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Symantec embraces server virtualization with Backup Exec

No more agents per VM

Remote control for virtualized desktops

With the latest 12.5 version of Backup Exec, Symantec is moving away from individual Backup Exec agents per virtual machine (VM), having an agent per hypervisor instead. This responds to consistent input from customers that backing up VMs was becoming far too costly.

The company has moved its Backup Exec and Net Backup products into a single business unit, the Data Protection Group. We can expect a degree of integration over time. It is also focusing on disk for speedy backup and restore and recommending tape be used for longer term archive use.

Backup Exec 12.5 protects entire virtual servers with Symantec taking a hit on revenue gained from per-Virtual Machine (VM) agents. Instead customers will have a license per hypervisor with a virtual agent for VMware and another for Hyper-V. Backup Exec supports everything in both the physical and virtual server environments with one product.

The protected virtualized server files can be used to restore either a physical or a virtual server, from the bare metal, down to folders or individual files with Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 (BESR). Recovery is said to take minutes at most. The backup image can be FTP'd to a secondary site for disaster recovery (DR) purposes. There it can now be automatically converted to a virtual server format - ESX, Hyper-V, or Citrix XenServer - then loaded and run if DR action is needed.

The new release of Backup Exec offers, Symantec says, complete protection for the Windows Server 2008 software portfolio. There is a one-shot approach to backing up Exchange with the backed-up database being used for recovering individual e-mails in what Symantec calls its Granular Recovery Technology. This has been extended to SharePoint to restore documents, sites and list items.

Other Symantec news:

  • There is a new remote media agent for Linux servers which can direct Linux and Oracle data directly to attached storage resources, including shared storage.
  • Backup Exec 12.5 works better with NDMP network-attached storage (NAS) devices. Tape and disk storage media can be shared between Backup Exec media servers and remote NDMP-enabled NAS devices. Users can also backup remote NDMP devices to their Symantec media server and then on to a direct-attached tape library
  • NetBackup Pure Disk has been given a deduplication capability and can deduplicate files to be backed up at the client level, suitable for remote offices, or at the target level. The dedupe technology is Symantec's own and came through the Data Centre Technologies acquisition. Backup Exec will get dedupe next year.
  • The Symantec Protection Network, otherwise known as backing up to the cloud, is only available in North America currently. It's intended to introduce it to Europe once legal restrictions on data movement across frontiers have been understood.
  • A Cold Imaging technology can backup a non-bootable computer or a corrupted file system, using a recovery disk, for forensic analysis or eDiscovery activity on another system.

Availability and pricing

  • Backup Exec 12.5 and Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 will be available from October 6, 2008.
  • Backup Exec 12.5: MSRP $995 for a media server license. Each additional agent or option can vary in price from $395 to $3,195 MSRP.
  • Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 has an MSRP of $1,095 USD per server and $69 per workstation.
  • Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5 (licence discovery, patching and admin) and Backup Exec System Recovery Solution 8.5 (offering centralised management of agents and backup policies) will become available in the late fall this year.
  • Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5 has an MSRP of $1,995.
  • Backup Exec System Recovery Solution 8.5, is included with the purchase of Backup Exec System Recovery. ®

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