Firms combine technologies to tackle data growth

IT managers at SNW say move helps them better manage storage systems in data centers, remote sites

Combining backup software and de-duplication technology within virtual server environments can help companies better deal with exploding data growth, according to users attending Computerworld's Storage Networking World conference in the US last week.

John Robitzsch, senior manager of infrastructure systems at Atlanta-based InComm Holdings, said his company deployed new backup software and de-duplication products over the past three months to corral massive data growth across remote sites due to multiple mergers and acquisitions in recent years.

InComm, a provider of point-of-sale activation technology and prepaid products like phone cards, runs about 650 mostly Windows-based servers, including 400 virtual ones running on three VMware ESX Server v2.5.3 clusters.

The company was forced to find a new backup plan when its NetBackup software from Symantec Corp. couldn't keep up with the data growth, he said.

"We had [Symantec's] NetBackup, and it started to reach limitations," Robitzsch said.

He noted that the new products, unlike NetBackup, allow the company to manage its backup efforts centrally rather than depend on each branch office to complete the task.

John Thomas, IT manager at Troutman Sanders, said the law firm deployed CommVault Systems' Simpana 7.0 software early this year. The software is used with 18 Data Domain de-duplication appliances to run backup-to-disk operations across 15 remote office locations.

The appliances from Data Domain were installed about a year ago, Thomas said.

VMware is deployed only at the law firm's headquarters, which, coupled with the new tools, allow companywide storage systems to be managed from there, he said.

Integrated backup and de-duplication with VMware "will [also] play a role in our ability to provide fault tolerance and disaster recovery for hosted systems," Thomas said.

Tony Asaro, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, described companies like InComm and Troutman Sanders as early adopers because it's still "early in the process" for companies to achieve the full benefits of backup and de-duplication in a VMware environment.

A VMware spokesman said that some limitations are likely to be resolved with the unveiling of VMotion for Storage technology by the end of this year.

The spokesman said the new technology, which will be part of an ESX server upgrade, will allow administrators to move virtual machine disk files across storage arrays without downtime.

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