Atempo Brings Backup and Recovery Software to the iSeries
June 7, 2005 Alex Woodie
In the 2004 movie “Napoleon Dynamite,” Napoleon’s Uncle Rico is presented with a device purported to be a time machine. Eager to relive his high school football championship game, Uncle Rico sets the dial for 1982, plugs the machine into the power supply, and then places the machine, per the directions, right between his legs. While things did not work out well for Uncle Rico, iSeries shops looking to travel back in time to find versions of their files they thought were lost now have a solution in Atempo‘s Time Navigator.
OK, Time Navigator doesn’t actually support time travel (at least not with version 4.0, which debuted in April). But the cross-platform backup and recovery software, which Atempo refers to as an information lifecycle management (ILM) solution to reflect the growing significance of archiving in this age of compliance, does have some pretty cool features designed to make it easier for users to track down and restore specific versions of files–the proverbial needle in the haystack of data.
Last week the Silicon Valley company unveiled a Time Navigator agent for iSeries servers, enabling Time Navigator users to backup, archive, and recover their OS/400 data in the same way they have been able to do with their Windows, Linux, Unix, OS X, VMS, and NetWare systems.
Time Navigator supports several ways to import data from primary systems, including taking snapshots (via Microsoft Shadow Copy or NetApp), real-time replication, or doing traditional backups to secondary disk, tape, or archival media. For iSeries, Time Navigator uses IBM‘s OS/400 save commands, enabling it to backup all data on the iSeries, no matter if it resides in OS/400, AIX, or Linux partitions.
As an ILM solution, Time Navigator permits users to set up and execute data retention and migration schedules, which, for example, enable customers to do their first backup to secondary disk, move the data to tape for mid-term storage, and then onto WORM media for long-term archiving.
What really sets Time Navigator apart from other backup and recovery and ILM products, however, is how it does restores, company officials say. Through the product’s “image-oriented navigation” GUI, users can see representations of their libraries and files as they existed at any point in time. This feature is handy when users need to restore a deleted or damaged file, but they don’t know where to look, says Stephen Terlizzi, Atempos’ vice president of global marketing.
“What happens is, somebody calls the administrator and says, ‘I lost a file.’ The administrator asks, ‘When did you lose it?’ and the user responds ‘Sometime in last three days.’ ‘What’s the name of the file and where did you store it?’ the administrator asks. ‘I don’t know.’ With our system, because we have wildcarding capability and image-oriented navigation down to the file level, it’s very easy to find and restore files.”
To find that file lost in the past three days using other backup and recovery products, the administrators would load the backup tapes for each day within the recovery period, and look for the data, Terlizzi says. “We store all the file info–what the system looked like–and keep it in our relational database. When you see the visualization [the image-oriented navigation GUI] we’re really interrogating the metadata. We also know where that data is stored. Whether it’s on tape, offsite, or on a D2D appliance–regardless of how you backed it up, we know where it is.”
Another key feature is its “synthetic backup” mode, which reduces the time to do a full system backup by re-creating the full backup from incremental backups while offline.
Atempo supports a full range of back-end data storage devices, including most types of tape libraries. Installed on a Unix, Windows, Linux or Mac OS X server, it’s backup software also enables users to implement a virtual tape library (VTL) utilizing cheap SATA disks.
The company decided to support OS/400 at the request of some of its largest customers, Terlizzi said. “When they looked at data protection, the AS/400 was always off on its own, managed separately. We were able to bring it in and provide common data protection.”
Atempo also looked at the existing market for OS/400 backup and recovery tools, and found an opportunity for cross-platform tools. “When we went in and looked at the market, the utilities were simple utilities, and the only other option [for cross-platform backup and recovery] was to use Tivoli. Tivoli is a very complex model to use on the AS/400, and it involved direct connections to AS/400 that couldn’t be used by other devices.”
While Terlizzi didn’t mention it at first, IBM’s inexplicable lack of support for i5/OS with Tivoli Storage Manager was another factor in the decision to jump into this market.
Atempo has the backing of IBM Rochester with its iSeries agent for Time Navigator. “Time Navigator is tailor made for IBM’s iSeries systems,” says John Quarantello, IBM iSeries manager for solutions enablement. “Atempo gives iSeries users a world-class data protection solution that is nimble and flexible because it works across multiple heterogeneous storage infrastructure.”
Pricing for the OS/400 agent is tier-based and starts at $1,000 for a P05 box, and ranges up to $12,000 for a P60 box. The full Time Navigator solution (including the iSeries agent), would start at about $5,500. More information is available at www.atempo.com.