Aptare upgrades data-protection software

By Ann Silverthorn

—Aptare has added the latest edition of its StorageConsole data-protection management software as support for IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager. Storage Console 5.1 also includes new features such as a personalized homepage for users, a policy auditing module, and an XML report designer.

Aptare president and CEO, Richard Clark, says companies used to live under a false sense of security. IT directors would ask if backups were working and were given two thumbs up with no level of accountability. IT departments now face internal service-level agreements, regulatory compliance mandates, and legal discovery issues.

"We provide visibility into the data-protection environment and show where skipped clients are, as well as unprotected data sets and false positives, and what is succeeding and failing with regards to overall data protection," says Clark.

Already supporting Veritas NetBackup, StorageConsole now supports IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager. Support for EMC Legato software is slated for the third quarter of this year.

"We deploy an agent on the master server," says Clark. "We don't put any code on the clients or media servers. We gather data through published command line interfaces (CLIs), and we're not reverse engineering or log scraping. We can then support the backup software vendors' changing interfaces."

StorageConsole is browser-based and provides a portal view into the storage infrastructure with real-time dashboard reporting. It displays in graphical form the successes and failures of the backup, historical tracking and trending, and capacity of both disk and tape. StorageConsole is agnostic to the underlying backup medium. Proactive forecasting tracks media consumption and prevents failed backups due to insufficient storage capacity.

StorageConsole is designed to eliminate "hotspots" in the storage environment by identifying problems with network and backup performance, disk or tape drives, and media server bandwidth.

A personalized homepage is new with StorageConsole 5.1. A tree-style navigator, modeled on Microsoft Outlook and MyYahoo!, allows administrators to drill down from the macro level to the file level on disk or tape. File-level detail allows users to perform their own restores with Google-like searching.

Administrative, management, storage utility, and chargeback and billing reports are included with StorageConsole. An XML report designer allows administrators to design their own reports in XML for e-mail or intranet distribution.

Aptare also added a policy-auditing feature to StorageConsole, which generates an audit trail of changes to an underlying backup policy in the backup software. The backup software only keeps the most current version of the policy.

"We keep an audit trail of who changed the policies, what the changes were, and the ramifications of those changes," says Clark. "For instance, if someone changes the retention period of tape from 30 days to 90 days, the number of tapes consumed will increase exponentially."

StorageConsole is priced at $4,995 per backup server and $60 per client.

Hitachi Data Systems OEMs StorageConsole as HiCommand Backup Services Manager. Other backup reporting and management tool vendors include Bocada, Crosswalk, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Illuminator, Servergraph, Tek-Tools, and WysDM. The Taneja Group research and consulting firm refers to this product category as data-protection management, or DPM.

This article was originally published on May 18, 2006