Bakbone has produced a new, integrated data protection range that it claims will deal not only with backup and recovery but also replication, mirroring, snapshots and the business processes that determine what needs protecting and how.

Large-scale SRM (storage resource management) tools have failed to set the market alight, the company claimed, and so its bottom-up approach to the topic (a kind of SRM-Lite it calls Integrated Data Protection (IDP)) could be a much more digestible way to get data storage processes aligned with business processes.

The first tool in the IDP range is NetVault: Report Manager, developed with Otium Software, which monitors and reports on BakBone's existing NetVault software.The company is working to integrate it with the data replication software it acquired last week in a $5 million purchase of US developer Constant Data.

BakBone's European VP Chris Ross said that IDP's building block approach let customers keep track of which backups worked and which didn't, and whether the right data is being protected in the right way.

One user claimed the software had already reducing admin loads. "We've been able to cut our backup administration effort in half and increase our customer-support operations by taking advantage of NetVault: Report Manager, along with NetVault: Backup software and its virtual disk library (VDL) backup to disk capabilities," said Cherry Campbell, a director at serviced office company The Hot Office. "We no longer have to check disk space or worry if a backup performed properly,"

Ross acknowledged that any software developer can - and probably will - claim that it's going to make all its various products work together. He claimed though that BakBone is in a better position than many others to deliver on this, because it is not in the position of already having a portfolio of existing apps that must be forced from the top down to fit into a new framework.

Instead, he said the company is able to pick and choose the technology - whether developed in-house, bought in or developed with partners - that best integrates with what it already has, and manage it all from a single console. However, he said that IDP would only encompass software from BakBone and its partners, with no plans to allow third-party applications to come under its umbrella.

That could be the strategy's Achilles heel, if one of BakBone's rivals is correct. "There's an awful lot more you need to worry about to keep your data protected than backup reporting," stated Jim McDonald, CTO of data protection management specialist WysDM.

For example, a backup might need to happen within a specific time window, he said, or there could be data-retention issues, or with multi-tier applications it might be necessary to backup a whole set of servers together in order to protect that application. That means the DPM tool must integrate with a wide range of traditional and non-traditional backup software.

He argued that rather than being a step on the way to SRM, data protection management (DPM) is a separate discipline linked to business policies and processes, with SRM being merely the mechanism that applies DPM policies to the underlying technology.