Buyers of LAN backup software are increasingly getting packages with data-management functions reminiscent of mainframe applications.
Features such as tape rotation, data migration, new operating system support and HSM (hierarchical storage management) are being added to LAN backup packages as users continue to downsize applications and implement client/server applications.
“As operations move from centralized to decentralized applications, the importance of protecting data is critical,” said Edward Gaudet, director of marketing for Software Partners/32 Inc., a supplier of systems-management software for VAX and Unix environments in Topsfield, Mass.
For high-end storage management on LANs, many tape-backup software vendors are supporting the Data Migration and HCSS (High Capacity Storage System) functions in NetWare 4.0. This allows infrequently used files to be automatically transferred from hard disk to optical or tape drives. While the files are stored off-line, their names are maintained in the volume directory. When accessed, the migrated data is returned to the hard-disk drive.
“This is a major help for situations where there are network hard drive crashes, or just outright disk failures,” says Rick Marcus, a data recovery technician for Hard Drive Recovery Associates, a data recovery service in Irvine, CA.
The HCSS feature allows files to be migrated onto rewritable optical disks or jukeboxes. As the available hard-disk space reaches a user-defined level, files are migrated to the optical disk.
“We now have intelligent pre-setting of backups, tape rotation, and automatic error verification and retrying — all of the tools to have a more intelligent backup system,” said Mike Wehrs, director of business development for Conner Software Products Group in Lake Mary, Fla.
Slated to ship next month, Conner Backup Exec NLM 4.0 for NetWare LANs will also provide greater flexibility in establishing customized backup automation and tracking, said Wehrs.
Another tape-backup package, ARCserve 5.0 from Cheyenne Software Inc., also added data-migration capabilities by supporting NetWare’s HCSS function. One challenge for backup-software developers providing this function is knowing which files have been migrated to optical disk, said Jim McNeil, vice president of business development for Cheyenne in Roslyn, N.Y.
“Under NetWare 4.0, migrated files still appear to be on the server. If you take a standard application and do a backup, all of the migrated files will be brought back to the hard disk,” McNeil said. ARCserve 5.0 knows how to back up only those files on the primary storage device.
Support for SMS
Many LAN tape-backup vendors are also planning support for NetWare’s SMS (Storage Management Services), a set of application programming interfaces to the NetWare file system.
Among those backup products that support SMS are Conner Backup Exec NLM 4.0; Sytos Preserver, due in late summer from Sytron Corp.; Legato NetWorker 2.2 from Legato Systems Inc.; ARCserve 5.0; and Network Archivist from Palindrome Corp., which will provide full SMS support by the fourth quarter.
Legato NetWorker 2.2 also takes advantage of NetWare 4.0’s NDS (NetWare Directory Services), a networkwide, distributed database that replaces the bindery in earlier NetWare versions. While the bindery in NetWare 3.11 managed a single file server, NDS supports all servers on a network, regardless of their location.
Legato NetWorker 2.2 uses NDS to provide an administrator’s view as well as a customizable view of all client and server files across a network with both NetWare and Unix servers, said Edward Cooper, vice president and general manager of Legato’s PC products group in Palo Alto, Calif.
Data- and storage-management features provided in Legato NetWorker include tape rotation, file migration, disk grooming and disk management. Legato NetWorker supports both Unix and NetWare environments.
Version 3.0 of the Network Archivist, which shipped earlier this month, also includes features that take advantage of NDS and file migration, according to Ron Birchall, president of Palindrome, in Naperville, Ill.
“It is important for a backup system to capture a copy of the directory service database” in case the network fails, Birchall said.
No substitute for backup
While the data migration provided in NetWare 4.0 does move files to a more permanent medium, it should not be viewed as an alternative to backing up, warned Birchall. “This is not a replacement or an alternative to backup and archiving. … What happens if there is a fire in the computer room and the optical disks are melted?” he asked.
“The way Network Archivist works in this environment is that it will have captured and archived data before it is migrated,” said Birchall. “Then, it will not need to back up every week like the traditional system does.”
Data-management features in Sytos Preserver will include tape rotation, which automates the management of media, said Cimarron Boozer, vice president of marketing and product planning for Sytron in Westboro, Mass. The product will provide a combination of linear and grandfather- father-son tape-rotation scheduling.
For example, when a tape is removed from the drive, it is placed into a daily storage container and rotated in a linear fashion. After a specified duration, tapes are moved to a weekly or a monthly storage container, where they are again retained for a specific duration until they are moved into permanent storage, if desired.
Similarly, suppliers of high-end archiving software are moving toward providing complete solutions.
Pyrasun Inc., for example, plans to add backup and file- migration options to its Amass Unix file system; is developing a new storage-management model, called Sena, that will provide a hierarchical storage system, backup software and remote device access functions in a cross-platform environment including VMS, Unix and Windows; and Epoch Systems Inc. integrates HSM, robotic library management, backup, disaster recovery and file migration in its EpochServ line.