Loss of information still represents a latent threat for organizations, despite the technical advances that have occurred over time in the areas of data security, protection, redundancy, recovery – and the notable improvements in performance and operation in hardware and storage.
Data loss happens thru various causes, intentional or accidental and in most cases occurs in an unforeseen way. This in turn can jeopardize a company’s operations to various levels of severity. In serious cases, the company itself is in danger of failing.
It is therefore vital to have mechanisms and solutions that allow us to recover from situations of this type, which not only recover the information, but do so in a timely and effective manner that guarantees the operation and continuity of an organization.
These solutions not only involves the use of equipment and resources, but also the execution and/or application of standards, procedures and industry standard recommendations that must be met – not only by the administrators and implementers of the backup policies, but by all users in order to guarantee the integrity of the information.
The use and appearance of new technologies and approaches have allowed some backup and recovery solutions to evolve, becoming more agile, modular, lower cost and more efficient. These solutions are able to:
- Lighten and facilitate functional processes.
- Adapt to changes and new organizational requirements.
- Grow and adjust your technology platform easily and without much effort.
One of the fundamental characteristics of a backup solution for a typical enterprise is that it is able to encompass a full range of different data sources, file types, storage devices, applications and different backup modes – all integrated into a single platform, easily administrable and configurable.
One of these solutions is Commvault, originally called Commvault Simpana, which is a business backup software that allows you to carry out and manage the policy and backups of clients in an automated way to different local or remote devices, managed easily from a centralized console.
Among the features provided by Commvault are:
- Backup of databases, files, applications and VMs in an optimal way according to the type of data and recovery profile.
- Ability to handle hardware snapshots, in case the latter supports it.
- Use deduplication for disk storage optimization, and this can be done through hardware or software.
- Execution of quick and simple recoveries.
- Centralization of the resources that make up the backup platform according to their functions and use of resources, such as consoles, media agents, clients, etc.
- Backup support to the Cloud.
- Backups for different database managers through the use of agents and plugins, such as Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.
- Backup of file and data servers, whether its source is a file server or storage array.
- Centralized administration and configuration console that allows access to all the resources that make up the platform.
Data backup solutions have gone from simply being programs that copy data and information to and from the devices that contain the backed-up information of the computers and devices, to comprehensive applications that not only offer the integrity of the backup but also allow provide tools that significantly heighten the likely operative continuity of the business, using methodologies and paradigms that facilitate its use at many different levels, as well as greater flexibility to adapt to new requirements.
Backup solutions have also evolved due to other factors such as: the emergence of open source, the decrease in storage costs, continuous improvements to storage hardware and communication devices and network, virtualization etc., and more easy integration into business environments.
Among the benefits that these improved solutions are likely to offer are:
- Simple and convenient administration, which allows users to perform configuration, operation and management activities according to specified access levels.
- Integrated execution of the backup and recovery operations of each of the clients configured in the company’s policy, without loss or inconsistencies in the data and information.
- Ability to adapt to diverse operating environments in organizations, which may include servers, storage devices, storage arrays, media libraries, local and remote resources, etc.
- Use of existing resources in companies as needs and requirements occurs.
- Growth capacity in conjunction with the company, due to the easy adaptation to new operating and information needs that may arise, as well as user requirements.
- Easy integration and without much effort to the technology platform of the organization, because they have specific characteristics that allow it, such as: network operation, sending notifications, information repository, among others.
- Execution of different levels of support that adapt to the policies and operating requirements of the companies. In addition to the traditional types used (full, differential, incremental), it allows creating and making use of new types that optimize the use of resources and execution of backups.
- Friendly and simple configuration of the backup policy of the organization, as well as when new requirements arise.
- Storage of historical backup data in diverse and easily accessible repositories, with adequate levels of security and access, to be used for various purposes, such as:
- Recovery of information.
- Legal regulations.
- Operation methodologies and compliance with legal or management regulations.
- Use of backed up information with specific and varied objectives by users, such as management and efficiency, capacity planning, management indicators, balance scorecards, etc.
- Access to the backup platform from mobile devices for notifications, monitoring, and the possibility of performing administrative tasks, which allow the execution of a proactive management.
- Ease of use and management of backup resources in the cloud. Commvault supports the use of the cloud for the destination of backups and from different environments, depending on the utility they wish to make in companies.
According to the above, although Commvault and its competitors share many common characteristics such as business backup software, there are some differences with competitors that distinguish them from Commvault, and have allowed its use to keep growing. Among these are:
- Use of open source technology as the main element of development, which allows access to state-of-the-art technology that is constantly evolving. Additionally, the wider open source community is a powerful user testing ground for new code and features, meaning the admitted code is especially stable and reliable compared to proprietary software.
- Significant cost savings in relation to the resources used in the backup solution, such as media tapes, storage devices, server resources, etc.
- Use of data repositories in independent applications for the registration and management of backup activities. Some backup solutions use databases as repositories, such as SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, among others, known as catalogs, and that can be consulted using native tools and their own.
- Growth capacity according to the requirements and needs of the company, based on the requirements of the operating processes and/or users.
- Source of information for estimating resources, not only for the technology area, but also for the other areas of the organization.
- The use of resources in the cloud has allowed alternative backup solutions have emerged, and are constantly growing, due to the following reasons:
- Storage of backups in remote sites, configured in high availability and redundancy environments.
- Existence of different providers that offer Cloud storage services, such as Amazon. Azure, Google, Microsoft. This translates into more storage choices, promoting competitive prices and services, as well as greater resources for the protection of information.
- Remote access to the solution from different places and from any platform.
- Scalability to the operation and information requirements of the organizations.
- Reasonable and forecastable operating costs, since the measurement of resources is made considering the use of them, only paying for what is used, no data volume-related pricing. This facilites resource planning for technology, also known as capacity planning.
- Shared and safe environment.
- Modern encryption of the data, both in the process of copying the information and the devices that contain the backups.
- Savings in operation and maintenance costs, in terms of technology management.
- Scheme for the management of the licenses of the simplest and most effective solution, but with the same levels of quality and support. In case of using an open source solution, the support and support of the community is a fundamental reference, and in most cases it helps in the identification of bugs and offers suggestions and new recommendations that are adapted for future versions or releases.
Taking into account the above and the fact that the operating scenarios will continue to grow and diversify, it is likely that new technologies, models and paradigms will continue to emerge. It is a fact that alternative backup solutions to Commvault will continue to be created and grow. These technologies are stimulated by the following changes in the IT industry:
- Cloud storage solutions.
- Improvements in communications performance that allow the optimization of bandwidth usage.
- Creation and improvement of algorithms and mechanisms for encryption, encryption and protection of data and the transmission channel for the execution of backups to local or remote locations.
- Implementation of new methodologies and types of backups for executing jobs that optimize the use of resources, such as storage, CPU, bandwidth, etc., and reduce the execution times of backup and recovery operations of the information in companies
- Implementation of hybrid environments in organizations, not only for the daily execution of operations but also for the execution of projects, such as massive data migrations, environments for disaster recovery, alternate data centers.
Bacula Enterprise Edition and Commvault share many common features in their approach to enterprise backup software. Their architectures are somewhat similar, however Bacula allows companies to implement a solution that makes optimal use of the platform’s resources, maximizing on existing technology with low operating costs. Bacula is especially adaptable to the requirements of processes and users in an agile and flexible way. With its centralized administration and control console, coupled with easy to use interfaces, it offers an exciting alternative.