NetVault Makes Stateside Debut

While stored data grows exponentially, the labor pool dwindles, creating a problem for storage in the enterprise -- unless someone comes up with a better idea.

Engineers at BakBone Software ( think they have. Recently, BakBone introduced NetVault storage management software to the North American market. It's designed to make the backup, restoration and archiving administration quick and easy on systems managers, with a consistent GUI that's scaleable across all Windows NT/2000, Unix and Linux, platforms. And its structure allows it to act as a conduit to the future of data storage - specifically storage area networks (SANs).

NetVault is being introduced to the U.S. market against some well-established storage players. Veritas Software ( and Legato Systems Inc. ( on the software side, and Tivoli Systems Inc. ( and Computer Associates Int’l Inc. ( on the framework side, are proven entities. But BakBone officials join the fray confidently.

"A lot of storage products out there today essentially are pieces on top of pieces," says Steve Friedberg, a spokesman for BakBone. "This is a modularly-designed product that can be implemented today on a LAN and achieve wonderful results in terms of speed and ease of use. And it's been designed with SANs in mind as companies move that way in the future."

The advantages NetVault touts are direct control of backup performance with a feature called DirecSAN, which enables data to bypass backup servers via a Client Server Transfer Node (CTN) that sends backup data directly to tape devices. Essentially, this reduces the time and steps to install and operate NetVault.

"The key thing that sells this product is its ease of use," says Dave Hill, research director for Aberdeen Group ( "Other products have similar functionality, price and quality built in. But they can't focus on ease of use."

"A lot of storage products have been around for 10 or 15 years and their basic structures haven't changed," Hill says. "With the explosion of data in data centers where you're working 24/7, where head counts aren't likely to go up, you usually don't find the skill sets to address use issues. This product does that."

Friedberg says NetVault already has a proven track record outside the United States. Bell Labs engineers who couldn't find a commercial product to address their storage needs created the first iteration of the product. Initially, it was introduced commercially in Europe and Asia by a group of British developers who worked on behalf of AT&T and then spun off to NetVault. BakBone, a company only four months old, recently acquired its rights.

"NetVault comes to the North American market as world-tested," Friedberg says. "The largest SAP globally - the German Post Office - uses NetVault. Sony, Hitachi, companies that can't afford to use an unproved storage product, use it."

NetVault's formal North American launch comes just as BakBone has completed its global support infrastructure. It's now a matter of winning over American systems managers.

"BakBone's competitors have an installed base and mindshare in this market," says Hill. "Those are always hard things to compete against."