EMC Gives Backup a Boost With NetWorker 8

By Pedro Hernandez

EMC released version 8.0 of its NetWorker this week, with a re-worked codebase and new features that bring the venerable backup and recovery software up to speed after nearly a decade without a point upgrade.

New to NetWorker is an updated architecture that ECM claims runs leaner on servers and offers up to a 3x improvement in scalability over its predecessor. It's an accomplishment that the company says allows storage administrators to get more out of their existing IT resources.

Along that same IT-optimizing vein, NetWorker 8 also features Data Domain Boost integration. With this capability, the NetWorker client works in tandem with Data Domain deduplication systems to lower network traffic and provide automated configuration, monitoring and reporting.

Another performance-enhancing feature is Client Direct. Instead of piping backup data through backup servers, storage administrators can configure NetWorker clients to backup directly to disk arrays. Depending on the size and complexity of an organization's storage infrastructure, this can help boost backup performance by up to 50 percent, according to EMC.

Microsoft environments get attention in the form of SQL Server 2012 support. NetWorker 8 also now supports the granular recovery of Exchange, SharePoint and Hyper-V data.

Finally, the software ships with multi-tenancy management options that give storage administrators tighter control over data access on shared backup environments. According to EMC, the capability "delivers logical zoning of data, devices and users."

When asked about what's in it for storage administrators, Charles King, Principal Analyst at Pund-IT, explained to InfoStor, "I think I'd divide NetWorker 8's management benefits into those with short-term benefits and those with longer-term impact."

Right out of the box, NetWorker 8 provides some compelling reasons upgrade. "Regarding the former, Client Direct, which halves point to point backup times, is probably what the vast majority of storage managers and NetWorker customers will appreciate immediately," said King.

"That said, many will also benefit from the new platform architecture (which dramatically improves scalability), enhancements to Microsoft environments and DD Boost (which requires them to have Data Domain systems)," he added.

What about the other features? They'll start resonating more strongly with IT managers as their storage infrastructures start taking on more cloud-like qualities -- if they haven't already.

"The new multi-tenancy management features are also valuable, but they focus on a smaller group of customers -- those who are contemplating how best to securely adopt/leverage public cloud environments," stated King. "Over time, I expect that group to become far larger than it is today, and NetWorker 8 could be a factor many decisions to embrace public cloud computing," concluded King.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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This article was originally published on July 11, 2012