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StorageCraft ShadowControl
Monitor and Manage Backup and Disaster Recovery Environments from a Single Console


Overview:

Overseeing a disaster recovery solution across multiple clients or sites has no shortage of challenges. Full visibility into the status of backup jobs and tools to make administration as easy as possible are critical to success. That’s where StorageCraft ShadowControl comes in.

ShadowControl delivers a central monitoring and management console for StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX, StorageCraft ShadowProtect, and StorageCraft ImageManager operations. With complete visibility, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing your backup jobs are running smoothly and that you can remedy any issues before they affect business operations.

Use ShadowControl in these scenarios:

  • Viewing the status of your StorageCraft Recovery Solution, across an organization or several organizations, through a single dashboard
  • Monitoring the health of your StorageCraft Recovery Solution and receiving alerts when something isn’t right
  • Using ShadowControl policies to simplify the configuration of alerts and backup jobs instead of having to individually configure them for each endpoint
  • Controlling ShadowProtect, SPX, and ImageManager installations and ongoing updates from a central location
  • Managing ShadowProtect and SPX product keys and seamlessly activating product installations using any licensing option currently offered by StorageCraft
  • Specifically monitoring ImageManager endpoints and the managed folders associated with each

StorageCraft ShadowControlStorageCraft ShadowControl

Every day we create, review, and correlate data. It is structured and unstructured, text and numbers. This organizational data is a growing and changing river. Sometimes organizations and individuals feel that they are drowning in it, or at the very least swimming against the current. And while many companies may offer a rope or life preserver to help navigate today’s growing river of data, what organizations really need is a series of flood control gates and a boat.

The Need

The average worker expects that their needed data should be available to them at all times, from any location, and in the proper format. It’s not an easy task to provide this level of service. Organizations have come to rely on backup and recovery systems to provide data protection and availability, but this usually means managing the operations for dozens, hundreds, or thousands of Windows and Linux systems. Given these systems are often spread across multiple clients or sites, how can IT administrators properly manage their ongoing data protection and management operations effectively?

The Solution

StorageCraft ShadowControl is a powerful remote monitoring and management solution for the award-winning StorageCraft ShadowProtect®, ShadowProtect SPX and StorageCraft ImageManager backup and disaster recovery solutions. With complete visibility, users gain peace of mind knowing their backup jobs are running smoothly and that they can quickly troubleshoot and remedy issues before business continuity is compromised. Additionally, they can push installs of the latest ShadowProtect or SPX clients to unprotected Windows or Linux endpoints quickly and easily, all from the ShadowControl management console.

Technical Information

If you oversee a disaster recovery solution for dozens, hundreds, or thousands of systems, StorageCraft ShadowControl will make your life simpler.

StorageCraft ShadowControl is a free monitoring and management appliance. This appliance is for IT environments protected by StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX or StorageCraft ShadowProtect backup software.

ShadowControl works by deploying an “agent” (a small, unobtrusive program) to each “endpoint” (a computer within the monitored environment). The agent monitors ShadowProtect, SPX, and StorageCraft ImageManager activity on these endpoints and sends data to the ShadowControl “appliance.”

The appliance (a Linux-based server running as a virtual machine or on dedicated hardware) evaluates endpoint data against rules that you define to determine if the endpoint is behaving normally or having a problem. The appliance alerts you to problems so you can respond quickly and resolve issues efficiently.

The ShadowControl architecture is very efficient, which enables a single ShadowControl appliance to manage thousands of endpoints. Organize the endpoints into categories and subcategories that are logical for your organization, and then remotely monitor every ShadowProtect, SPX, and StorageCraft ImageManager installation across the organization.

Because you can see at a glance how endpoint backup jobs are doing and receive alerts when problems arise, you can address any issues before they become critical and expensive.

Features & Benefits:

Remote Monitoring
Remote Monitoring

Using ShadowControl, you can remotely monitor every ShadowProtect, SPX, and StorageCraft ImageManager installation in your environment, saving you the time and expense of physically visiting every endpoint or remote site. You can:

  • Get a dashboard view that presents summarized, sortable endpoint status data from across your entire network
  • See endpoint status data such as endpoint type, license status and type, managed folders, and backup jobs for all endpoints running ShadowProtect, SPX and StorageCraft ImageManager
  • Quickly drill down to find details about a specific endpoint.
  • Organize endpoints into logical categories and subcategories based on company or department name, physical location, hardware type, reporting needs, or other shared traits for easier oversight.

Push Installation
Push Installation

Manage machine discovery, push installation (for the ShadowControl agent, ShadowProtect, SPX, and ImageManager), and activations of licenses, all through your ShadowControl appliance console. You can:

  • Choose to use a .CSV list of IP addresses for discovery of physical and virtual endpoints
  • Do a push install of the latest SPX or ShadowProtect version to multiple unprotected Windows and Linux endpoints quickly and easily.
  • Enable automatic license activation of newly installed SPX or ShadowProtect agents through Shadow Control by importing text-based lists of perpetual license product keys or applying MSP product keys generated through your MSP Portal account.

Policy-based Management of SPX Backup Jobs
Policy-based Management of SPX Backup Jobs

ShadowControl simplifies backup job management and saves you time by allowing you to create a single backup policy that can then be assigned to multiple SPX endpoints at once, rather than configuring each individually. The single backup job policy can be applied to a single machine or a group of machines. You can also choose to assign a default job policy to ShadowControl Organizations and Sites so that endpoints subscribed to these Organizations or Sites automatically receive a backup job configuration when they are subscribed to the ShadowControl appliance.

