More data, shrinking backup windows and less time for recovery translate into a troubled future for traditional backup. This is why snapshots and replication are being hailed as a way to address these problems for a new future for data protection and recovery. However there is just one small problem with that vision: they add complexity and fail to offer all of backup software’s features. The CommVault IntelliSnap Recovery Manager removes the roadblocks to taking full advantage of hardware snapshots by making the management and recovery of them consistent, practical to implement and easy to manage even as it retains backup software’s key advantages.
Recent analyst reports highlight how snapshots are complementing or even supplanting backup in more data protection strategies. A recent Gartner study opined that by 2015 25% of large enterprises will have given up on conventional backup/recovery software and employ snapshots instead. A separate study by ESG found that 55% of respondents will be enhancing or replacing traditional backup with a combination of snapshots, replication or both.
While these statistics forecast a promising future for snapshots, what they fail to reveal is the challenges associated with implementing and then managing them. Consider:
- Implemented differently on each array. Dell EqualLogic implements and manages its array-based snapshots and replication one way. EMC VNX implements and manages them another. On NetApp arrays still another. Organizations that use arrays from different vendors or, in some cases, multiple array models from the same vendor will have limited or no central means to manage these snapshots.
- Limited visibility into snapshot data. Array-based tools provide limited or no index of the data included in the snapshots data. As such, unless recovering the entire volume, administrators will have to mount the entire volume and then hunt and peck through it to do granular for individual recovery of files, emails or database tables.
- Minimal or no application awareness. Just because a snapshot exists does not mean the data in it is in a recoverable state. If the data was not in a consistent format at the time the snapshot occurred, the data may not be recoverable. Many array-based snapshot technologies do not have this integration to provide this application awareness or to make it happen requires manual processes and scripting.
These are just some of the challenges that organizations face as they seek to incorporate snapshots into their protection processes. Most want (whether they realize it yet or not) as they head down this path a combination of the application integration, automation and indexing capabilities available in backup software with the speed of recovery that snapshots provide. Further, they want snapshots to be able to do it easily, with limited effort for ongoing management at an affordable price.
The newly announced CommVault IntelliSnap Recovery Manager delivers on these prerequisites that organizations have. The underlying snapshot management and recovery software included in the IntelliSnap Recovery Manager offering is not “new.” CommVault has used it for some time to manage snapshots across a number of arrays including those from Dell, EMC, HP, HDS, NetApp, Fujitsu, Nimble and others. What is new is how CommVault is offering this capability as a lightweight software solution on its own.
IntelliSnap Recovery Manager brings together under one console the best of what hardware snapshots have to offer with the recovery capabilities offered by backup software.
- Indexing snapshots. In its IntelliSnap Recovery Manager (IRM), CommVault leverages its expertise in data management to index the data in snapshots so organizations can manage recover this data in a similar manner as they are accustomed. Using IRM, they can do point and click granular recoveries down to the file, email or object level from a snapshot.
- Application awareness. CommVault eliminates concerns about whether array-based snapshot features integrate with applications like Microsoft Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, and files and VMware. CommVault brings forward its integration and awareness of these applications so application consistent snapshots may be created and successful recoveries occur.
- Broad based array snapshot support. CommVault integrates with the snapshot and replication features from multiple array vendors so that regardless if an organization is using snapshots on one array or more than one, they may all be managed in a consistent way from the IntelliSnap Recovery Manager console. CommVault also offers its own IntelliSnap Connect Program so that array vendors not currently managed by CommVault have a path to integration with the IntelliSnap Recovery Manager.
- Affordable. The IntelliSnap Recovery Manager is available at an MSRP of $10,000 for 25 physical host client licenses. Making this so affordable is that a physical client includes physical hypervisor hosts. So whether a physical VMware ESX server has 10 or 100 guest VMs on it, it still only counts as one (1) client license. Further, it makes no different whether an organization has one (1) storage array or ten (10) or more connected to those hosts and is using CommVault to manage the snapshots on them.
Enterprises of all sizes are looking to transition to using snapshots as a means to supplement their current data protection and recovery without the implementation and management of snapshots becoming a hassle. Using CommVault’s IntelliSnap Recovery Manager, any size enterprise now may cost and time effectively introduce snapshots into their environment to take full advantage of what snapshots have to offer.