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My Symantec OpenStorage (OST) “A-HA moment”

Level 3

A few months back, I was riding in my colleague’s car and his iPOD interface to the car caught my eye. His car did not have a “native iPOD adapter” and so he had bought this aftermarket device that plugged into his iPOD and allowed him to control the iPOD directly from his car’s audio controls. He said “it is like Symantec OpenStorage (OST). Just as OST allows NetBackup to control appliances intelligently, this device allows your car to control the iPOD more efficiently”. His analogy was simple and yet so powerful. This discussion was my OST “A-HA moment” and got me intrigued.


 As I took on a more active role in NetBackup disk offerings in the months that followed, I learned more about OST and realized how powerful the concept was.  In the past, there have been several misconceptions around OST. Many have thought it to be Symantec’s attempt to kill the VTL appliances and replace them with regular disk behind PureDisk. However, the reality is quite the opposite. OST is in fact VTL-friendly.


So you might ask, what in the world is OST and why should I care? Simply put, OST is an API developed by Symantec that allows  third party intelligent storage devices to tightly integrate with NetBackup thus offering NetBackup users improved management of their backup images and the added functionality of third party intelligent storage devices without the limitations of tape emulation.


Symantec runs a technology program for partners via which the partners can develop plug-ins to their appliances for NBU Media Servers. When an appliance is used with NetBackup over OST, it allows NetBackup visibility into the properties and capabilities of the appliance, and control of the backup images stored in the appliance. It also allows NetBackup to control when backup images are created, duplicated, and deleted. Additionally, because NetBackup is able to see these appliances as disk via OST, the customer is able to leverage advanced Enterprise disk features such as intelligent capacity management, media server load balancing, and storage lifecycle policies. And all this is while still using the in-built data deduplication feature (if available) of the appliance which allows the customer to decrease their storage footprint. Optimized duplication is yet another feature worth mentioning and probably the coolest of them all. Via optimized duplication, NetBackup can take advantage of the replication capabilities of the OST appliances to “off-host” duplicate NetBackup images to secondary appliances. The data does not flow through the NetBackup Media Servers at all and is copied directly from the primary to the secondary device. Once the duplication job finishes, the NetBackup catalog is automatically notified of this new copy. Now if all of this isn’t cool…then what is? 


Latest news on OST: Quantum adds OST support to their DXi7500 product line. Read press release here.