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How is the backup software market evolving?

Backup software vendors are beginning to bolster their products with cloud backups and hypervisor integration. See what other backup trends are catching on.

One of the biggest trends in the backup software market right now is that of using the public cloud to improve backup scalability. Enterprise environments are finding that data has grown exponentially in recent years, and the trend is forecast to continue. As such, many organizations are finding that it is becoming increasingly impractical to try to scale on-premises storage in an effort to accommodate backup growth. Instead, backup vendors are encouraging backups to the public cloud.

Public cloud backups are nothing new, but what is new is that backup vendors have begun supplying connectors that allow the backup software to link directly to various public clouds. Furthermore, these connectors are sometimes certified for compatibility.

Some vendors in the backup software market go beyond using the cloud as a backup target and, instead, use the public cloud as a tool for implementing disaster recovery as a service. Veeam, for example, performs image-based replication to the public cloud with the goal of enabling cloud-based disaster recovery. The software allows for full or partial site failover and full or partial site failback. Veeam even provides a mechanism for performing site failover testing without disrupting production workloads.

Another trend in the backup software market is vendors offering deeper integration with both hypervisor and virtualization management tools. Veritas recently added support for protecting VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes. Veritas has also built an extension to the VMware vSphere Web Client that exposes backup and self-service recovery capabilities from within the native hypervisor management console. Similar capabilities also exist for Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

Vendors in the backup software market are also building a greater degree of automation into their software. Over the last couple of years, one of the major goals for many IT shops has been data center agility. Agility provides administrators with the ability to dynamically deploy new workloads on an as-needed basis.

While such capabilities provide tremendous benefits to business units, agility greatly complicates the backup process because new resources are being created and deleted all the time. Some backup vendors have begun creating automation engines that are able to automatically detect the creation of resources, such as databases or virtual machines, so that those resources can be protected.

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