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Catalogic adds new version of copy data management app

Version 2.0 release follows October soft launch and proofs of concept with NetApp storage customers; Catalogic roadmap includes integration in more storage arrays

Catalogic Software this week made the second version of its instant copy data management application generally available, and the vendor pledged to broaden support beyond NetApp arrays and VMware.

ECX Instant Copy Data Management 2.0 is an agentless platform to help manage snapshots and provide instant recovery of NetApp storage and VMware virtual machines.

Catalogic previewed the ECX technology in October and made it available to users through an early access program.

Catalogic CEO Ed Walsh said the product's roadmap includes extensible plug-ins for storage on EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and Nimble Storage, but gave no time frame for those additions.

The 2.0 release supports storage with NetApp's Clustered Data OnTap operating system, OnTap 7 Mode and NetApp Cloud OnTap and includes plug-ins for VMware virtual machines.

ECX Instant Copy Data Management is downloaded as a virtual appliance and installs an index and automation layer atop NetApp's array-based snapshot technology. ECX software intelligence catalogs backup copies across physical, virtual and cloud storage, listing the number of recovery points and which ones were accessed most recently.

Hospital uses ECX in early access to get 'quality control' over backups

Hendrick Health System in Abilene, Texas, is one of eight early access customers using the new version of the Catalogic software. Jonathan Stinson, Hendrick's storage administrator, said the ECX platform provided "quality control" as it reduced the number of backup copies.

"The cataloging aspect is helpful in telling us what is consuming our NetApp storage. Without that component, we would have to go into each server and run some sort of tool to scan the entire file system," Stinson said.

Stinson said Hendrick Health has hundreds of terabytes of production storage that it mirrors to a nearby replication site. It uses a NetApp FAS 3210 and IBM XIV Storage System to manage sets of medical records. Stinson said the goal is to use Catalogic's point-in-time snapshots to cut recovery point objectives to two hours, compared with an average of 24 hours presently.

"One of the things we really like about Catalogic is they don't reinvent the wheel. They leverage the snapshot capabilities that are built into the NetApp array. Catalogic replicates our entire [production] system and does the snapshots, based on the schedules that we define," Stinson said.

Analysts: Catalogic needs to integrate with other storage platforms

ECX sifts through multiple versions of a data object and creates one secondary copy as the root of a directory tree. Additional copies of data are generated from writable or read-only snapshots. A drag-and-drop workflow engine lets users schedule multiple snapshots, locations or vaults for specific virtual machines or LUNs.

Enterprise backup, big data analytics, disaster recovery, and testing and development are viewed as potential application workloads. ECX enables instant recovery by allowing NetApp users to create a copy of a FlexClone snapshot as a CIFS or NFS share.

ECX Instant Copy Data Management is an expansion of the ECX Enterprise Catalog software launched by Syncsort, which spun out Catalogic Software as a separate company in 2013.

Customers can also use the ECX catalog to search for files, see how many versions of a file exist and see which snapshots contain a file. The ECX search tool also provides a link to access the file as a CIFS or NFS share.

"We give you the needle, not the haystack," Catalogic's Walsh said.

Instead of requiring users to move storage to their RAID stack as some backup vendors do, ECX takes existing storage and layers software intelligence at the array and hypervisor level, said Brian Garrett, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group.

"Having copy data management software that works with your existing storage assets is their big differentiator. Catalogic has a much richer and mature catalog capabilities. This is the part of the copy-data management market that really hasn't been addressed yet," Garrett said.

George Crump, president of IT analyst firm Storage Switzerland, said Catalogic should be able to tap into NetApp's extensive installed base and methodically integrate the ECX Instant Copy Data Management tool in other vendors' storage arrays.

"Expanding beyond NetApp is clearly on their radar screen. It would not surprise me if Catalogic added Nimble and IBM by the end of the year, and maybe even Hitachi Data Systems," Crump said.

The Catalogic ECX Instant Copy Data Management is available from NetApp resellers. Pricing starts at $5,000 per controller.

Next Steps

Catalogic looks to tame copy data sprawl for NetApp customers

Syncsort data protection morphs into Catalogic

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I would prefer the latest version of the catalogic software because it is not limited to supporting NetApps and VMware alone like its earlier versions.
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