Micro Focus Data Protector Review

It provides secure D2D backups with compression and deduplication. I'd like the ability to search backups a lot easier.


What is most valuable?

The valuable features are the ability to:

  • Backup data
  • Write to D2Ds
  • Utilize D2D compression technology

We write TBs and TBs of data to backend HPE D2Ds. It then dedupes all the information so we get a 10:1 ratio of deduplication. This means we can store a heck of a lot more data on less storage. It saves us time and money.

How has it helped my organization?

The benefit is that we've got data retention and we can store data for people. We are a financial services organization, so we are audited on the level of security of our data. This solution allows us to prove that we are storing it correctly.

What needs improvement?

I'd like the ability to search backups a lot easier. I'd like the ability to search for a particular server within a backup because people come to you and ask for the backup of a server. They talk about it in those terms. You end up trying to find out where that server is located for a particular job that you might have set up months ago. It would be good to have a search feature where you could ask, "Server X, what backup job is that?" That would be helpful.

It would be good if it worked properly and it actually gave you usable error codes.
A large percentage of the time, you get very vague messages, or it just turns off, and it never tells you why. It's very difficult to decipher what happened and what has gone wrong.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The problem with HPE Data Protector is when it goes wrong, it's very hard to fathom why it went wrong.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's pretty scalable. Now we're on HPE Data Protector version 9.0, so you only have a single Cell Manager. We roll out globally so there's no issues with that side of it.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have to raise support tickets and that's an extremely painful thing. It can take five to seven weeks. That's the bad side of it. It is difficult to get decent support and to get to the people who know what they're talking about.

Initially, the technical support is terrible. You raise a call and then you are asked for log after log. What you want is someone who knows what they're doing who can help you right away. When you finally get through to those people a month later, they can normally resolve your issues within an hour. However, getting to them is very difficult.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We were already using it when I came to the company. I was more involved in the decision to upgrade.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved with the setup and it was reasonably straightforward. You install Cell Manager, then you create distribution servers, and then you roll out to a virtual machine. It's a pretty straightforward process.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're probably going to have to start thinking about alternatives. Our data footprint is growing so rapidly that we're going to need to look at new solutions anyway. We have backup jobs that are over ten TBs for a single server. We need ways in which we can restore that data quickly.

We use 3PAR, so we're going to start looking at deduplication on it. We need snapshotting, and that sort of stuff. We've got to start looking at how we do things and how we can do them differently and faster. It may or not be with HPE.

What other advice do I have?

When it works, it works well. When it doesn't work, it can be very frustrating.
I would look across the whole marketplace and see what's out there.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
1 Comment
Jason AntesReal User

Almost all the errors Data Protector throws out come with an error code within the session messages.
"[Major] From: BSM@server.com "Production Archive by Month 2" Time: 1/4/2018 1:30:14 AM
[61:4006] Could not connect to inet in order to start BMA@server.com "VLS-032"."

The numbers inside the brackets is your error code. Usually a quick search of the internet or on the Data Protector forum will get an answer for you (you can also click on that number and it will give you more details along with suggested troubleshooting). I agree with errors outside the realm of the backup, copy, restore jobs can be a pain to track down, however the "Omni" utilities in \bin are available and will usually lead you to what is wrong and where. Sometimes the solution is non-trivial though. In other cases, like any other software, something critical goes wrong and it leads to a very long engagement with support. I had 1 with the barcode reader on automated tape libraries in which things would just fail out without any explanation and it took a lot of debug logs for them to figure it out. Those errors are pretty rare though.

As far as quicker backups on 3PAR, Data Protector does integrate with 3PAR and can use snapshot functionality, as well as there being Zero Downtime style backups. The problem with these is that it is another add-on license which can get expensive. Since you have a 3PAR, it may be worth looking into Recovery Manager Central or other integrated HPE solutions.

04 January 18
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