Aptare, considered somewhat of an underdog in the growing data protection market, has taken the next step in its mission to take the lead by upgrading its data protection management software with a slew of new features and compatibility with major backup products.
StorageConsole 5.1, the newest version of the Campbell, Calif., companys Web-based backup reporting and management tool, now provides a more fully-functioning Web portal, a new module for policy auditing, an XML report designer, real-time alerting for tape drive and backup status and additional analytic dashboards.
With the new XML Report Designer, users can create their own dashboards and views, and deliver reports via e-mail or publish them to intranets.
These new capabilities allow users to generate reports with XML without programming, allowing anyone within the IT organization to create and customize dashboards and reports, said Aptare CEO Rick Clark.
The addition of the policy auditing module is another significant upgrade.
"It shows you the breadcrumb trail of the changes of your backup and recovery procedures, and shows you the effect of them over time on your data protection status," Clark said.
"By allowing you to understand what changes have been made to the companys underlying data protection policies, who made those changes, why those changes were made and what the ramifications were of those changes, the company can address their compliance issues more effectively."
But perhaps the most significant upgrade is StorageConsoles support of IBMs Tivoli Storage Manager 5.2 and 5.3 environments, a major addition to its previously announced support of the Veritas NetBackup 6.0 environment.
With this addition, StorageConsole becomes compatible with the two most ubiquitous backup products in the data protection space.
"Our goal is to centralize the heterogeneous view across multiple backup products to simplify the visualization and management of backup and recovery systems," Clark said.
Although StorageConsole competes with both Veritas NetBackup and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager in some respects, it complements those products in others, said Greg Schulz, founder of The StorageIO Group of Stillwater, Minn.
"All of these packages tell you what backups have run or not, and on that basis, they compete," he said.
"But where StorageConsole moves into its own category is that it allows you to do much more, like analyzing how effectively the backups ran and how long they took, and allowing you to run what-if scenarios. In effect, it moves from simple reporting and monitoring to forecasting and analytics."
With these additions, Aptare clearly intends to grab market share from its closest competitors, data protection vendors Bocada of Bellevue, Wash., and WysDM Software of New York. Although WysDM has probably had the most mindshare in this market up until now, Schulz believes that Aptares aggressive moves may make it a true contender.
"They can become king of the hill by offering support for more backup packages, and to take on support of some other aspect of data protection, like looking at snapshots or archiving," he said.
Aptares Clark is thinking along the same lines. By the end of the summer, StorageConsole will support EMC Legatos data protection solution, and support for CommVault is expected by the end of 2006.
In addition, Clark plans to add modules to StorageConsole related to forecasting, proactive management of the backup environment, early warning of faults and alerts, and enhanced dashboard views.