In-Depth

Editor's Choice: Backup

<b>Winner: </b>CommVault Systems Galaxy<br> <br> <b>Honorable Mention: </b><a href="#ultrabac">Ultrabac Software UltraBac 7</a>

Galaxy $1,895 single server  CommVault Systems; 732-870-4000; www.commvault.com

Let’s say you had all the money in the world and had to pick the best backup software. What would it be? For me, it’s CommVault’s Galaxy. My reasons are simple: The interface is easy to work with, and the support and training teams behind the product are first rate. Also, I like Galaxy’s approach to enterprise storage: It views backup data logically instead of physically. This means that to do a restore, I just have to tell Galaxy the time to bring a system back to. Galaxy figures out the media that’s needed.

You start, quite simply, with a system that manages all your other systems, called the CommServe. The CommServe keeps track of your MediaAgents (which are the systems that control your standalone drives, RAID arrays, libraries and so on). In addition, you install agents (called iDataAgents) on all the servers you need to manage. So, your file server would get a File Server iDA, while your Exchange server might get an iDA for the database backup or, if you want a more granular approach, an iDA for individual mailbox backups. Keep in mind that the mailbox iDA takes quite a bit longer to accomplish than its database counterpart, but it allows single-message restores for those times when the senior partner calls and says, “I need a message I deleted three weeks ago. Your job depends on it!” All of these portions of the architecture (the CommServe, MediaAgents and iDataAgents) make up what’s been termed the CommCell. This entire structure can be managed through a single console, which can run through a Java-enabled Web browser or through an MMC console.

CommVault Systems Galaxy
CommVault Galaxy lets you view and manage the CommCell structure via a Java applet window. (Click image to view larger version.)

Galaxy integrates well with the key players in the SAN/NAS industry such as Brocade, EMC, Compaq and Network Appliance. LAN-free backups (for both SAN and NAS environments) and server-free and serverless backup are available within a SAN environment.

Honorable Mention

UltraBac 7
$495 (Single Server Edition) and $1,095 (Enterprise Edition)
UltraBac Software, 425-644-6000
www.ultrabac.com

But there’s another mid-level data management software you may decide to ponder. UltraBac is easy to install, configure and manage. It offers a subset of comparable features, like a SQL agent and an Exchange 5.5/2000 agents (although it doesn’t provide the same level of abilities as high-end enterprise solutions). UltraBac does support some cool things like active cluster backups. It also has a new FTP device that allows an administrator to perform backup and restore operations to any FTP server connected to the Internet by simply entering the FTP server’s address as the backup path. UltraBac then “pushes” a compressed data stream to the designated FTP server. This new feature allows organizations easily to store data offsite or centralize data from remote-site backups.

About the Author

J. Peter is a Microsoft MVP (Office Servers and Services) and has received this award for 7 consecutive years. He's an internationally published author and technical speaker. J. Peter is a technical journalist for InfoWorld and has cared for the Enterprise Windows column for nearly a decade. He's the co-founder of both ClipTraining and Conversational Geek and a strategic technical consultant for Mimecast. Follow him on Twitter @JPBruzzese

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