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Catalogic attempts to tame copy data sprawl for NetApp customers

Catalogic Software digs deeper into NetApp products with its cataloging and copy data software, but what about all the other storage out there?

LAS VEGAS -- NetApp-focused data protection vendor Catalogic Software today launched ECX Instant Copy Data Management for NetApp and VMware shops.

Catalogic unveiled the product during NetApp's annual Insight North America partner conference in Las Vegas. The ECX platform is agentless software that is downloaded as a virtual appliance. It creates an index and catalog of copy data in NetApp storage across physical, virtual and cloud environments.

ECX Instant Copy Data Management is an expansion of the ECX Enterprise Catalog software launched last year by Syncsort. That product launch came days before Catalogic Software spun out of Syncsort to form a separate data protection company.

Catalogic CEO Ed Walsh said ECX Instant Copy Data Management addresses "copy data deluge" by identifying copies with multiple use cases for instantly mountable recovery.

"Primary storage is growing linearly year to year, which is hard enough in itself to keep up with," Walsh said. "But the real cost of storage is the growth of copy data, which is increasing geometrically. Businesses need copies of data for resiliency and other uses, but the key is making the right replicas. We leverage your existing NetApp storage and show you how to look at it and take control of it."

Catalogic also sells a DPX platform for integrating backup and recovery, tape backup, disaster recovery and bare-metal backup in NetApp, VMware and Oracle.

Catalogic expands cataloging, tightens NetApp integration

Catalogic said it is shipping ECX plug-ins for NetApp's Clustered Data OnTap, OnTap-7 mode and its new Cloud OnTap storage. It also has plug-ins for VMware hypervisors. ECX Instant Copy integrates with NetApp SnapManager, SnapVault and SnapMirror snapshot software, and VMware snapshot technologies.

It builds on Catalogic's tight integration with NetApp by expanding cataloging capabilities. ECX sifts through multiple versions of a data object and creates one secondary copy as the root of a directory tree. Additional copies of that data file can be generated from a set of writable or read-only snapshots. Catalogic lists enterprise backup, big data analytics, disaster recovery, and testing and development as potential workloads.

ECX catalogs objects across controllers and locations and presents them in a searchable MongoDB database. It consists of a drag-and-drop management console, a search engine based on open source Apache Lucene Core technology, and an intelligent workflow engine.

Using a standard API, a storage administrator can search for files, mirrors, scripts, snapshots, snapped clones and volumes across NetApp storage. The search function identifies the location of copy data, its lineage and protection status, the number of recovery points, scheduled testing or cataloging, and potential reuse cases. Resources can be added to the catalog by entering its IP address and the corresponding administrative password.

Catalogic's Closed Loop Automated Workflow (CLAW) engine separates copies that require replicas from those that could be cleaned up or eliminated. The drag-and-drop interface lets users select a specific LUN or an entire data center running NetApp or VMware storage. CLAW includes push-button tools for configurability and testing to automate scripting and creation of protection policies.

Sprawling copy data presents major headache

The rise of virtualization and cloud storage has contributed to the proliferation of data copies within enterprises, said George Crump, president of IT analyst firm Storage Switzerland.

"The legitimate reasons you keep extra copies of data are significant," he said. "If you could manage all those copies through a single process and cut down on the number of copies as well, your payback could be significant."

According to a report by research firm IDC, The Copy Data Problem: An Order of Magnitude Analysis, businesses spent a combined $44 billion in 2013 to protect unnecessary copy data.

Catalogic's close integration with NetApp presents a strategic opportunity as well as a challenge, Crump said.

"It's a good thing if I'm a NetApp customer, but if I'm not a NetApp shop, it's going to be little bit more challenging" for Catalogic to sell to.

Catalogic also has to pay attention to fast-growing competitors such as Actifio, Crump said.

Catalogic's Walsh said the product roadmap includes plug-ins for other storage arrays, although he declined to provide specifics.

Next Steps

Syncsort becomes Catalogic

Veeam supports NetApp snapshots

Dig Deeper on Backup and recovery software

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