Data Protection: Fresh Faces for Backup and Recovery Software

By Steve Scully, Monday, November 12th 2018

Analyst Blogs

We are hard at work on our Enterprise Data Protection Software matrix, corresponding Product Briefs and supporting documents.  We plan to launch this new coverage area around this time next month.  With hundreds of data protection solutions in the market these days, it was difficult to know where to begin.  We decided to start the comparison matrix with seven enterprise products that we get a significant number of questions about.  These products are (in alphabetical order) Commvault Complete Back and Recovery, Dell EMC Avamar and NetWorker, IBM Spectrum Protect and Spectrum Protect Plus, Veeam Backup and Replication, and Veritas NetBackup.  We will follow up with more detailed Product Analyses and also look at other vendors to add to the evaluation.  Let us know who you would like to see next and why.

So, what does that have to do with fresh faces and who are these people?  Actually, it’s not about people (however there are new people in data protection market as well) but these fresh faces are about the solutions themselves.  As we are doing our investigations into these enterprise solutions, we noticed an important trend with several of the traditional backup vendors developing updated and modern user interfaces and user experiences for their solutions.  Since it might be hard to see this trend from the matrix, we are highlighting these fresh faces in this blog.

Here are several of the more recent announcements from the enterprise data protection vendors on their user interface enhancements:

  • Commvault announced its new Commvault Command Center coming with Service Pack 14 in December which updates and simplifies the customer user interface for their complete, recently updated product suite. The web-based interface has been designed with a modern look that uses interactive dashboards and includes the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to analyze and automate tasks required to manage data operations.
  • Dell EMC has updated the user interface for the most recent version of the Data Protection Suite (including Avamar and NetWorker) which offers a HTML5 interface the gives it a fresh look and aligns with corporate UI guidelines. It includes a Recovery interface to enable self-service restores and the Admin interface simplifies day-to-day operation and integrates with VMware vSphere.  Data Protection Central is included in the refresh and manages the entire Data Protection Suite from a single pane of glass.
  • Veritas announced what they called a radically improved user interface for the latest release of NetBackup, replacing the older Java interface with a new web-based interface that provides a modern look and feel. They also streamlined user workflows, simplified the user experience and added role-based controls enabling more generalized IT admins to be responsible for their own backup and recovery.

As we discussed before, the data protection market is experiencing a particularly busy cycle of products enhancements and product introductions.  Companies have many motivations that drive their product developments, so we don’t know any specific reasons but there are industry trends which might have factored into these new user interfaces including:

  • Drive to simplification – Customers increasingly want more intuitive user interfaces that better meet the changing requirements of protecting and managing data in modern hybrid environments. The role of IT admins is also changing towards having more IT generalists than specialists, driving a need for more simple interfaces that still work for specialized backup admins when they exist.
  • Technology evolutions – The tools continue to get better and customer expectations change with those tools over time. Other tools get old, fall out of favor or stop being supported and must be replaced.  As the industry continues down the virtualization path and web-based interfaces proliferate, customers want user interfaces that have more in common and can be easily integrated into other tools they already use such as VMware vSphere.
  • UI design trends – The design of user interfaces evolves over time as the tools get better and customer expectations are influenced by other interfaces even from outside the data center. User Interfaces with operational dashboards that are customizable to various functions is one of those trends.  So is accommodating more mobile workforces that use mobile devices.

Traditional data protection vendors also have to compete with new data protection solutions from adjacent markets and/or from new (often startup) vendors that may have different approaches and potentially fewer features.  By giving their user interface a fresh face, they simplify the ease of use while maintaining the expertise and experience of an established solution.

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