Veritas clips backup-restore time

Veritas Software Corp. has unveiled a new version of its Backup Exec application, a backup and restore product for Windows environments that the company says offers significant speed and functionality enhancements over its predecessor.

Backup Exec v.9.0 is the result of customer wish lists, said Fred Dimson, general manager of Veritas Software Canada Inc. in Thornhill, Ont.

“These are the things that we knew were being requested by our customer base…. We’re marrying more and more of what we offered in the enterprise product (Net Backup) into the lower tier, so we can give people more capability.”

Veritas says Backup Exec 9.0 backs up and restores data some 88 per cent faster than its forebear did. The latest version also takes half the time to install (10 minutes) than did v.8.6, which was released mid-2001.

Backup Exec 9.0 addresses certain problems that previous versions encountered with Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange server. Whereas with earlier incarnations IT managers had to reload the entire Exchange database to recover a few lost files, “now I can request those files I require and I could restore my own mailbox,” Dimson said.

Alongside this incremental-differential mailbox backup and restore capability, Veritas added “single instance storage” for attachments. The application saves e-mail attachments just once in an attempt to save precious disk space.

Backup Exec 9.0 works with Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 and “it’s the first product really certified for that,” Dimson said, adding that it’s an important achievement. “It shows we’re working really closely with Microsoft in the aspect of making sure the products are in lock step.…It gives us a bit of a lead.”

Veritas also added an “Anywhere Internet” interface so IT managers can manage backup and recovery jobs remotely.

“We plug in to whatever security exists already,” Dimson said.

Backup Exec plays baby brother to Net Backup, Veritas’s backup and restore software for the enterprise. However, “that’s not to say there are not some situations that we’ve had where a client has lots of offices, plenty of Windows and they want that manageability,” Dimson said. “Backup Exec is quite fine for that.”

With 200 servers, Ernst & Young LLP is a large Backup Exec user. Three years ago, as the professional services firm was looking for new backup software, “we had a choice between Backup Exec and Net Backup,” said Steve Willard, the company’s technical engineer in Toronto. “We chose Backup Exec.

“It was less expensive. And we are a Windows shop. Net Backup was more of a Unix-based system at that time, and it was a lot more to learn for our data centre than using straight Windows software.”

Ernst & Young is considering v.9.0 for the future, even though some of the enhancements seemed to leave Willard cold.

For instance, he didn’t put too much stock in Veritas’s claim that the latest iteration blasts its predecessor in terms of speed.

“The whole problem with backup is, your hardware is going to be the limiting point. There’s always going to be some limiting point, and right now it’s the DLT drives. They go up to about 20GB an hour for direct attached [configurations]. You can’t really go any faster than that.”

Ray Paquet, vice-president of Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn., said v.9.0 is notable for some of its features, but he wouldn’t call them “significant” improvements.

He pointed out that Veritas is the leading backup-restore software vendor, but “I think it’s far more better marketing and sales than the technology.…I don’t think they have a massive functional advantage. They do have a massive market share advantage, which helps perpetuate a self-fulfilling prophecy: everyone else has one, so I should too.”

Dimson said Backup Exec 9.0 would cost approximately $1,200 in Canada. For more information visit Veritas’s Web site at