NetApp, CommVault Team for Automated Snapshot-Based Backup

The new OEM agreement enables Tier 2 disk backup and Tier 3 tape archiving, for example, to be managed and provisioned in a single application.

Storage network systems maker NetApp and storage software provider CommVault, whom some might think ought to be competitors because they sell into many of the same markets, announced May 31 that they have signed a new global OEM agreement under which they will cross-pollinate some key products.

In fact, California-based NetApp and New Jersey-based CommVault have been partners for nearly a decade because their homegrown IP fills gaps in each other's product lines.

In this new deal, they will integrate elements of CommVault's Simpana 9 software with NetApp's Snapshot and replication, and will henceforth co-produce them under the NetApp SnapProtect brand.

SnapProtect combines high-speed NetApp Snapshot copies and replication with tape in a single backup package to help organizations shrink the amount of time needed for their backup and recovery operations. Thus, Tier 2 disk backup and Tier 3 tape archiving, for example, can be managed and provisioned in a single application.

"What we're doing here is bring to the table [storage] manageability, so that customers can go disk-to-disk-to-tape in a very seamless fashion," Mark Welke, NetApp director of Data Protection Solutions, told eWEEK.

Better Integration, Smaller Backup Window

Simpana users will also benefit from this agreement because of the increased integration and management that Snapshot brings within Simpana to accelerate and simplify the backup and recovery process, CommVault Vice President of Worldwide OEM Sales Michael McMahon told eWEEK.

"As companies start to virtualize and consolidate, and the amount of data continues to grow at the rate it is growing, we're finding it is extremely difficult to keep up with it, using standard, host-based backup technologies," McMahon said.

"To stay up with the speed of the growth, and the changes in the applications, it really has to start from the snapshot off the array, which offloads that host, and provides much, much faster initial data sets. Then, on the back end, we can now manage in a granular fashion with persistent backups. The idea of crawling hosts and scanning indexes off the host goes away."

In data storage, a snapshot is the state of a system at a particular point in time. It can refer to an actual copy of the state of a system or to a capability provided by certain systems.

Freezing the State of Data

NetApp's SnapProtect freezes the state of the all the stored data and keeps it "application-aware," Welke said, so that when the snapshot is reintroduced into the system, all the data is automatically resynchronized and updated.

Simpana not only manages the scheduling and movement of persistent hardware snapshots but also indexes each snapshot to provide application intelligence, even as they are replicated to alternate NetApp storage and written to tape, McMahon said.

Previously, customers had limited awareness of the data within a snapshot and had to resort to complicated scripting to move data from a snapshot to tape. By creating application-aware, indexed snapshot copies with NetApp's replication, users can seamlessly protect large data sets such as those created by VMware in a more efficient manner, McMahon said.

CommVault also has partnerships with other storage hardware vendors that include Dell, Hitachi Data Systems, Bull and Fujitsu, McMahon said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...