Data backup would be so much easier if it could be done by software alone. Unfortunately it can't, but given that storage hardware systems - disk or tape - are still required, and the means by which they are accessed locally and remotely are varied, the process is getting more and more sophisticated.
According to Seagate Software, the benefits of a storage area network (SAN) are becoming more apparent.
For VARs and system integrators, this represents a business opportunity, and yet another potential area of specialisation and expertise.
Seagate Software, which is expected to soon be known as Veritas, has announced a program to certify hardware partners, and eventually its reseller partners, to provide end-to-end Fibre Channel SAN solutions.
One Sydney-based integrator, Connections (TSIP), is in the process of implementing a pilot Fibre Channel SAN. The organisation has been working closely with Seagate and Compaq to deliver a solution that not only achieves the backup speed and security required by the customer but provides some cost savings.
"The solution freed up a total of 15 dedicated DLT drives," said Connections account manager Bob Tuttlebee. He agreed there is huge business potential in such SAN solutions for the larger enterprise customers.
According to Greg Wyman, regional sales director of Seagate Software for the network and storage management group: "The software is the brains of the backup system, and all of the associated functions have to be managed as part of an integrated data backup solution."
Processes become critical
It's a message Seagate has been touting for some time, but as hardware and media reach performance levels that provide real productivity gains, the management associated with a customer's backup processes appears to becoming even more critical.
"We are talking about customers who will go bankrupt if they do not back up reliably - with one backing up at 500MB a minute - and they can't lose the data," Wyman said.
Among the Fibre Channel SAN hardware vendor partners approved by Seagate Software are Compaq, Dell, Exabyte, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and StorageTek.