Micro Focus Data Protector Review

Detects and secures new data sources without requiring manual configuration.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Customers have been able to utilize multiple data protection schemes to be implemented with a single point of contact.
  • Utilizing a single point of control has helped to maximize all current data storage technologies (AIT, LTO, DLT, etc.)
  • Allowed for the leveraging of the latest methodologies such as snapshots, dynamic mirrors, hypervisors, deduplication, compression (in-line, hardware and/or software), and encryption (with or without PKI integration).

What is most valuable?

  • Ability to automatically detect and secure new data sources without requiring manual configuration intervention.
  • Has an extensive support base for most data formats.
  • Natively allows the solution to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for any enterprise data security requirements.
  • Seamlessly integrates database security (i.e., Oracle, Sybase, Microsoft SQL server).
  • Utilizes product APIs: Allows for the leveraging of the latest manufacturer product innovations without compromising data security or recoverability.

What needs improvement?

Data Protector's main single point of weakness is its GUI. While being very easy to use and intuitively constructed to present users with a minimal learning curve, nonetheless:

  • It can occasionally be inaccurate in its backup/recovery time estimates
  • It can sometimes reflect incorrect data quantities for a specific source stream

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been some stability issues. As with any product remaining on the cutting edge of security and protection trends, utilizing the newest features comes with its share of caution by the user.

HPE Data Protector product support is always on the lookout for customer issues and provides patches and hot fixes immediately if presented with an undiscovered flaw.

It does have some issues better left behind. I am specifically thinking of Data Protector, Version 8, which went ‘off the rails’ fairly quickly and is best avoided.

Upgrading from Version 7 directly to version 9 is supported and strongly recommended.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have any scalability issues. One of the shining attributes of Data Protector is its scalability.

Data Protector can easily coordinate and maintain any user's storage deployment, regardless of the complexity. This includes:

  • Backing up a single server with a hand loaded DDS tape
  • Entire multi-petabyte data centers with remote site coverage
  • On-site/off-site storage duplication

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

HPE support (Tier 1) can be a bit frustrating (as with virtually all vendors) with their reliance on keywords gleamed from user support calls.

More often than not, they can point a user quickly to patches or support documentation to alleviate the issue at hand.

Backline support provides individual customer assistance with an amazing level of familiarity with any given user need.

This often leads to developing enduring lines of communications with the best and brightest developers anywhere.

Technical Support:

I would rate technical support as follows:

  • Tier 1: 6.5/10
  • Tier 2: 8/10
  • Tier 3: 9.5/10

Which solutions did we use previously?

We previously used Backup Express and Alexandria. They were both file products. One lacked the breadth and depth of source compatibility, and the other had almost insurmountable configuration implementation issues.

How was the initial setup?

The installation was very straightforward. You simply:

  1. Point to a source to be secured
  2. Define a pool of media
  3. Define a backup device
  4. Create a schedule

Poof! You’re in business.

What about the implementation team?

Vendor interaction for basic to moderately complex deployments is usually not needed. For complex multi-site, multi-vendor, deployments, HPE provides a wealth of assistance to attack and resolve even the most convoluted enterprise environments.

For the most extreme, complex environments (FIPS, Tempest, DoD, etc.), HPE consulting provides excellent support from the initial design to complete overhaul/upgrade.

What was our ROI?

This is not a simple answer. ROI is almost immediate for basic, single data center deployments.

However, for complex multi-site, multi-vendor, encrypted, de-duplicated, WAN tuned deployments, ROI can be an ongoing challenge. Retention requirements can change quicker than IT budgets can be formulated.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing/licensing is Data Protector's single best offering. In its most basic environment, the only license required is for whatever target device is required.

If time and quantities permit the use of a single tape device, then there is no license cost above and beyond the initial base product purchase. (This includes a single tape drive license).

As your data environment grows, you can add as many sources as you like with no additional costs.

It is only when expanding the number of backup devices (tape drives/arrays, disk targets, etc.) that additional licenses are needed.

I personally have deployed this product at many customer sites and I only needed the basic, out-of-the-box license to protect an entire data center.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Other products (i.e., Backup Express, Alexandria) were pre-existing solutions which had become inadequate for the task at hand and required replacement.

What other advice do I have?

I cannot recommend a better solution for enterprise-wide data security and retention.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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