applications. It has enhanced support for Microsoft SQL Server to include the ability to fully handle transaction logs for point-in-time recovery and automatic discovery of SQL Server clusters. The software also automatically discovers Microsoft Exchange Database Availability Group (DAG) configurations. It can map volumes to all nodes in VMware ESX Cluster when mounting virtual machine volumes so tools such as VMware vMotion, Ditstributed Resource Scheduler and high availability operate more smoothly.

The 6.0 version also added support for additional storage arrays, including Hitachi Data Systems HUS, IBM San Volume Controller and Nexsan storage.

The self-provisioning for database administrators (DBA) allows them to streamline the workflow process for test and development. Usually, DBAs have to go through a line of other administrators to provision data.

Self-service allows for faster provisioning of test instances, as well as LiveClone and LiveClone Layers.

"By the time the data gets to the developer, it is already out of sync with the products," Gilman said. "We have virtualized the workflow process so the time is cut from four to six weeks, to minutes. We enable DBAs to work off the production level copy with zero product impact."

Actifio's Gilman said 6.0 can be managed from smartphones and tablets.

Gilman said 6.0 allows for monitoring SLAs, and Actifio plans to add the ability to find, manage, protect, access and copy data from tablets in the next version of the tablet app.

The product is generally available now and it is priced based on capacity and licensing.

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