NetApp Guards Against Oracle Data Corruption

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2005-01-24

Network Appliance Inc. is developing a new data management product to help users avoid the disruptions caused by data corruption between Oracle Corp. databases and modular storage environments.

Early next month, NetApp will unveil SnapValidator, its new Data OnTap 7G platform software offering designed to ensure end-to-end validation of Oracle database blocks for data integrity supporting storage area networks, IP SANs and NAS (network-attached storage) before data is written to NetApp unified storage environments, said Phil Brotherton, senior director of the database business unit for the Sunnyvale, Calif., company.

SnapValidator is designed to follow in step with guidelines from Oracles HARD (Hardware Assisted Resilient Data) Initiative to halt data corruption before it occurs. The product features built-in database I/O awareness to help eliminate application errors that could overwrite data blocks onto disk and cut down on the human error of copying data onto inappropriate storage resources, said Brotherton.

Although other large-scale storage vendors offer HARD-certified products—such as IBMs Shark Enterprise Storage Server or EMC Corp.s Double Checksum for Oracle on Symmetrix—to ease data corruption, SnapValidator is driving the functionality deeper into lower-end storage enterprise architectures, said Juan Loaiza, vice president of systems technologies for Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

"NetApp is interesting because theyre moving this into mainstream modular storage," said Loaiza. "The people that care the most [about data corruption] are people with the most critical databases, but theres no reason why people who cant afford the million-dollar storage device shouldnt get this."

SnapValidator is available as a separate license for Data OnTap 7G and ranges in price from $1,000 to $10,000. Customers can use OnTap 7G with GFiler to extend the software to non-NetApp devices.

The need for products such as SnapValidator is mounting as database customers increasingly lose data during rebuilds and recovery, said Gartner Inc. analyst Bob Passmore in Stamford, Conn.

"The further you go up the software stack in terms of people involved, the further storage is taken for granted, [and] the more the user assumes its always there and makes [data validation] right," said Passmore. "If you wait until you have a problem, its too late. You have to define an architecture and a defensive mechanism, and thats the approach NetApp is taking."

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