Oracle announced the availability of its high-performance tape backup solution, Oracle Secure Backup 10.2. Designed for Oracle databases as well as network-attached storage (NAS) devices, Secure Backup offers encryption, vaulting and dynamic drive sharing.
The release is aimed at providing a high level of data protection at a low cost. This release enables users to roll out policy-based encryption at the domain, host, backup or tape levels. Key management functions are automated to make the process easier on administrators, with keys stored on the Oracle Secure Backup Administrative Server. Those keys are transparently decrypted when files are restored.
Henry Baltazar, a storage analyst with The 451 Group, told us that encryption capability is a must-have feature for Oracle, but it's not new in the industry. "Other vendors have had encryption for a long time now, and there are also third parties that make their business out of just doing encryption," he said. "It's definitely a necessary feature given the market dynamics, but they're not inventing the wheel here. It's something they had to have."
Baltazar said that Oracle's pricing strategy is extremely aggressive. "The biggest advantages this has, besides being Oracle, is its pricing," he said. Licenses for Secure Backup cost a flat $3,000 per physical tape drive, and Oracle Secure Backup Express is offered free to protect a single database server attached to a single tape drive.
Pricing by Oracle's competitors tends to be higher since companies are charged based on different criteria, such as the number of different applications being backed up, Baltazar said. "That's the way that market works, and that's where the margins go," he said, so Oracle's flat-rate pricing should be very competitive.
High utilization of CPU overhead during backups has been a concern, and Oracle intends this new release to address those concerns. According to Juan Loaiza, Oracle's senior vice president of systems technology, "Customers will be able to achieve up to 40 percent faster Oracle database backup to tape" with the newest version of Secure Backup.
Baltazar said better performance shouldn't be a surprise. "The performance enhancements definitely leverage the Oracle engineering, because they're going to know their database better than anyone else," Baltazar said.
Secure Backup 10.2 offers automated tape management through cycles defined by the user. These could include duplicating tapes with different retention and vaulting schedules or scheduling the rotation of tapes between locations.
Also supported by the new release is Automated Cartridge System Library Software (ACSLS) to facilitate the use of managed tape products from Sun StorageTek. Secure Backup is intended to support more than 200 tape devices from a variety of well-known vendors. Oracle Secure Backup 10.2 works with all editions of Oracle Database 10g and 11g.