EMC tailors data protection products for app admins

EMC wants to make its data protection products -- including Data Domain, Avamar, NetWorker, Vplex -- more appealing to non-backup administrators.

EMC today added features across all of its major data protection products in the second phase of its strategy to provide backup for non-backup administrators. While no new major products were added in today's launch, there were upgrades to Data Domain, Avamar, NetWorker, Mozy, Vplex and RecoverPoint.

The additions are the next step in the strategy EMC first laid out last year to enable virtual administrators and database administrators to handle backup for their applications, as well as to provide Data Protection as a Service in private and public cloud scenarios.

"We want to empower not only backup administrators to do their jobs better, but we also want to empower application administrators, virtualization administrators, and storage administrators to consume data protection," said Rob Emsley, senior director of marketing for EMC's data protection products. "As we go forward, backup needs to move to data protection. But over time, data protection needs to move to data management."

Data Domain adds cloud, archiving and enterprise app support

EMC rolled out a new Data Domain operating system that includes multi-tenancy for cloud deployments, support for a billion files to bolster its archiving capabilities, and Data Domain Boost (DD Boost) for Enterprise Applications. DD Boost, which speeds backups by offloading part of the deduplication process to servers, now natively supports Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, SAP and SAP HANA. DD Boost has supported Oracle RMAN since 2012.

"Application owners and storage administrators can use this to take data protection into their own hands," Emsley said.

The Data Domain OS also includes the ability to isolate data and restrict read and write access to data on Data Domain appliances. It allows admins to manage and monitor data on a per-tenant basis. The multi-tenant features were added for cloud deployments.

The file-archiving capabilities continue EMC's move down the path of making Data Domain a platform for archiving data, as well as a pure backup target. Emsley said the billion-file feature will help customers with 200 TB to 300 TB of archive data. Previously, EMC recommended a 100,000 file limit for Data Domain appliances.

EMC now refers to Data Domain as "protection storage," as it pushes the appliances for more than just backup.

"EMC's notion of protection storage is: 'Data Domain for everyone. Data Domain is more than just a backup repository,'" said Dave Russell, analyst for storage technologies and strategies at IT research group for Gartner Inc.

NetWorker handles NAS snapshots, Avamar plugs into vCloud

New features in EMC Data Protection Suite (Avamar, NetWorker, Mozy, Data Protection Advisor and SourceOne) include snapshot management for network-attached storage (NAS) arrays in NetWorker, an Avamar plug-in for VMware vCloud Director, a NetWorker plug-in for Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and Linux support and enhanced security for Mozy public cloud backup.

EMC last year added snapshot support in NetWorker for its SAN arrays, and is expanding that with support for its Isilon and VNX storage, as well as NetApp NAS arrays. Competitors CommVault, Symantec, Asigra and Catalogic also have NetApp snapshot management in their data protection software.

The Avamar vCloud Director plug-in enables vCloud administrators to map data repositories to Avamar or Data Domain appliances.

The new security for Mozy includes key encryption for Mozy Sync and federated Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) support. EMC is also adding custom settings to ensure HIPAA compliance in Mozy. These new features, along with Linux support, were added to help gain more enterprise adoption for the cloud backup service.

Vplex and RecoverPoint allow three-site protection

EMC launched Vplex Virtual Edition, which allows customers to use the high-availability product as a software appliance. EMC also added integration between Vplex and RecoverPoint to provide remote replication to a third site when Vplex is deployed in two data centers.

The RecoverPoint integration is part of Vplex's new MetroPoint topology that keeps both sites active at the same time. If either site goes down, the other site operates normally. This allows customers to have disaster recovery with one copy of data protected with continuous data protection (CDP) at both active sites.

"Up until MetroPoint, customers had a blind spot because RecoverPoint could only replicate from either site A or site B. If one of those sites became unavailable, that site could not replicate," Emsley said.

Emsley said the Vplex virtual appliance will help bring the product into midrange organizations. Until now, Vplex has been used by large enterprises. Customers can use Vplex to provide availability between two data centers or stand up Vplex in the cloud to protect on-premises data.

The Vplex Virtual Edition and new features are expected to be available by the end of June.

Progress, but still no full Avamar-NetWorker integration

Dave Simpson, senior storage analyst at 451 Research, said EMC is following the lead of Veeam Software by going after non-traditional backup administrators. "That's a smart move," Simpson said. "EMC owns the storage admin guys already, so why not branch out to the VMware administrators and database administrators who are making the decisions? Oracle admins and VMware admins have a lot to say about the backup they're going to use."

The biggest knock on EMC's data protection is that it requires too many products. EMC claims Avamar and DataDomain are integrated, but they remain separate products. And EMC's Data Protection Suite includes two distinct on-premises backup software products -- Avamar and NetWorker -- although the vendor is taking steps to merge them.

Gartner's Russell said EMC deserves credit for moving towards integration, but it is difficult to merge products with different code bases.

"It's still a little bit of the glass is half empty," Russell said. "Complete convergence between Avamar and NetWorker, as far as the interface and back end, is still not complete. They're chipping away on the roadmap. The common agent work is done, but the rest is still a work in progress. But if it were a simple matter, it would be done. They're two completely different products."

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