StorageCraft ShadowControl - Take Charge of Your Disaster Recovery Plan

What is StorageCraft ShadowControl, and who should use it?

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

ShadowControl delivers a central monitoring and management console for ShadowProtect, SPX, and StorageCraft ImageManager operations.

ShadowControl also provides:

  • Push install and activation of the latest version of ShadowProtect or SPX to unprotected Windows or Linux endpoints on the same network
  • Policy-based backup job management that lets administrators assign a consistent backup job configuration to groups of SPX-protected endpoints

We designed this software for managed service providers (MSPs) and in-house IT administrators who oversee a disaster recovery solution for dozens, hundreds, or thousands of systems. If this sounds like you, ShadowControl will make your life simpler.

StorageCraft Recovery logoShadowControl, ShadowProtect, SPX, and StorageCraft ImageManager are part of the StorageCraft Recovery Solution. This comprehensive solution provides you with all the tools you need to recover systems, applications, and data every time, everywhere, and from any disaster.

 

ShadowControl makes oversight manageable

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.

A critical component for anyone who needs to monitor many systems

Examples of when IT professionals use ShadowControl:

  • Monitoring a network-wide backup and disaster recovery solution through a single dashboard
  • Keeping track of endpoints across an organization or several organizations
  • Being able to have certain policies that apply to every endpoint or to groups of endpoints instead of having to individually configure alerts and backup jobs for each endpoint
  • Monitoring changes by endpoint type so as to be able to prioritize problems by device type
  • Generating reports that show details for either your entire backup and disaster recovery environment or subsets of that environment

Features and benefits of ShadowControl

Push Install icon

Push Install

Manage machine discovery, push installation, and license activations, all through your ShadowControl appliance console.

  • Choose to use a .CSV list of IP addresses for discovery of physical and virtual endpoints that you want to monitor and manage with ShadowControl
  • Do a push install of the latest SPX or ShadowProtect version to multiple unprotected Windows and Linux endpoints quickly and easily
  • Know that ShadowControl automatically downloads the latest installers for StorageCraft products, and you don’t need to manually upload these installers to the appliance
  • Enable automatic activation of newly installed SPX or ShadowProtect agents through ShadowControl by doing one of the following:
    • importing text-based lists of perpetual-license product keys
    • applying MSP product keys generated through your MSP Portal account
Remote monitoring icon

Remote Monitoring

Know what’s going on with your backup jobs without needing to visit every endpoint in your organization.

  • Monitor your mixed Windows and Linux IT environment from one pane of glass
  • Get a dashboard view that presents summarized, sortable endpoint status data from across the 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 detailed information about specific endpoints
  • Organize endpoints into categories and subcategories based on company or department name, physical location, hardware type, reporting needs, or other shared traits for easier oversight
Set policies icon

Policy-based Management of Backup Jobs

For endpoints running SPX, configure many endpoints’ backup jobs at once rather than wasting time and effort configuring each separately.

  • Simplify backup job management by applying backup job policies to SPX endpoints
  • Assign a default job policy so that all endpoints automatically receive a backup job configuration as soon as they are subscribed to the ShadowControl appliance
  • Create custom backup job policies and apply them to specific groups of SPX endpoints
  • Lock any SPX backup jobs created prior to having a job policy so that end users cannot modify or control the job from the local SPX console
Hypervisor plug-in

Hypervisor Integration

With the optional StorageCraft Plug-in, monitor and manage ShadowProtect backup jobs from within your VMware or Microsoft hypervisor.

  • Push install a ShadowControl agent to any virtual machine (VM) endpoint you wish to monitor
  • View all VMs running on a hypervisor host and automatically detect which VMs are not protected by the ShadowProtect agent
  • Push install a ShadowProtect agent to any unprotected VMs quickly and easily and then apply a pre-configured backup job so protection can start immediately
  • Monitor the current status of your VM backup jobs, including last backup time, backup errors, and next scheduled backup
  • Transition from VMware vCenter or Microsoft System Center to the ShadowControl web console seamlessly
 
Alerts and notification icon

Configurable Alerts

For the systems you monitor, define the rules that determine an endpoint’s status (Good, Warning, or Critical) and be alerted when a change occurs.

  • Set alert rules for a variety of conditions, including failed backup job, backup failure rate, destination disk usage, license status, and replication queue status
  • Use the same rules for all endpoints, or create multiple “rule policies” and assign endpoints to them based on any criteria you define
  • Receive automatic email alerts when a status change to “warning” or “critical” occurs on any of the endpoints you are monitoring
  • Send email alerts automatically to those responsible for particular endpoints
  • 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 (Good, Warning, Critical) or anytime a ShadowControl alert triggers (whether that alert causes an endpoint status change or not)
Reporting icon

Reporting

Schedule and receive regular status reports so you and your clients can see the state of the disaster recovery IT environment.

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

Want to learn more?

See our support documentation and marketing materials:

.PDF fileShadowControl Data Sheet – an overview complete with features and benefits

web page ShadowControl User Guide – the user manual—step-by-step instructions

web page ShadowControl ReadMe – a supplement to the user guide—system requirements, enhancements, issues

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.

Screenshots

Click on an image for a larger view:

screenshot of ShadowControl dashboard
screenshot of SPX backup policy settings within ShadowControl
screenshot of SPX backup policy scheduling options within ShadowControl
screenshot of the ShadowControl push installation feature

Technical specifications

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.

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.