Over the past decade, EMC has made significant investments in the data protection space. Some examples include NetWorker, Avamar and Data Domain Purpose Built Backup Appliances. Each time one of these acquisitions were made, there were predictions about how the other members of the protection portfolio would fall by the way side. Almost 10 years later, however, each member of the EMC data protection portfolio has an improved standalone product and is a vastly improved integrated member of that portfolio. NetWorker is no exception.
Previous to the latest version 8 release, NetWorker was a very tape centric architecture. With version 8, significant changes were made to the architecture to make it better suited to backing up to disk based devices like Data Domain.
An example of this is how NetWorker can now create a virtual synthetic full backup without having to re-copy data within the disk backup device; like it would with tape. It can now logically “sew” together the right backup jobs to present a new full backup image. This capability effectively eliminates the need to do full backups.
Snapshot management is also improved in NetWorker 8 and the functionality operates directly from the GUI; eliminating the need for scripting. It can also automatically discover block based LUNs presented by VMAX, VNX and RecoverPoint. Snapshot Management can also leverage NetWorker’s application intelligence to quiesce applications prior to the snapshot being taken.
In addition, restores can be made at volume level or by file or directory.The constant demand on IT is “do more with less”. Integrated snapshot is an excellent example of delivering on this promise. Now data protection can all be done by the data protection team without having to involve the storage or applications teams.
Block Based Backup
NetWorker in version 8 also brings block based backup to windows bare metal systems. This technology is similar to change block tracking technology (CBT) that is leveraged when protecting VMware virtual machines. Like snapshot protection, CBT can do granular recovery of data from these block based backups. With this technology, backups of bare metal systems can be up tp 20X faster than traditional file based backups. Finally, these images can be cloned to tape for long-term storage if desired.
Data Domain Optimization
NetWorker version 8 also added support for DD Boost over fibre channel. Formerly, NetWorker only supported DD Boost over IP. Fibre channel environments had to use the much more complicated VTL option. Now with DD Boost FC, backup administrators have a simpler and faster backup and recovery solutionfor fibre channel data protection workflows.
One of the most interesting features of NetWorker is how it now shares so much technology with Avamar. Much of the client and application protection code, as well as the VMware data protection technology, is now a common code base. For detail on these capabilities see our Avamar briefing note.
Storage Swiss Take
As the data center continues to become more “cloud-like”, data protection requires a portfolio of protection options that can work together to accomplish organization’s backup and recovery goals. NetWorker is an excellent example of one of those options; providing the foundational protection that a data center needs. EMC continues to improve NetWorker as a standalone product, as well as continue its integration with the EMC data protection portfolio.