EMC enhances storage management for virtual environments

EMC's NetWorker backup and recovery software will now support Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization system

In a bid to make backup and recovery easier for IT administrators to handle, EMC is updating several pieces of its storage management software portfolio.

Along with the dramatic expansion in demand for storage capacity, enterprises are grappling with changes wrought by virtualization and growing regulatory compliance needs, according to Dan Cobb, chief technology officer of EMC's storage software division. The changes announced Tuesday are intended to make the company's software better address those needs and integrate more management tools in a single interface.

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EMC's NetWorker, an overall backup and recovery software platform designed for enterprises, will now support Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization system. It will be able to analyze and control both an overall Hyper-V virtual environment and the individual virtual machines within it, EMC said. The new NetWorker will also be better able to work with EMC's own VMware virtualization platform.

As an example of what NetWorker can do to manage storage in a virtual environment, the software can track the creation of new virtual servers and monitor the inventory of both physical and virtual servers. After new virtual servers are created, the software can find those that don't yet have backup and recovery protection, and then apply it to them. Depending on how the administrator sets parameters, the new virtual servers can pick up existing enterprise backup policies or administrators can create new ones, Cobb said.

Data Protection Advisor, EMC's application for analyzing and reporting on data protection, also is getting better VMware support. DPA already could monitor servers in virtual environments, but now it can monitor the entire virtualization environment and manage the data-protection risk there, Cobb said. For example, a backup operation for one virtual server often affects another one because they share physical resources and network bandwidth. DPA can now analyze that situation and inform an administrator, who may solve it by staggering the backup times for those virtual servers.

Users of DPA will also be able to get more information about how they are benefiting from data de-duplication, which removes extra copies of pieces of data in order to save space, Cobb said. For example, administrators will be able to see the compression ratios that have been achieved, he said.

EMC's Avamar, a backup and recovery application for smaller organizations and sites as well as enterprises, will also gain some enhancements in a new version. The software is often deployed along with a disk array as an appliance, using RAIN (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Nodes) technology. Among other things, the new version will support smaller RAIN configurations for greater total backup capacity, Cobb said.

RecoverPoint, the company's recovery tool for storage arrays, also is being updated. Among its added features are support for Microsoft clustering, for smoother failover of Microsoft Windows Server cluster nodes, and the ability to replicate virtual provisioned LUNs (logical unit numbers) on EMC's Clariion networked storage systems.

NetWorker, version 7.5, and Data Protection Advisor, version 5.0, will be generally available starting Dec. 23. Avamar, version 4.1, will be generally available Dec. 5. RecoverPoint will be available Nov. 21.

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