Hypervisor Integration for ShadowProtect Backup Jobs
Hypervisor Integration for ShadowProtect Backup Jobs

Managing backups on virtual machines is now much easier. Users of common hypervisor management tools like VMware vCenter and Microsoft System Center can now load the free StorageCraft Plug-in and tightly integrate ShadowControl directly in to their virtual environment. You can then manage and monitor your backups directly from your hypervisor management console. When you need more detailed information, reports, and access to specific logs, simply transition from your hypervisor management console to the ShadowControl web console seamlessly with one click.

Configurable Alerts
Configurable Alerts

Because every organization is different, ShadowControl gives you the flexibility to define specific rules that will trigger a change in status for each endpoint (Good, Warning, or Critical) and to set up email alerts that send automatically when a status change occurs. You may choose to apply the same rules to all endpoints or define multiple “rule policies” and assign endpoints to them based on any criteria you specify. You can also feed ShadowControl alerts directly into a system management tool with IT Service Management (ITSM)—this lets you generate a notification email either when an endpoint status changes or anytime a ShadowControl alert triggers.

Customizable Reporting
Customizable Reporting

ShadowControl helps you proactively monitor and manage your backup and disaster recovery environment through its reporting capabilities. You can:

  • Schedule and receive regular status reports on individual endpoints, subsets of your environment, or your entire environment.
  • Choose to receive a summary or a detailed report that can include ShadowProtect, SPX, and StorageCraft ImageManager endpoint details as well as storage statistics.
  • Choose to receive reports on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.
  • Have custom reports regularly generated for clients that show the endpoints for which they’re responsible and provide feedback about the state of their disaster recovery solution.

Capability:

Management from a Single Console: From a single web-based console ShadowControl manages StorageCraft ShadowProtect, SPX, and StorageCraft ImageManager on endpoints across the entire managed network, from individual sites to multiple disparate locations. Views include endpoint type, license status, and backup jobs status. Console driven actions include job setup, agent deployment, and license generation.

Reports and Alerts: Administrators can set alerts to notify of a change in endpoint status. Rules can be applied to all endpoints or user defined rules can be applied to specific endpoints. Users can also schedule and receive daily, weekly, or monthly status reports on endpoints, the entire environment, or environment subsets.

Push Installation and License Management: ShadowControl quickly and easily pushes the latest installs out to unprotected Windows or Linux endpoints. This includes discovery, push installation, and license activations. Perpetual license product keys or MSP product keys can also be applied to launch automatic license activation.

Policy-based Backup Management: ShadowControl allows users to create a single backup policy that can be assigned to multiple SPX endpoints, to a single machine, or a group of machines. With the free StorageCraft Plug-in, ShadowControl also integrates directly into hypervisor management tools such as VMware vCenter or Microsoft System Center, allowing backups to be managed and monitored directly from the hypervisor management console itself.

Screenshots:


ShadowControl dashboard
ShadowControl dashboard
ShadowControl push-install
ShadowControl push-install
ShadowControl SPX backup policy scheduling
ShadowControl SPX backup policy scheduling
ShadowControl SPX backup policy settings
ShadowControl SPX backup policy settings

Technical Specifications:

Licensing

StorageCraft ShadowControl doesn’t require you to purchase a license to use it. However, in order to install the software, you will need to accept the End-User License Agreement.

ShadowControl Appliance

The appliance uses a Linux operating system. You can run the appliance on standalone hardware or as a virtual machine.

For requirements and installation instructions, visit the ShadowControl User Guide: Installing the ShadowControl Appliance.

System Requirements

  • 2GB RAM
  • 80GB disk space
  • Dual-core processor
  • Active Internet connection for downloading appliance components during the install
  • An available IP address
  • Either Port 443 or 8443 available for appliance-to-endpoint communication
  • Port 5556 available for endpoint-to-appliance communication. If this port is not open, ShadowControl cannot perform endpoint updates or other bi-directional services.
  • Port 25 or 587 available for email notifications
  • A Web browser. Use a current Web browser version for best results (Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.)

ShadowControl Agent

Install the ShadowControl agent on each desktop, laptop, or server you wish to monitor. The ShadowControl agent’s hardware and software requirements are the same as those for ShadowProtect and SPX, except that ShadowControl doesn’t support Microsoft Windows 2000.

For a list of requirements, see the ShadowControl User Guide: Installing the ShadowControl Agent.

System Requirements

Before installing the endpoint agent, make sure your system meets the following requirements:

  • The endpoint agent hardware and software requirements match those of ShadowProtect, ShadowProtect SPX, and ImageManager.
  • The endpoint agent supports ShadowProtect v5.0, ShadowProtect SPX, and StorageCraft ImageManager v7.0.6 (to take advantage of the latest ShadowControl 4.0.0 features) or newer.
  • Endpoint agent communication with the ShadowControl appliance requires the following ports: 80, 443 or 8443, and 5556.

To install the ShadowControl agent on an endpoint and subscribe the endpoint to your ShadowControl appliance, use one of the following options:

  • Install the endpoint agent automatically as part of a Push Install.
  • Install the endpoint agent manually using the instructions available from the ShadowControl Console:
    • Browse to ShadowControl > Appliance Settings > Endpoint Installation.
    • From the Dashboard, click EndPoint Installation Instructions.

Documentation:

Download the StorageCraft ShadowControl Data Sheet (PDF).