Aptare backup management & capacity planning

by Robin Harris on Tuesday, 18 December, 2007

I’m a judge for the Codie awards this year, so I’m getting to see some storage software that I might not otherwise. Today, Rick Clark, CEO of Aptare, demo’d their Backup Manager and Capacity Manager.

I was impressed.

Oh no, has Robin gone soft?
Maybe. But Aptare has 3 important features:

  • Agentless architecture. They go direct to HDS and EMC arrays to get the info they need. More arrays coming.
  • Deep reporting. Application databases, LUNs, array, allotted and consumed.
  • Flexible GUI. Drag and drop the data you need to create a custom dashboard, like a web 2.0 mashup.

A custom Aptare GUI

Managed from a browser
Capacity and backup management use Aptare’s StorageConsole Platform. The company plans further modules. Next up, a replication manager.

The StorageMojo take
This is the first backup manager and capacity manager I’ve seen that actually feels easy enough for non-storage geeks to use. That is important because as capacity continues to explode, some storage management tasks need to get pushed out to application owners.

If you are in the market for either backup or capacity management or aren’t fully satisfied with your existing tools, you owe it to yourself to get the Aptare demo.

Comments welcome, as always.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

jason December 18, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Technically, it’s not FULLY agentless, though it goes a long way down that path. The 6.0 version, when reading netbackup data, requires an agent be installed. But it only needs to be installed on the master, so as things go, it’s a pretty minor ding.

I’m looking forward to poking around with the 6.5 version next year.

dp December 19, 2007 at 9:58 pm

We’ve been using Aptare for more than a year now. It’s much better than any other the Netbackup reporting tool, however there still plenty room for improvement.

Brainy December 23, 2007 at 3:30 pm

I’ve recently installed this thing. It just doesn’t fit in an enterprise environment, where standardization is wanted.

E.g. an Oracle instance can not be chosen from, instead an own oracle version is installed. Installation paths are hardcoded. Had to work with softlinks.

The final touch is just missing.

I really don’t have first hand experience about the functionality of the product, but the guys using this tool in a large environment aren’t that happy with the reports.

From a sysadmin point of view, I really don’t like YAMA (yet another management agent). I was thinking about using splunk to suck in logfiles and status reports and then writing my own alerting and reports.

chillyhercules January 7, 2008 at 3:54 am

Storageconsole needs for a larger environement a lot of support. Also the mix between Monitoring and Reporting makes this tool slower. Reports are not just drag and drop as provided above (might come with 6.5); it needs deep sql and db structure knowledge, which is a issue for ad hoc reports. Overall if the environment get’s complicated Aptare has issues; this is for a big environment not a good reference. Also for a ‘black box’ installation of Aptare in a big environment is no place; because of standards because of own requirements. Therefore if you plan to implement Aptare for a big environement (with more than 10 masterservers) keep Aptare support on your site.

thunder January 24, 2008 at 9:46 am

I’ve been using Aptare for several years at a couple of different companies. While the blog entry was originally about storage reporting and not backups, there are some comments about the product that I disagree with in regards to backup (specifically netbackup).

The statement that this is not an enterprise product is just silly. I use this in an enterprise environment with a few thousand clients and several master servers and have not had any problems, other than the general application issue one would expect with any prodcut.

The product has built-in reports that most people would need. They work for me as an admin and my manager uses them for audit/regulatory reporting all the time. There are some reports I’d like to see and we are working with the Aptare to get them implemented, if they already aren’t part of the product. There are also some custom reports that are scripted (not part of the GUI) that offer more – check with the vendor or the admin guides to find out more about these. If the product doesn’t have what you want, I challenge you to contact them and let them know. I bet that if they don’t have it, they are coming out with it and if that’s not the case, you can always contract with them to add the functionality in.

I agree that the response could be faster for the larger reports when you return over a thousand rows, but really, a couple thousand rows returned in a few dozen seconds is not that bad. The information it provides me is worth the wait. I’ve also been told that Linux 64bit installs improve response time over Solaris installs by about 5 times. If you’re running Aptare on a Windows box, the response time is probably pretty bad for larger reports.

I also agree that the ad-hoc reports, which allow you to create your own report, require query statement and some db knowledge. I would very much like to see this enhanced in newer versions of the product, but if you can find someone who can write a query, you can generate ANY report on any of the data that are gathered.

Overall, Aptare is a great product and after seeing the 6.5 demo, I am very excited to upgrade to it in the near future.

jwaite June 20, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Can the evaluation software be tested using VMWare? Where is the documentation for installation? Thank you.

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