HP Autonomy (HPA) has just announced Data Protector v8.1 will be available in January. While it comes with a bunch of new features, the real significance of this release will be the introduction of an entirely new way of looking at and implementing data recovery.

HPA's Data Recovery Vision

To find out what this vision entails, we asked Stephen Spellicy, senior director of enterprise data protection at  HP, and Gagan Bhatia, product marketing at HP Enterprise Data Protection, to outline the thinking behind this product.

The first thing they told us was that this emerged from consultations not just across HP, but also with customers, who had some very clear ideas on the evolution of data recovery.

In the past, Bhatia said, data storage centers tended to be static and simplistic, with recovery not fully developed or even effective in many cases. The result was that businesses could take two or even three days to recover information after a disaster.

That may have been acceptable 10 years ago, but now that delay itself would be considered a disaster. A decade ago, businesses could survive without core information for three days. Today, with the emergence of dynamic, agile, mobile, online businesses, the inability to  access to key information poses a considerable commercial problem.

The current approach to data back-up and recovery is to add more and more features to deal with bigger and bigger problems. However, this is not a sustainable approach, Bhatia said, and will run into unsolvable problems sooner or later.

Adaptive Backup Recovery

What is required, Bhatia said, is a new way of approaching back-up and recovery that will ensure business resilience no matter what situation arises. For HPA, the new approach that will be unleashed with Data Protector v8.1 has been baptized Adaptive Back-up Recovery (ABR).

ABR, Spellicy said, combines three core elements:

  • Adaptive Intelligence
  • Operational Analytics
  • Application and Data Awareness

It is built around operations analytics software that will be used to control how decisions in enterprise data environments are made in relation to identification of vulnerable data and business critical information. It will also ensure that all that information is secured.

The analytics, Spellicy said, will give administrators a complete understanding of everything that is in data environments and will provide the back-up platform with the ability to foresee potential disasters. It will also optimize those platforms to ensure that all identified threats are minimized before they become problems.

The roll-out of this strategy will take place in four phases with v8.1 introducing the first phase. Those four phases include:

  • Prioritization: Enables organizations to develop backup strategies and policies based on data and application priority, and provides organizations with ways of assigning  data priorities.
  • Prediction: Uses operational analytics to proactively set backup resource utilization. It also drives better decision making around issues like how resources are used, where data is placed, and how long it is kept for.
  • Recommendation: Provides actionable suggestions to the IT manager to reduce potential conflicts and ensure Service Level Agreements (SLA) objectives. It also provides advice on how to resolve potential conflicts in the system.
  • Automation: Enables automated backup and recovery provisioning adjustments based on operational analytics from a self-learning system.

The prioritization phase, which is being launched in January, will ensure that business critical applications are backed up quickly and efficiently. It is supported by many new features that will enable administrators fine-tune their priorities for backing up applications.

This is the result of the introduction of adaptive intelligence to the platform, which provides administrators with a deep view of applications and infrastructure, and enables them control different aspects of the environment.

Here, Spellicy cites the example of the new HANA SAP integration which will allow SAP HANA administrators control the backup and recovery experience directly from the HANA console.
There are also a large number of other enhancements that will provide scalability, intelligence and interoperability with other enterprise platforms.

v8.1 Enhancements

This includes integration with Active Directory and VMware vCenter 5.5 for Single Item Recovery and certification of both VMware vSphere 5.5 and vCloud Director 5.5.

HP Data Protector 8.1 also features many new platform certifications, such as application agent support for SharePoint 2013 and IBM DB2 10.5, disk agent support for Debian 7.0 and AIX 64 bit, and media agent support for AIX 64 bit and Solaris 11.1.

New disaster recovery enhancements include new object selection methods, restore options and wizard pages streamline as was all automated disaster recovery processes.

While the first phase will be introduced in January coming, the exact timeline for the other three phases were not announced, but Bhatia said the company will be pushing it forward quickly over the coming months.