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Upgraded software enhances Sepaton backup appliance for NetBackup, TSM

Upgraded software enables Sepaton flagship backup appliance to work better with Symantec NetBackup and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM).

Sepaton today released upgraded software, allowing its largest virtual tape library to work better with Symantec NetBackup and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager software.

Sepaton launched the S2100-E3 2925 backup appliance in March, but today upgraded its software to version 7.1 with better support for the two most common backup software applications used by the company's clients. The new software also supports Sepaton's key management support.

The virtual tape library (VTL) now supports Symantec NetBackup OpenStorage (OST) over Fibre Channel (FC) to go with its previous support of OST over IP. The addition of FC support for OST lets customers use NetBackup OST over 8 Gbps FC, Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) or 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10 GigE). Customers can back up over FC and Ethernet simultaneously over different nodes through Sepaton support of OST Automated Image Replication (AIR), which enables replication over multiple links.

Sepaton Director of Marketing Eric Silva said some customers back up over FC on one node and Ethernet on another, using FC during times of day when Ethernet networks are busier. He said FC is still the most commonly used protocol for Sepaton, followed by OST.

Symantec OST is an API that backup device vendors can use to better communicate with the backup software for improved performance.

On the Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) front, Sepaton has qualified Gresham EDT 10 software that optimizes tape resource allocation when used with TSM. Gresham EDT provides features such as HBA load balancing, data path failover and the ability to virtually pool tape libraries and drives.

Silva said Gresham software can now recognize a Sepaton S2100-E3 2925 virtual tape drive in minutes with TSM. Previously, it could take more than a full work day to set up more than 100 drives manually with TSM.

Silva said NetBackup is the most commonly used backup software among Sepaton customers and TSM is second.

Sepaton added encryption of data at rest with version 7.0 of its software and added support for SafeNet KeySecure 6.3 enterprise key management in its 7.1 software. Sepaton already supported RSA and Thales key management.

Sepaton's encryption is Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP)-compliant. Silva said encryption support is critical for customers in financial services and health care who protect sensitive customer and patient records.

"We don't use any self-encryption drives or software-based encryption," he said. "We can encrypt any data type that Sepaton can ingest with zero performance penalty for encryption."

Sepaton out to prove VTLs still have their place

Although Sepaton has only a tiny piece of the disk backup market, it fills a need for FC VTLs in enterprises, according to IDC Data Protection Research Director Robert Amatruda. Most other disk backup appliances -- EMC's Data Domain is the main player -- are used primarily with NAS interfaces and aren't designed for the largest enterprises.

Sepaton is a survivor of the early disk backup days when VTLs were developed to ease the transition from tape by reading and writing data to the disk using the same processes as tape backup.

"There is still a robust market for VTL because tape infrastructure is still prevalent in midsize and large companies," Amatruda said. "People are still using tape infrastructure, but there is not a lot of investment going on there. Companies want to use disk-based systems to augment their tape."

While Sepaton has never been able to seriously threaten Data Domain's overall dominance in disk backup, it still has a place among the largest enterprises.

"What Sepaton brings to the table is a highly scalable multi-node architecture and improved performance," Amatruda said. "It addresses a customer need out there."

Silva said the trend of combining backup software and media servers with disk on an integrated appliance hasn't hit the enterprise.

"That's more of a midrange and SMB play," he said. "In the enterprise they need performance and scalability. With those [integrated] appliances, customers have to manage all of them separately. There's lots of sprawl."

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