Start-up Illuminator has announced a data protection management reporting tool that embraces both snapshot and replication, as well as backup. Current DPM tools from vendors such as Wysdm and Bocada only include reporting from heterogeneous backup products.

Illuminator’s Virtual Recovery Engine (VRE) is a recovery management software that ensures customers’ data protection investments will pay off in operational and disaster recovery scenarios. It not only reports on snapshot, replication and backup activities but connects them to applications and can verify that the protection activities took place and were valid in protecting data. For example, a replication that has not been set up, leaving an application un-protected, can be flagged via red graphics on a bar chart.

Brad O'Neill, a senior analyst at the Taneja Group, said: "customers definitively state that tools like Illuminator represent a distinct new approach. Specifically, these technologies provide more insight and controls over data protection and recovery at both local and remote sites. This then makes backup and recovery, replication, disaster recovery and compliance management all much more efficient. We expect awareness of this trend to become pervasive over the next 24 months."

Recoverability requires coordination between multiple IT functions and staff, such as DBAs, storage sysadms, and operational staff. Where information is incomplete then things may fall between the cracks and line-of-business people be unable to get sensible answers about how well their applications are protected.

In effect VRE now provides a single data protection dashboard for all data protection activities and interested parties in an enterprise. Existing DPM products only report on backup leaving enterprises in the dark about snapshotting and replication activities. VRE combines backup, snapshot and replication reporting, and tells customers whether protection service level agreements at an application or application group level are being observed. If they are falling short, for example with regard to recovery point objectives, then the cause is identified.

Historical charts showing application protection actions over time can identify non-protected periods and show where applications are vulnerable.

This is the first version of the product and supports EMC Symmetrix: BCV; Clone; and SRDF, and Network Appliance: SnapShot; SnapMirror; and SnapVault. Its design allows for the addition of additional data protection and storage platforms without modifying the core engine. Supported operating system platforms are Windows, all major versions of Unix and Windows.

Illuminator's design principle is that any technology that creates secondary copies of data for the purpose of supporting a failure scenario could - and should - be managed under a data protection management product, such as VRE.

Illuminator developed VRE with the help of leading Wall Street firms and telecommunication carriers as design partners and early beta customers. Pricing starts from $50,000, around £26,000 at current exchange rates.

Bocada is leery of quoting prices saying it depends upon the number of backup servers and associated clients. WysDM for backups starts at $15,000, based on 50 monitored systems.