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CommVault expands backup snapshots across storage arrays

CommVault launches IntelliSnap Connect program, making it easier for support storage arrays for its SnapProtect backup snapshot technology.

CommVault is improving its backup snapshot technology by integrating its SnapProtect product with storage arrays. The backup software vendor today officially launched its IntelliSnap Connect Program, an open development program that allows vendors to integrate CommVault’s SnapProtect module with storage arrays.

The program consists of a development kit and an open set of APIs. CommVault executives said Dell, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and NetApp fully integrated their arrays with SnapProtect as part of the program. XIO and Nimble Storage are integrating their arrays with CommVault’s snapshots. CommVault moved to broaden support further by writing to the open API snap interfaces for arrays from EMC, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

CommVault claims its backup snapshots are integrated with nine of the 10 leading storage arrays, missing only support for IBM’s DS8000. SnapProtect does support the DS8000 when the array is used with IBM’s SAN Volume Controller (SVC) storage virtualization system.

Array-based snapshots are usually included with the array’s operating system and are often supported only by software sold by the storage hardware.

CommVault added the ability to integrate SnapProtect with array-based snapshots with Simpana 9, released in late 2010. SnapProtect handles Simpana’s reporting, scheduling, indexing and cataloging of array-based snapshots. CommVault offers greater integration for vendors that take part in the IntelliSnap program – for instance, NetApp uses CommVault’s SnapProtect to move replicated data to tape.

The integration with the arrays saves customers from having to write custom scripts to get full benefits of array-based snapshots, CommVault VP of marketing and business development Dave West said. He also using the array is the most efficient method of snapshotting, although it can require heavy license and maintenance fees.

“We see a need to fundamentally change the way systems and applications are protected,” West said. “The old approach of moving all data through the server and back out through the storage is not going to work. Servers don’t have the time or processing power left, especially as they’ve been virtualized and run at 100 percent utilization. And networks don’t have the bandwidth left. The only way to change this is through array-based snapshots.”

Dave Russell, Gartner’s research VP for storage, said CommVault goes beyond other backup snapshot applications in “breadth and depth.” He said backup software sold by array vendors lack broad support for competitors’ storage systems. Software vendor Symantec supports array-based snapshots, but Russell said Symantec has not updated its support for the latest arrays. Russell said it is likely that Symantec will improve its snapshot integration with its next NetBackup release.

Russell said along with CommVault’s support for the latest arrays, it is integrating object cataloging for those arrays to make it easier to find objects inside the snapshots.

“The real value is CommVault is eliminating the need for scripting and specialized administrative work, and it’s offering the ability to individually catalog objects,” Russell said. “The problem with a snapshot is it’s like finding a needle in a haystack if you don’t know what you’re looking for. People will mount a snapshot and say to an administrator or end user, ‘now you go find what you’re looking for.’”

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