Appreciating Backup Neutrality

Michael Vizard

Now that many backup and recovery solutions are moving from disk to tape, we're seeing storage vendors that traditionally sold primary storage getting pretty aggressive about bundling backup storage systems with primary storage systems. On the face of it, that's a good opportunity because it can cut costs and reduce the number of vendors an IT organization has to manage. But it also assumes that the primary storage vendor is always going to be the same company and there are no other primary storage systems that need to be backed up.

In reality, backup and recovery is really a distinct activity from primary storage. It may be managed by the same team of people, but a different mindset needs to be applied. A good case in point of what IT organizations need from a backup vendor comes in the form of the Simpana backup and recovery software from CommVault.

With the latest release of a SnapProtect module in Simpana, CommVault added support for Dell EqualLogic series arrays. According to Don Foster, senior product manager, CommVault added the ability to take snapshots of Dell EqualLogic systems alongside EMC and NetApp systems as part of a concerted effort to achieve backup and recovery neutrality. Not only does this approach provide one common interface for backing up all these systems, it sets the stage for CommValut to add support for other primary storage systems under that same management interface.

As the amount of data that needs to be managed continues to grow exponentially, IT organizations need to think more about what is the most efficient approach to backing up data that more than likely is going to resided on multiple primary storage systems. There are obviously multiple ways to going about that, but the one way that is likely to be the least efficient is when you ask one primary storage vendor to backup another.

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