Simpana Aims to Simplify Storage Virtualization

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Oct 6, 2010

More on server virtualization

The argument that servers, storage and networking are converging has been made multiple times. This becomes even more true when the servers are virtual and the storage and networking components are virtualized.

With version 9 of its flagship product, Simpana, CommVault is taking a 'modern approach' to data management -- and the way it manages virtual machines is key.

CommVault unveiled the next version of Simpana, its flagship data protection suite, on Tuesday. CommVault describes the new release as "Modern Data Management, a radically new approach to how data is protected, recovered and managed to improve operational efficiency, IT agility and reduce costs." Virtualization is key to this approach.

Despite Simpana's classification as a storage product, version 9 brings a host of benefits to virtualization and cloud users. For starters, Simpana 9 brings CommVault's SnapProtect snapshot technology to the virtual realm, resulting in what it describes as "automated, reactive policies to protect hundreds of virtual machines in minutes without sacrificing recovery, storage economics or performance."

CommVault (NASDAQ: CVL) believes SnapProtect will turn out to be a real game changer. Don Foster, senior product manager at CommVault, told ServerWatch that the software can backup as many as 500 VMs in less than 17 minutes, with full recovery possible for any virtual machine in the set, using SnapProtect.

To do this, it first employs autodiscovery capabilities to discover new VMs and add matches, based on admin-set policies. That group is then protected as a set in a "job." This is intended to minimize sprawl. The VM set is then paused, to ensure application consistency, and a snapshot of the VM data store is triggered. The VM is now considered "recovery ready," with a Mount snap/image and catalog each for VM that is then sent to a virtual client via an ESX proxy. This can then be repeated as often as necessary to keep backups current with no impact to production-tier VMs or ESX hosts.

The result, Foster said, is greater granularity and smaller backup windows because much less data is being transferred.

While these features are a boon to virtualization, they are meant to benefit the physical storage environment as well. For a more comprehensive look at Simpanna 9, check out InfoStor's deep dive.

Amy Newman is the senior managing editor of ServerWatch and Enterprise IT Planet. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, published by Pearson in October 2009.

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