EMC refreshes data protection, de-dupe software

By Kevin Komiega

-- As part of a recent spate of product announcements, EMC is rounding out the year with a complete refresh of its data-protection software products, including its backup and recovery, replication, source-based de-duplication, and backup reporting software tools.

The upgrades are mostly minor and pertain to reporting, operating system, virtual server and application support, and user interface tweaks. However, EMC is hinting at expanding its de-duplication feature from the secondary storage tier to the primary storage domain.

First up is a new version of the EMC Avamar backup-and-recovery software featuring source-based data de-duplication. Version 4.1 of the Avamar software includes new graphical server capacity trending and capacity extrapolation reports and "health check" and "e-mail home" alerts that notify administrators of capacity thresholds and other conditions that help mitigate risk. 

In addition, Avamar 4.1 now offers 256-bit AES encryption, vulnerability scanning, and certificate-based authentication and reliability upgrades, including power loss management and server auto-restart functionality.

Rob Emsley, senior director of product marketing at EMC, says customer interest in disk-based backup and de-duplication is responsible for significant software growth.

"Between our Avamar software, Disk Library family, and Centerra line, our systems are protecting about 1,300PB of data. We're finding that user interest in de-duplicating backup systems, which is where you see the most benefit from de-duplication, is driving triple-digit growth for our Avamar product," says Emsley.

Emsley also says the growth in de-duplication has prompted EMC to examine where the technology would work across its product lines.

"We recently introduced de-duplication into the Disk Library family and the next logical step is to introduce it into the primary storage domain," says Emsley. "It benefits us to have both target and source-based de-duplication in our portfolio so that we aren't trying to force fit a solution where it is not appropriate."

EMC also announced new support for managing data protection for virtual servers with the release of version 7.5 of  its NetWorker backup-and-recovery software.

NetWorker 7.5 is integrated with VMware Virtual Center and now supports VMware VMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler, all of which is aimed at giving users better control of backups in VMware environments.

EMC has also added backup support for Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments via the new NetWorker Module for Microsoft Applications. The module gives NetWorker control of unified backups of all major Microsoft applications with Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). Supported applications include Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, Data Protection Manager (DPM), Active Directory, and Hyper-V. 

The latest version of NetWorker also expands centralized management for current EMC storage products, including RecoverPoint Continuous Remote Replication, Symmetrix TimeFinder, and HomeBase.

The company's replication product is also getting an upgrade with the release of RecoverPoint version 3.1. The release includes continuous data protection (CDP) capabilities for advanced replication configurations, support for VMware Site Recovery Manager, Microsoft cluster integration, and virtual provisioning support for Clariion CX4 disk arrays.

RecoverPoint's new "stretched CDP" capability adds synchronous data replication from a production site to a secondary site at a distance up to 30 kilometers, enabling two-site limited-distance data protection, as well as three-site cascaded configurations by adding a continuous remote replication (CRR) link, according to Emsley.

RecoverPoint CRR now integrates with Microsoft clustering for failover of geographically dispersed Microsoft Windows Server cluster nodes.

RecoverPoint can now also replicate virtual provisioned LUNs on a CX4 system and Symmetrix DMX systems, ensuring only the actual physical storage used is replicated.

Wrapping up the software blitz, EMC has re-branded the Backup Advisor analysis and reporting product acquired from WysDM earlier this year. The newly named EMC Data Protection Advisor now supports VMware and Celerra platforms, in addition to expanded support of EMC Avamar and Data Domain platforms. 

Data Protection Advisor version 5.0 makes use of Virtual Center APIs to collect data from VMware servers and hosted images to track performance, resource consumption, and data-protection information, as well as movement of host images between systems. 

EMC RecoverPoint v3.1 will be available on November 21, while NetWorker 7.5, Avamar 4.1, and Data Protection Advisor v5.0 will make their debuts in December.

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This article was originally published on November 19, 2008