Bocada has been in the data protection management (DPM) reporting business since 2001. It's accumulated a lot of experience in the area. We've talked with Nancy Hurley, Bocada's VP of marketing and business development, about what's happening with DPM and where it and Bocada's product is going. It might be worthwhile comparing the answers with the equivalent answers by WysDM to the same questions.

Nancy Hurley's replies have been edited for space reasons.

TW: What is your view of the data protection reporting/management needs of your customers now and going forward?

NH: When Bocada launched the first product to perform heterogeneous backup reporting (Bocada Enterprise 1.0) back in 2001, we were focused on solving a key pain point that all customers have - answering the question of “did my backups complete and is my data recoverable?” At that time backup applications did not do an effective job of reporting on success and failures of backup jobs, and provided little visibility into the cause of failures and the impact they had on the business. In addition, customers with multiple backup applications had no way to consolidate that information into a single view to understand the health of the overall backup environment. By providing a solution that enabled customers to view the status of all backup jobs, drill down to find the cause of failures, and keep historical trending information to help with capacity planning and infrastructure optimization Bocada helped hundreds of companies address those critical data protection concerns.

... Many of our customers find Bocada Enterprise is an enabler of services management and is essential in reducing operational risk. ... Many IT organizations are expected to deliver on service level agreements (SLA’s) that guarantee data is effectively protected and is recoverable in a specific period of time (RPO’s & RTO’s). ... Customers can use DPM solutions to first set the policies that define the SLA and then monitor the success rate and publish reports out to end user customers. Many Bocada Enterprise customers are actually managed service providers that use the product to monitor and communicate the SLA success rates.

Eventually all organizations will be subject to some type of regulatory audit, whether internal or external. Our customers have successfully passed multiple audits using Bocada Enterprise. The extensive reports enable organizations to prove they are making best efforts to protect data and that critical data is recoverable. ... We expect more and more customers will require DPM solutions in order to meet corporate governance and compliance audits and reduce overall operational risk.

TW: Should a DPM reporter cover all data protection operations? E.g.snapshots, mirrors, replication (async and sync), fixed content reference storage (like EMC Centera, HP RISS), backup to virtual tape libraries, all backup software products, backup to tape autoloaders, backup to tape libraries, off-site electronic vaulting, archive to optical media and devices (e.g. UDO), file archiving, e-mail archiving, database archiving, encrypting data, fixed content data to a content-addressed store or similar.

NH:It is important to better define the difference between data protection and data archiving. While many customers still use backup processes to archive data, there is a difference between data protection and archive applications. The best distinction I have read was that data protection should be used to ensure data recovery, and archiving solutions should be used for e-discovery.

Some of the technologies listed here are focused on migration and archiving including:

Fixed content reference storage (like EMC Centera, HP RISS),file archiving, e-mail archiving and database archiving. While it would be valuable for DPM solutions to have links to these applications in order to have visibility into where archives are stored; covering these applications would not necessarily be core to a DPM solution. However expect partnerships in this space in the future.

The other technologies listed are core to an organisation's data protection infrastructure and should be covered by DPM solutions. DPM should cover backup to both disk and tape, and drill down into the media occupancy and content. Our customers are very interested in replication reporting and Bocada will support replication applications in the near future.

However, it is important to note that certain technologies like snap and mirroring are often implemented by different administrators than those that run the backup environment, and we have not heard as much demand for support for those technologies to date. However, over time as management of overall data protection becomes more centralised the requirement may evolve and DPM should support that need.

TW: Does your software product do this?

NH: Bocada Enterprise 4.02 supports the broadest number of backup applications of any DPM solution on the market including those from Symantec, EMC/Legato, CA, IBM and HP. Expect additional backup application support over the course of the next year. Bocada Enterprise supports both disk and tape environments, and will support replication in the near future.

TW: What is the product development strategy for your DPM product?

NH: We will continue to develop Bocada Enterprise according to the needs of our customers, and as said before, we see that there is a continuum of needs that evolve as the usage patterns “mature”. While Bocada supports the widest range of backup applications in the industry, we will also add support of additional data protection applications as well as updates to the applications we provide today (for example, when a backup application adds CDP or replication functionality).

Of course we will continue to provide in-depth error analysis and trending for effective planning and cost analysis. Expect to see modules that provide in depth reporting and drill down for specific applications and business requirements - such as our TSM Power Suite, the upcoming Media Module and other yet to be announced modules. Our customers are using the product for compliance audits and risk management and e-discovery, you can expect to see much more focus in this area.

TW: Will it evolve to cover more of these categories?

NH: As I said, our intent is to cover additional data protection technologies as customer demand dictates. We are also aware that the historical information kept in the Bocada Enterprise database has a wealth of information we can mine to add more value to our customers around archive, media location, performance analysis etc, and we intend to continue to broaden the value add of the product in the overall data protection management market.

TW: Does it have a roadmap to evolve to cover all of them?

NH: Replication support, additional backup support, enhanced reporting modules, and in depth media management are including in the roadmap. Again, for the reasons stated above, the archive solutions are not on the roadmap today.

TW: Are there specific problems in these various data protection operations that hinder your DPM product reporting on them?

NH: There are no specific problems that would hinder support - bottom line our roadmap is driven by customer demand and the recognized need to fill data protection management gaps.

TW: Does DPM have to evolve into uDPM (universal DPM) so as to cover all the electronic data protection activities of an enterprise?

NH: That would be ideal, but again there are some caveats. Data protection applications and archive applications are different, covering all of the possible combinations of backup, replication, snap, and file and database archiving solutions would be very difficult for any single vendor. Every customer’s environment and choice of application vendors will be different. Instead the development of a frame work and some common API’s would be more realistic. In Bocada’s case, our application has always been open and can be integrated with other reporting solutions- and this may be the best way to approach the broader “uDPM” concept.

Of course this will be driven by customer demand. Currently we see customers wanting integration with trouble ticketing and auditing solutions so the overall framework may need to be broader than data protection activities.

TW: Does it need an enterprise-wide data protection policy?

NH: Customers should definitely create an enterprise-wide data protection policy, and DPM solutions can help them devise those policies - however it is not up to the DPM solution to determine the customer’s policies.

TW: Does it need a standard interface (APPI) to all data protection hardware and software products rather than product-specific interfaces? Could you explain your answer please (say why or why not)?

NH: Standard APIs absolutely make it easier to gather information from applications, however just as with other standards like SNMP and SMI-S, vendors will always add on additional value added management functionality that will be proprietary. Also, as each data protection technology is very different (example TSM is significantly different than other backup applications) it may be difficult to have a standard interface that provides enough information to be valuable for DPM solutions. That said - we would like to work toward as common an interface as possible.

TW: If it does should this interface be the SNIA's SMI-S? Why? If not then what other interface could be used?

NH: SNIA would be the best place to drive any such standard.