EVault’s Online Backup and Recovery Option Adds New Features
April 19, 2005 Dan Burger
You don’t hear many IT professionals asking for more complex and more expensive software. At least not on the buyers’ side. That’s why companies are taking a closer look at disk-to-disk backup and recovery that sends data offsite using IP networks. This approach promises (but don’t they all) the twin benefits of reduced complexity and cost savings. EVault, which launched the OS/400 community’s first online backup technology in September 2004, has more to say on this topic.
Breaking out of the routine of traditional tape-based back ups and recoveries is sort of a love/hate thing for many iSeries shops. They would love to have quicker and more flexible B&R, and an attractive option to expensive mirroring deployments will get their attention, but staying with the tried and true avoids the risk factor of going into uncharted waters.
So along comes Version 5 of EVault’s InfoStage online backup and recovery software and the EVault Protect managed service offering. Both lead to the same conclusion, one is self-managed software, while EVault manages the other. About 70 percent of EVault’s iSeries customers have purchased the managed service.
Also new from EVault is a reporting suite as well as versions of its desktop agent and e-mail archive solutions. Version 5 supports i5 OS (OS/400 V5R3), SuSE Linux, IBM AIX, and other server and desktop platforms such as Windows, Netware, Solaris, Red Hat Linux, and HP-UX.
EVault uses a distributed architecture for its InfoStage software as well as its Protect managed service, where EVault manages the backup. Some of the software resides on what EVault calls the storage vault, where a Windows-based director console is used to manage the back-end storage. The Windows box acts as an aggregator, an appliance that puts the data on the back-end storage. A central control management console runs at the customer site as well as agent software for each of the computers that need to be backed up. In the case of the iSeries, central management control is done on the iSeries, but it requires the installation of an iSeries agent.
There are several new performance features built into InfoStage Version 5 that effect back-end storage. They begin with the capability to do simultaneous restores, which speeds the recovery process when recovering a large quantity of files or recovering data from multiple backup sessions. Also notable is the addition of on the fly scale-up capacity for back-end storage and the copying of data between vaults without interruption or performance degradation. A feature called the Integrated Vault Backup Agent was added so that backup data, which is stored on the vault, can be easily migrated to disk, tape, or a second off-site storage vault.
Specifically for iSeries is a method for recognizing database changes that take place after the backup is initiated and creating a snapshot in as little as two seconds, regardless of database size.
EVault’s new iSeries upgrade provides administrators with the capability to perform hot backups. Previously, users had to log off the system before backups could take place. This new feature allows administrators to take backups of systems online without disrupting service. This is very important for businesses that require constant access to information and databases.
Whereas the standard method of performing the hot backup involves journaling, EVault’s methodology relies on its proprietary database trigger technology. As officials at EVault explain it, the trigger “sleeps” between backups, but once a backup is initiated, the trigger “wakes up” and catches changes while the backup is being performed.
IBM’s Checkpoint process can take up to an hour to establish a snapshot for 100GB to 200GB system and even longer on bigger systems. Using the EVault iSeries trigger method, company officials say this same task can be done in as little as two to three seconds, regardless of the database size.
In conjunction with the launch of EVault InfoStage Version 5, EVault also announced several new capabilities across its product line focused on delivering advanced reporting capabilities, desktop and laptop backup, and e-mail archiving.
EVault Reports is a new Web-based tool available to managed service customers designed to help end-users quickly access storage-related information about the backup and recovery process. Because these managed service customers don’t have access to the back end computer, these reports are necessary for monitoring purposes. Reports that are available include monitoring backup status (when was the back up, how many servers were backed up, and how many gigabytes were required), monitoring by groups or by customers, and determining storage capacity, including number of active backup save sets. A similar feature is currently available to licensed software users, but will be enhanced to the current level and made available for those users in the near future.
ProMail Exchange is a new managed service for companies running e-mail software on Microsoft Exchange servers. (EVault has an existing version of ProMail that runs on Lotus Notes.) It provides automated, centralized, and customizable e-mail monitoring and archiving to one of EVault’s secure data centers.
InfoStage pricing starts at $16,000 for the back-end director piece. The agents for iSeries are tier based, beginning at $1,000. EVault Protect and EVault ProMail Exchange monthly pricing is based on the amount of storage used per month and the length of service contract.