Note: 2nd of 3 updates on new product announcements for this week. The 3rd installment will cover what is new with NetWorker 7.5.
I thought I would take the opportunity in the second of my product update discussion to discuss one of the lesser know, but most relevant and useful products in the lineup: Data Protection Advisor (formerly known as EMC Backup Advisor, and prior to that as WysDM). Data Protection Advisor, or DPA, fills a big gap for most backup and recovery administrators: the reporting, diagnostics, and analysis of their environment in a useful way.
Notice that I say useful: having 400 canned "reports" does nobody any good if the reports are not useful and relevant.
It has been a signficant and ongoing problem for most backup applications that it is difficult to impossible to get useful, relevant, timely, information on the functioning of the application and the environment. Never mind helpful diagnostics with root cause analysis, trending reports, or even a simple, easy to read and comprehend view of backup successes and failures. Or executive level reporting. Or dynamic web reporting. You get the picture.
DPA helps backup administrators understand just what the heck is going on when something goes wrong. Is it the backup host, switch, IP network, backup client, backup client's disk subsystem, or virtual tape drive that is causing performance degradation or backup failures? Considering that backup touches almost every layer of the IT infrastructure, it can be tough to figure out where the problems are.
DPA is all about the analysis of this stack to find the root cause of problems with backup. DPA also helps understand growth, trends, and where you are going and how fast you are going to get there. And finally, it helps to report these to the various levels of people that care: from the backup administrator to the operations manager and up, with the level of detail that they care about.
So that is why DPA is important. I can certainly discuss more on the core capabilities of DPA if anybody is interested. There is a lot to go into, more than I can quickly cover here. So to the real point of this post: what is new with DPA 5.0?
There are three key functionality updates that come with 5.0:
- Celerra support. Brings the level of support for Celerra systems up to the level that NetApp filers (ahem) have enjoyed for a while with DPA. That means Celerras get capacity reporting, resource utilization reporting, capacity trending, configuration discovery, change reporting, and resource utilization reporting.
- Avamar support. Includes support for Avamar 4.0 and 4.1, with improved reporting on deduplication ratios, reporting on replication and housekeeping activities on the server, job scheduling reporting, and so forth. And yes, we do support reporting against Data Domain systems, including configuration, status, performance, capacity, replication, and error reporting.
- VMware support. DPA's VMware support works with ESX 3.0 and greater. And it is really a way of bringing the same level of understanding to VMware that we have brought to "traditional" environments. It is a way of identifying what VMs and resources exist, what VMs have been added, modified, or removed, and report against how well their data is protected. Which backups are succeeding and which are not? How fast is the data growing? What deduplication ratios are being achieved? Which VMs are NOT being backed up? And when do schedules overlap for VMs on the same ESX host?
So that is the new stuff. DPA also works with all major (and many minor) backup applications: TSM, NetBackup, NetWorker, Data Protector, Backup Exec, Pure Disk, Avamar, etc. And it supports pretty much any physical device set that you are likely to find in a backup enviornment.
DPA 5.0 is generally available on December 23, 2008.