Asigra said it recompiled its flagship Asigra DS Client software for the CentOS and Ubuntu operating systems, the two Linux flavors supported by the open source Docker Inc. runtime container engine. DS Client is installed on a physical server, virtual machine or LAN to provide end-to-end data protection.
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The Docker support is expected in Asigra Cloud Backup 13, scheduled for general availability by the end of March. Cloud Backup is sold through cloud and managed service providers. Asigra does not sell directly to end users.
Service providers will be able to deploy Asigra for Docker at customer data centers, or to back up containerized data to public cloud storage. A second use case involves mounting Docker containers to launch external backup storage devices.
Docker support available to partners, end users
Asigra partners and end users can upgrade to version 13 with Docker support without additional licensing fees, said Eran Farajun, Asigra executive vice president. New customer pricing starts at 15 to 20 cents per gigabyte per month, depending on the assigned service level agreement.
Farajun said organizations do not have a great need for Docker backup support yet, but he expects that will change as the technology gains acceptance.
"Although Docker technology is fairly young now, and there is a limited amount of data you can store inside a container, we're making a bet that adoption will increase as container storage capacity grows. We believe we are the first backup vendor to announce support for backing up Docker containers," he said.
He said Asigra's agentless approach provides an advantage over backup applications that install agents. "They would have to write a new backup agent that could run inside Docker containers," Farajun said.
Containers offer an adjunct to virtual machines for backing up storage. Virtual machines (VMs) support applications by running a guest copy of the host operating system (OS). Large VM farms require dozens, perhaps hundreds, of guest OS copies that need to be backed up, protected and replicated.
Containers package applications and their libraries with a shared operating system, which proponents say eliminates concerns over underlying storage dependencies when testing and deploying new applications.
Momentum for storage containerization is building gradually, and experts say the technology could experience rapid uptake as competition intensifies. Docker containers primarily are associated with various flavors of Linux, although Microsoft said its next release of Windows Server slated for mid-2015 will enable customers to create Docker containers for running applications on premises or in Azure cloud storage.
Google created the Google Container Engine for Docker containers running in Google Cloud Platform, while Linux distributor CoreOS in December unveiled a prototype of its Rocket command-line management tool for the AppContainer runtime mechanism.
Cloud services provider plans to set up testing lab for Docker support
Cloud services provider Yotta280 Inc. is an Asigra beta customer for DS Client version 13 and plans to set up a Docker testing lab to support its midmarket and enterprise customers. CEO Terry Fields said it gives his firm a first-mover advantage.
"More and more prospects and customers are asking us how to back up their storage inside containers. Asigra allows us to be a thought leader as their Docker experiments gain momentum, which we believe eventually, will turn into adoption momentum," Fields said.
In addition to Docker support, Asigra's v13 release will add Office 365 protection and enhances data center and endpoint protection capabilities. Jason Buffington, a senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, said the next iteration marks a logical progression in the company's evolution.
"Asigra has been innovating since before backup as a service was even a term or the cloud was a trusted commodity, so it shouldn't surprise folks to see them continue to seek out how customers' data protection needs are changing," Buffington said.
Where container technology fits with the cloud
Build a harmonious relationship between Docker containers, virtualization