BakBone busy building and buying

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The management of storage is an extremely dynamic area and is of interest to every organisation irrespective of their size or business vertical. In this fast moving space, one vendor has had a very busy couple of months. During this time, BakBone Software Inc. has announced a new strategy for optimising data protection—called Integrated Data Protection (IDP)—and released NetVault 7.3.1 for Mac OS X Server version 10.4 “Tiger”. Beyond this the company also announced the availability of ‘NetVault: Report Manager’, a storage reporting and analysis tool, and then rounded things off with the acquisition of Constant Data Inc., a supplier of real time data replication and high availability solutions. This is clearly a vendor in a hurry.

BakBone’s core NetVault backup and recovery data protection products have been around for a decade and a half. During this time BakBone has quietly grown its presence around the world, with both the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions accounting for significant numbers of customers. The company’s NetVault solutions are well established, in a quiet fashion, in the core Windows and Unix markets and offer relatively wide backup and recovery capabilities spanning disaster recovery, disk to disk and featuring VDL, SVDL and NDMP support.

BakBone has also been quick to support the growing sectors of data protection for Linux and Apple Mac OS X. In fact the Mac OS X offering is the first commercial software modelled after Apple’s own Server Manager Interface. The software supplies sophisticated data protection with networked storage functionality.

Whilst these products are worthy it is the development of its Integrated Data Protection Strategy that could well generate most interest. IDP seeks to deliver solutions that are integrated from the ground up and that, as well as combining sound technological solutions, also brings in best practice management processes. In this way BakBone is attempting to refocus the attention of its customers away from ‘backup’ and towards recovery, coupled with sophisticated compliance/governance reporting capabilities. IDP employs a building block architecture to integrate and automate diverse data storage and protection functionality. 

The company’s recently released ‘NetVault: Report Manager’ provides monitoring, analysis and reporting for the data protection environment and is tightly integrated with the BakBone NetVault: Backup and disaster recovery tools. With  a simple to use interface, NetVault: Report Manager simplifies many facets of backup and recovery administration whilst increasing the visibility of data protection to the business as a whole, thereby permitting much better alignment of data protection with real business need. These reporting capabilities are a direct result of a partnership between BakBone Software and Otium Software Ltd, a UK ISV focused on SRM software.

The acquisition of Constant Data and its cross-platform replication technology is a significant development in BakBone’s IDP strategy to optimise data protection for its customers. Constant Data brings a range of refined data replication capabilities and high availability solutions, which allow organisations to implement near continuous protection to valuable and dynamic data and business information, thereby ensuring that data is as highly available as business requirements demand.  

BakBone is a vendor that has enjoyed too little visibility for too long. The company now has a clearly defined, well thought out, path forwards that will see it develop its capabilities rapidly in the next two to three years. BakBone could well shake up the established storage management software giants of EMC, Symantec/VERITAS, CA and Tivoli. However, it is unclear whether such an intense spate of product release, development and acquisition can happen again.