Storage management offerings on tap from Microsoft Corp. and Veritas Software Corp. aim to extend data replication, archiving and indexing capabilities to accelerate backup and recovery operations.
With the introduction of Microsofts DPS (Data Protection Server) and upgrades to Veritas NetBackup and BackupExec applications, large enterprise and SMB (small and midsize business) customers will get more-granular control of storage, said officials at both companies.
"If youre not ready on game day, your opponent doesnt care," said Richard McOsker, director of information systems for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League and an early Microsoft DPS user. "Anything we can do to get recovery done quicker, faster and actually have a more robust solution, thats what we were looking for."
McOsker is looking to speed backup with DPS, which Microsoft introduced last week at the Storage Decisions conference here. DPS, which will be available in public beta in the first quarter of next year and generally available in the second half of next year, plugs into three core Microsoft products—Windows Server 2003, Storage Server 2003 and Active Directory.
Nestled between file servers and a tape library, DPS uses agents to record changes within Windows file server workloads and to ensure appropriate backup rules are in place for continuous change-logging and replication, said officials from the Redmond, Wash., company.
DPS will integrate with third-party tape offerings via a backup interface now in development by Microsoft for Windows-based environments.
However, some SMB customers, even those with a heavy dependence on Microsoft, are leery of being locked into the companys proprietary software.
"Its my understanding [DPS] will limit you to their server," said Jack Eckerd, director of information systems at Specialty Bakers Inc., in Marysville, Pa. The company has 15 Windows servers and uses Veritas BackupExec 9.1. "The beauty of Veritas is its an open architecture that works across multiple environments [to safeguard us] in the future if we made a change and want to go to another OS," Eckerd said.
Veritas is looking to beat Microsoft to market with major new versions of its NetBackup and BackupExec management software in the first half of next year, said Pat Hanavan, senior director of product management at Veritas, in Mountain View, Calif.
The next NetBackup upgrade will have disk-optimized backup server functions, client direct restores and the ability to wipe out redundant data. The BackupExec upgrade will provide disk staging, synthetics, continuous protection and versioning, and replication integration.
The objective is to give customers the flexibility to back up data onto whatever media they wish at any given time.
Veritas is also working to create tighter integration of its NetBackup, BackupExec, Veritas Storage Replicator and Storage Central management offerings in a suite approach to make each offering more aware of the others—particularly in remote branch scenarios. By making the applications aware of one another, a storage administrator will be able to set policies that reduce costs by backing up only whats necessary, Hanavan said.
"That is something we dont do today. That linkage doesnt exist," he said.
In addition, Veritas plans to enhance replication capabilities across its offerings to enable non-scheduled backups and will provide dial-time indexing, which takes snapshots of data. NetBackup will gain the ability to index historical data on tape, but Hanavan declined to say when.
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