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Symantec Ships Updates of Backup Exec, Recovery Suite

The same week that Microsoft shipped its System Center Data Protection Manager, Symantec, one of Microsoft’s largest competitors in that space, is shipping its own first product that embraces continuous data protection.

Symantec, which bought storage vendor Veritas last summer for as much as $13.5 billion, is also shipping the first products to emerge from the move to integrate Veritas’ products with Symantec’s own recovery tools.

Version 10d of Backup Exec, formerly a Veritas-branded product, adds the ability to provide continuous data protection via Symantec’s Continuous Data Protection Server software for backing up Windows files. “As soon as you save something, it’s copied to another disk [on a different server],” says Glenn Groshans, director of product marketing for Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec.

Users got their first good look at Backup Exec 10d’s continuous data protection capabilities this past summer when the product – then codenamed “panther” – was in beta test.

What has enabled so-called continuous data protection technologies to take off has been the dramatic decline in prices for large amounts of hard disk storage and the evolution of network storage from a direct-attached storage model to an increasingly network-attached model. An explosion of high-speed bandwidth availability on public and corporate networks is also an important driver.

Tape, while an extremely reliable and well-understood backup technology, is much slower for both backup and recovery, and typically only captures a full backup on a daily basis. It is also much less flexible when users are trying to recover individual files. With those drivers in place, it was virtually inevitable that a disk-to-tape backup paradigm would be eventually superseded by a disk-to-disk-to-tape paradigm.

The idea is to incrementally back up everything that changes as it happens. Later, or in the background, the backed up information on disk can be spooled off to tape for more permanent archival and for disaster recovery purposes.

As technology provides the enablers, the evolution is also being pulled along by the burgeoning data storage needs among customers, partly dictated by recent federal regulatory compliance laws. “Most customers say their data is doubling every year [so] the challenge is How do you protect all of that data and still let users have access to it?” Groshans adds.

Also, because the backup server stores data on disk in its native form, end users can now access their files and recover them using a standard Web browser. “We call it ‘bringing the self-service paradigm to file back up’,” says Andy Honl, Symantec senior product marketing manager. He adds that the idea is to significantly decrease the amount of time that help desk personnel and administrators spend on aiding in users’ recovery of files.

Meanwhile, Symantec also shipped version 6.0 of its LiveState Recovery Suite. LiveState Recovery Suite 6.0 integrates with Backup Exec and shares the same user interface, says Honl. For instance, administrators can create Backup Exec jobs in LiveState Recovery Manager.

LiveState Recovery Suite 6.0 can also restore to virtual environments and dissimilar hardware, so that the target hardware for restoration does not have to be the same as the hardware the backup was taken from. It also supports a remote or “lights out” recovery mode for restoring remote sites, such as branch offices, without having to physically visit the location. And both products include the capability to “throttle” the amount of network bandwidth used for backup and recovery.

Symantec LiveState Recovery Advanced Server Suite 6.0 is available now and starts at $1,695, which includes LiveState Recovery Advanced Server, Restore Anyware Option, LightsOut Restore Option, LiveState Recovery Manager and pcAnywhere for LiveState.

Symantec Backup Exec 10d and the Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server are scheduled to ship in mid-October. Backup Exec 10d starts at $795. The Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server is included at no additional cost with Backup Exec 10d. A $295 Continuous Protection Agent is required for each file server being protected. A Continuous Protection Starter Pack including Backup Exec 10d, the Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server and three Continuous Protection Agents will cost $995.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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