NetApp, Syncsort team up on data protection

A single product combines backup, recovery, snapshots, deduplication and storage capacity

NetApp and Syncsort are bringing storage and data protection together in a single product, NetApp Syncsort Integrated Backup, to offer quick backup and restoration of an enterprise's data.

Syncsort is a longtime provider of data protection software, and its products have already been integrated with NetApp's storage systems in some large organizations, including the U.S. Marine Corps, according to Syncsort Chief Marketing Officer Sean Ford. Delivering the two together will make the technology easier to buy and to configure in small and medium-sized enterprises, he said.

The Integrated Backup product combines Syncsort BEX data protection software, NetApp Protection Pack software and NetApp FAS2040-series disk systems. It is set to be announced on Tuesday at the VMworld conference in San Francisco and will be available immediately through distributors Avnet Technology Solutions and Arrow ECS, which between them supply products to about 800 resellers, Ford said.

Together, the technologies offer a range of options for backing up and restoring data, including capturing quick snapshots, maintaining a mirror of the content at a remote site and creating a new virtual machine that accesses the backup data to keep an application going. The last feature is designed to let companies get their systems back up in just a few minutes by putting off the process of restoring data to its primary location, Ford said.

"What we give you is the luxury of planning that. ... You're driving the disaster instead of the disaster driving you," Ford said.

Because it only backs up the data from a server once, the NetApp Syncsort system can reduce backup times by as much as 95 percent, from about three or four hours per server to five or 10 minutes, Ford said. It can cut restoration time similarly, he said.

The product also takes advantage of NetApp's software, including its data deduplication capability, which reduces the amount of space required to back up a given file.

Medium-sized enterprises, between 100 and 1,000 employees, may have the most to gain from the integrated product, according to Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse.

"Data has to be protected, no matter what size company you are," Whitehouse said.

They often use backup systems that run at a set time and back up more data than they need to, she said. These programs can be unreliable and time-consuming, getting held up because a file is still open or a tape drive isn't ready. As the enterprise accumulates data, the time window required for a full backup grows longer.

The product might also help large enterprises simplify data protection at branch offices, Whitehouse said. With one disk array at the main site and another at the remote site, Integrated Backup could mirror the data, she said. All-in-one systems are ideal for branch sites, where there may be limited on-site IT support, she said.

The NetApp Syncsort product is available in nine standard configurations. The entry-level configuration carries a list price below US$70,000, not including maintenance, for 8TB of usable capacity. The largest standard configuration can use 68TB of capacity for less than $7,000 per terabyte. Beyond the standard configurations, the product can scale up to hundreds of terabytes, according to SyncSort.

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