Ken Horner, senior vice president at BakBone, was pleased to learn that his company’s NetVault Backup won Datamation’s Enterprise Linux Product of the Year Award by a large margin over such notable contenders as Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux, Novell’s OpenSUSE, and XenSource’s XenEnterprise.
At the same time, Horner doesn’t see the other finalists as competition but rather as potential partners. The success of operating systems like Unbreakable Linux and OpenSUSE “demonstrates the whole momentum behind Linux vs. years ago when it was seen more as an academic option,” he says. “When companies like Oracle and Novell get involved, it shows that Linux has entered the mainstream and is a viable commercial option.”
NetVault backup is designed to work with all the different flavors of Linux, Unix (including Mac OS X), and Windows through its flexible modular architecture that sits on top of the server OS. Its comprehensive backup, recovery, and availability capabilities attest to its developers’ understanding that most IT environments are heterogeneous. Rather than employing a different backup and recovery solution for each OS that runs on the network, NetVault Backup works with all of them. Moreover, NetVault’s capabilities are consistent across all the operating systems it backs up.
NetVault works so well because of BakBone’s extensive virtual machine strategy, which Horner calls FISTS, which is short for Flexibility, Integration, Scalability, TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), and Simplicity.
According to Horner, NetVault is flexible because it uses an object-oriented infrastructure that isn’t tied to an OS—which is why it works so well in heterogeneous environments. Its integration capabilities allows users to use it to back up from any combination of hard drive or tape-based storage setups to any other storage setup—and it works equally well with virtual file storage solutions.
Its scalability allows users to back up from one machine to several and vice-versa. Its simplicity is evident in its easy installation and uniform GUI interface. Its TCO results from its usability and uniformity, which allows for a lower cost of deployment, lower training costs, and its ability to leverage a network’s current storage solutions, rather than having to shell out for new ones.
Derek Balling, manager of systems administration at Vassar College, says that his department chose NetVault Backup because the software maximized its network’s ability to retain the use of existing hardware it had been using in its prior “homebrew” backup system.
“When we had set out on the process of finding a new, commercially supported backup solution, we had created a whiteboard full of ‘wish list items,’” Balling explains. “The more we investigated NetVault Backup, the more we realized that every one of our wish list items was filled by the product.”
Balling says that he is very satisfied with NetVault’s performance. “Using [NetVault’s] Smart Clients [technology] for nearline backups and automated duplication to LTO (Linear Tape-Open) tapes for offsite storage, we’ve been able to get our backups stable and completed within our backup window, which had previously been a huge problem,” he says.
According to Horner, BakBone realized that storage management typically is the biggest cost of storage, rather than hard disks, tapes, and software. As a result BakBone has developed NetVault Backup with simplicity in mind. “Too often, the assumption is that the best technology is the most complex, but it’s not best for users if only 10-to-20 percent of its features are used,” Horner says.