Veritas scales down NetBackup for smaller companies

Veritas Software Corp. has extended its NetBackup storage software line to small- and medium-sized businesses with NetBackup BusinesServer.

John Maxwell, director of backup solutions for Veritas in Mountain View, Calif., said the company realized its customers were almost entirely large enterprises, leaving smaller companies as well as the branch offices of large companies without a reasonably-priced Veritas product.

“If they spent US$20,000 on a server, they’re probably not going to spend US$30,000 on a backup product, but they probably will spend US$5,000 on backup,” Maxwell said.

“What we discovered was a lot of customers were using NetBackup in the data centre but they’re using native utilities or other solutions” in smaller offices.

So Veritas took their NetBackup product, scaled it down for smaller environments, and added ease-of-use features.

“It’s actually got the core engine of NetBackup in it,” Maxwell said. “We’ve throttled back some of the things in it, so you don’t get as many parallel data streams. And it’s limited to smaller tape libraries because it’s meant for smaller environments.”

BusinesServer supports up to two tape drives per backup server, or a maximum of one robotic tape library with up to two drives and up to 22 slots. With multiplexing support, the software enables up to eight concurrent data streams to be written to a single tape device, which the company said optimizes tape device usage and performance.

Maxwell said a customer should be up and running with the software within 45 minutes of installation. The wizards include: installation and set-up; configuration of storage devices; configuration of catalogue backup; and policy creation for automated, unattended backup.

“The key focus of this product was to make it very, very easy to use and, not to insult anyone in the Unix world, but to make it an NT-like product for Unix. For any backup product, the part that most sysadmins and DBAs find that gives them the most heartburn is the set up of the media, your tape libraries and that kind of stuff. We did a lot of work with auto-discovery and the wizard to make it very much just point and click to help you set up your policies,” Maxwell said.

Power users, however, are not restricted to the GUI and wizards. Maxwell said the software also has a command-line interface with added configuration flexibility for those who want it.

Stan Peck, an analyst at IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto, said any backup software aimed at the small-to-medium-sized market must include ease of use features.

“Big businesses worry about what will happen to their business if the network goes down, whereas smaller players just say, ‘It’s no big deal, we’ll just reboot the system,'” Peck said.

“But as more companies start using on-line transactions, they start caring more about when they go down and out and how to recover, and was that last transaction covered or not, etc. More and more companies will need the kind of storage management functionality that the large companies have had for several years, so it’s a good strategy from [Veritas’] point of view.”

NetBackup BusinesServer runs on Solaris, HP-UX and Windows NT platforms and supports several client system platforms, including Unix, Windows NT, Windows 98, Windows 95, Novell NetWare and Macintosh. Pricing for NetBackup starts at a suggested retail price of US$1,995 for Windows NT platforms and US$3,995 for Unix platforms.