BakBone NetVault 8.0 overtaking competitors with heterogeneous CDP

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Version 8.0 of BakBone’s flagship NetVault software, unveiled today [1st October], starts to implement the company’s new integrated data protection (IDP) strategy. Continuous data protection (CDP), available immediately for both Windows and Linux, is the most obvious product enhancement.

Thanks primarily to integrating CDP, NetVault’s functionality will enable users to plan a holistic approach to cover their needs for traditional backup and recovery, disaster recovery (DR), archiving, replication and snapshots. This reflects an emerging trend towards convergence of these functions as well as the pressure for business continuity 24×7.

“NetVault TrueCDP is fully integrated with recovery done through the standard GUI,” Andrew Brewerton, BakBone’s EMEA technical director commented. “No reinvestment is needed and it fits with existing VTL [virtual tape library] and D2D2T [Disk-to-disk-to-tape] technologies.”

The company admitted that, without CDP, it could be argued BakBone had been a little behind the curve, although its approach was to ensure the right technologies were chosen. On the other hand, BakBone’s concentration on heterogeneity, with support for Solaris and Mac OS X (with CDP promised a little later) in addition to Linux and Windows for servers and others for clients gives it an edge. It can now begin to claim it offers enterprise-class data protection for organisations with a complex mix of IT operating environments.

The name ‘TrueCDP’ is indirectly a dig at some companies who offer frequent snapshot data copies and call this CDP when it is not truly continuous (so leaving exposure to some data loss in between snapshots). BakBone’s solution offers both capabilities together—fixed point in time (FPIT) and on demand snapshots for nominated files (optionally to remote locations) and local any point in time (APIT) recovery. When used together, users can decide between frequent snapshots (more overhead) and less byte-level changes stored since the last backup, versus less snapshots but more stored transactions between them.

The CDP server can also be a client and output can be to either disk or tape. Once the ‘policy’ for FPIT and APIT has been set up through a simple GUI interface, the backup process can be automatic and capacity can be changed dynamically. So, if carefully thought through, this can also offer a multi-tiered DR element.

Andrew Martin, BakBone’s EMEA director of strategic alliances and channels, said: “BakBone is not [now] a backup company but a data protection company.” He saw major benefits of this integrated solution as providing less complexity and a faster ROI plus a single point of service and support—particularly for heterogeneous environments.

Clearly, this strategy reflects the company’s hope that existing BakBone backup and recovery users who currently carry competitive products for other functions will migrate to become more embedded with BakBone functionality in the future. It should also offer more revenue if the company wins new users. “Before [TrueCDP], we were losing part of the deal with our channel partners,” said Martin.

Heterogeneity is also helped by some other 8.0 features including: cluster support for SUN Cluster, Fujitsu PrimeQuest and Symantec (Veritas) Cluster Manager, and shared VTL additions to NetApp NDMP support. BakBone now also boasts a close relationship with Sun, with Sun offering its own support and including BakBone products with Sun product codes in its pricing catalogue.

Other additions related to security include: management of servers and clients across the firewall to extend administrative control, enabling of password change enforcement for compliance and encryption of D2D2T copies. However, NetVault does not yet offer de-duplication. (BakBone has support for de-duplication technologies from companies such as de-dup pioneer DataDomain.)

Clearly a lot is riding on NetVault 8.0 for BakBone. The market is very competitive and becoming more so but heterogeneous CDP fully integrated with complementary and proven backup and archiving technology is a big plus.

Initial single unit prices are $3,000 for Windows and $4,000 for Linux (UK/European pricing to come).