Enterprise Backup Vendors - How Much Should They Bend Over for Business?

Friday, October 10, 2008 8:35:14 PM

I am currently working on a project that has been spanning almost a year trying to find an Enterprise-Ready backup solution that will work within our organization as well as serve as an example for other, similar organizations. I believe I have found the solution, but politics on both ends have managed to squeeze themselves into the mix.

I have currently been entertaining CommVault. It has an excellent reputation, has been around a while, supports all of the features we require (Backup, CDP, Archiving, DR, CDP, eDiscovery, etc.) Now, for my little chunk of the network alone this product will cost around $50k to implement after all is said and done. For our organization we would be looking at upper six figures, possibly seven.

Now, here is where the politicians come in to play. We have already purchased some of their CDP components and are using them in production. We wanted to evaluate the rest of their backup line in our environment to supplant our existing ArcServe configuration, because it is far from being on par with our needs. CommVault was able to come to the table with two options, try it for 30 days or lease to own for a year. What we were looking for was a 90-180 day window where we could install the software, get it stable and running and proven, document the process and invite the other stakeholders in for a Q&A session with demo. At this point a decision would be made by all involved to either move forward with a purchase or to find another product.

Another political issue with this is how the project will be funded. If we were to move forward with this project on the lease method there is no guarantee that six months into the lease we will have the budget available to continue. On the other hand if we were to just purchase the trial part of the project independently of our headquarters then we would not be reimbursed when they purchase for themselves or for all of the other groups, taking a hefty chunk out of our operating budget.

We won't know for certain what product will be a clear winner until we have it up and running and proven with production data in a production environment, as that is when things always tend to break. A clear winner may not be known based on whether the product is capable of doing the job or not, but whether the rest of the team agrees that it is the product that they want to be supporting for the next 5-10 years. A standardized Enterprise-wide system like this isn't a small undertaking and there are many things to consider.

So, are we demanding too much or are we justified in our asking for an extended evaluation period of roughly $50k worth of software? Or, should we just fork over the money, hope the product works and move on? Should I forget about a product that I consider best of breed from what I've seen and turn to products that I could care less for, such as Symatec's product line that now has "Replication 80% integrated into the interface" thanks to their acquisitions?

I have lost most of my momentum on this project because of these issues and I am struggling to keep focused on it to come up with a solution that will move us away from the nightmare that is Computer Associates and not present us with new nightmares. I would really love to be able to sleep at night knowing that my backups are working and that I will be able to recover from them, no matter how bad the crash may be.

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