Most of the big companies that make data protection software–including Commvault, Dell EMC, IBM, Veeam, and Veritas–are making plans for 2018 that emphasize more usefulness of your backup data.

If all your backup data does is sit on disk or tape hoping its turn comes to be restored one day, the theory goes, then you’re not making the most of your investment.

Various startups began calling this concept “copy data management” in the early 2010s, explained Jason Buffington, a data protection analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). Now customers are starting to ask for it, so the bigger backup players are obliging, he said. ESG refers to the concept as “data management and enablement,” he added.

“The question becomes, what other incremental business value could you get out of that data,” Buffington noted. So far, people are using the secondary data to perform data mining and analysis, ensure new applications remain backward-compatible, and test applications with non-production data, he said.

SEE: Data backup policy (Tech Pro Research)

Building on this trend of making backed-up data pull its weight, the following is a list of specific products and goals in the 2018 hopper from top vendors.

  • Commvault just started selling its first hardware product. Commvault will soon work closely with HP, and it will develop more ways to perform cloud data migration.
  • Dell EMC will emphasize self-service applications because data centers are seeing fewer storage specialists and more application workers. Plug-ins to its Data Domain software will help customers discover what data is getting backed up. Data Domain will also be more deeply integrated with Avamar deduplication software, and there will be a focus on moving data between clouds.
  • IBM provided an official statement: “In the next year, IBM will continue to deliver on our vision of easy copy access for use cases beyond backup and recovery with enhancements to IBM Spectrum Protect, IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, and IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management as well as further integration into cloud environments for IBM Spectrum Protect Plus on IBM Cloud and other clouds. Watch for these in popular cloud market places making deployment in your cloud environment fast and easy. Watch for enhancements to make copy creation and copy access for VMs easier for backup administrators, VM owners, and more of your IT team.” Backup software enhancements such as increased metadata, auditing/repair, and multicloud governance will also be part of these updates, officials added.
  • Veeam needs to ship backup features that it already announced, such as disaster recover planning tools and Nutanix support, officials acknowledged. There will soon be varying levels of Veeam support coming from Infinidat, Oracle, and Pure Storage. Version 10 of the Veeam platform is due in the second half of 2018 with network-attached storage support.
  • Veritas is looking toward more emphasis of recently-shipped products for data visualization, information mapping, cloud data migration, and machine learning for NetBackup, which will initially be provided by Google.