Symantec snapshot of virtual tape libraries

Symantec snapshot of virtual tape libraries

On Tuesday Symantec released a native application programming interface (API) for the next version of NetBackup -- its enterprise-class back-up software -- that will allow it to manage leading virtual tape libraries (VTL) and other secondary storage devices, giving users a single view of their tiered back-up environment.

At its most basic, Symantec's new OpenStorage API allows VTLs to integrate natively with NetBackup, which replaces management utilities offered by secondary storage disk-array vendors.

"The real goal is to have everything managed through NetBackup," says Matt Kixmoeller, senior director of product management for NetBackup.

While storage vendors are beginning their development work now with the API, it will be included in Version 6.5 of NetBackup, due out in the second quarter of 2007. Vendors that have so far signed up to integrate their secondary-disk storage systems with NetBackup's new API include EMC , Network Appliance, Copan Systems, Sun Microsystems, FalconStor Software, Data Domain, Sepaton and Diligent Technologies.

Participating vendors pay a fee to use the OpenStorage API, but Symantec says it will be up to those vendors as to whether users will absorb any additional cost for VTLs and other storage devices using the API. Symantec says it will not charge users for the added feature in NetBackup 6.5.

Kixmoeller says NetBackup 6.5 will now offer advanced features for participating VTLs and other secondary storage arrays, such as Copan's massive array of idle disks, or MAID. Those features include setting storage life-cycle policies, media server capacity management, load balancing, shared disk between multiple media servers, duplication or replication, and data de-duplication.

Still missing from NetBackup is the ability to catalogue copies of virtual tapes on disk arrays once when they have been migrated to a physical tape through some VTLs, meaning NetBackup doesn't know that copy of data exists.

"Just because we're adding this API doesn't mean we're not going to continue to enhance virtual tape as well. That particular issue we're also working to resolve in the next release of NetBackup with virtual tape," Kixmoeller says.

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