EMC Beefs Up Its Data Protection Portfolio For Software-Defined Storage Environments

EMC this week said it's stepping up integration between its various data protection software applications across both primary and secondary storage, to make it easier for customers to deliver data protection-as-a-service.

EMC, Hopkinton, Mass., is also now letting customers buy its Avamar, NetWorker and Data Protection Advisor management software under a single license, allowing them to allocate data protection between Avamar and NetWorker as needed.

In an interview, Steve Flynn, director of product marketing for EMC's Data Protection and Availability division, said EMC's data protection technology is ready for customers that want to deploy software-defined storage in their environments.

"This differentiates the solutions we sell," Flynn told CRN. "The solutions not only handle customer issues today, but also put us on the path to the future of data protection."

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EMC rolled out new capabilities that customers offer data protection-as-a-service, with updated versions of its Avamar backup and data duplication software and NetWorker data protection software, as well as updates to its Mozy on-line data protection software, Flynn said.

EMC also updated its Data Domain backup and deduplication appliance with multi-tenancy capabilities and new capacity points, and introduced a virtual appliance version of its VPLEX storage virtualization technology.

EMC is making the right moves by improving the integration of its different data protection technologies, said Jamie Shepard, regional and health systems senior vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and long-time EMC partner.

"EMC now has one piece of software to light up and handle everything, including snapshots, backups, and tight integration with applications," Shepard said. "It doesn't matter what's on the backend. That's the beauty of software, and what CommVault is doing."

This is a big departure from the EMC of the past, Shepard said. "EMC grabbed NetWorker because it needed backup software," he said. "Then EMC bought Avamar. Now what is it doing? Releasing one big piece of software."

While the NetWorker acquisition happened in 2003, and the Avamar acquisition three years later, Shepard said he does not think EMC is too late to market in bringing them together. "People say EMC is late," he said. "I see it as EMC not rushing to market. This puts EMC in the lead again."

NEXT: Bringing NetWorker, Avamar Together

A big part of EMC's plan to redefine its data protection strategy is to combine its Avamar and NetWorker offerings with its Data Protection Advisor management software via a new licensing solution that lets customers pay for a single license to cover both based on capacity, Flynn said.

"This lets customers apply the different products based on the different levels of data protection they need," he said. "For instance, a customer can buy a 20-TB license and apply 8 TBs to Avamar and 12 TBs to NetWorker, or adjust the different parts as needed."

EMC this week introduced Avamar 7.1, a new version of its backup and dedupe software that now includes a plug-in for VMware's vCloud Director. The move lets vCloud Director manage distributed data protection as easily as it manages distributed compute resources, Flynn said.

As a result, cloud administrators can now control the Avamar backup appliances, according to Flynn.

"Administrators manage multiple repositories which can be provisioned to new or existing tenants, which can be external customers or line-of-business or department users," Flynn said. "This gives cloud administrators the flexibility to control data protection for tenants, providing an efficient consumption model for them while providing control for the administrators."

Avamar 7.1 also now includes the ability to direct backups of enterprise workloads to EMC's Data Domain appliances, Flynn said.

Customers can run up to 500 simultaneous backup operations between Avamar and Data Domain, he said.

Also new is NetWorker 8.2, which now includes the ability to support file-level snapshots, including snapshots from NAS solutions including EMC's VNX and Isilon, as well as from arch-rival NetApp, Flynn said.

NetWorker 8.2 also provides a centralized view and management of snapshots, and gives both storage administrators and backup administrators control based on their separate requirements, he said.

Also new is support for Microsoft Hyper-V System Center Virtual Machine Manager, as well as new cloud-aware capabilities. "NetWorker 8.2 understands and displays the entire cloud environment," he said. "It's also fabric- and tenant-aware, letting it maintain multi-tenant environments while allowing centralized management."

EMC also introduced a Linux client for its Mozy cloud-based data protection application, along with corporate key encryption for Mozy Sync and custom configurations for HIPAA, Flynn said.

NEXT: Multi-tenancy for Data Domain, Multi-site For VPLEX

EMC has enhanced its Data Domain Boost technology which increases performance by handling backups directly from the application to better integrate with multiple applications, Flynn said.

Data Domain Boost for Oracle RMAN, first introduced two years ago, now works with SAP, SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL, and IBM DB2, he said.

EMC also enhanced Data Domain with multi-tenancy capabilities. "This allows data-protection-as-a-service in private and public clouds," Flynn said. "We've given Data Domain logical isolation so it can be used in multi-tenant environments while providing tenants with local controls."

Finally, EMC enhanced its VPLEX storage virtualization technology for extracting storage functionality across two sites to increase data availability with VPLEX Virtual Edition, a software-based solution which provides VPLEX availability in a VMware virtualized environment, Flynn said.

VPLEX is also being combined with EMC's RecoverPoint replication solution to give VPLEX the ability to stretch across three sites to make data available if two of the three sites go down at the same time, he said.