Symantec customers look for de-duplication

Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ:SYMC) is bringing de-duplication to the mid market with its updates to Backup Exec and NetBackup software, a company executive said Thursday.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec entered the storage market five years ago with its US$13.5 billion acquisition of Veritas. Last week it announced the 2010 version of Backup Exec, which targets mid-sized firms, and NetBackup 7, its backup and recovery software for large enterprises.

Deduplication refers to products that reduce or eliminate the amount of data that gets backed up more than once.

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With version 7, Symantec has made it easier to target for de-duplication any device from any vendor supporting Open Storage Interface, said John Magee, the firm’s vice-president of product marketing.

Magee made his comments before about 200 customers, resellers and Symantec employees at the MarS Centre in downtown Toronto.

Two customers who attended the event told Network World Canada their organizations are using NetBackup version 6.5 but they are interested in deduplication.

Roger Feighney, an IT manager with Ontario’s Ministry of Government Services, said
he is interested in de-duplication so the provincial government can improve throughput and cut down on backup times.

Symantec claims with NetBackup 7, users can reduce network traffic by up to 90 per cent because of de-duplication.

Another customer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized by his employer to comment to the media, said he is interested in the “granular backup” of individual files without having to backup the whole server. He also wants visibility into all backup environments such as branch offices without having to view separate management interfaces.

Although he anticipates his organization will upgrade to version 7, he is concerned about licensing for add-ons. He said in the past when he was using Symantec products he had to pay extra for add-ons that would work with software from vendors such as SAP AG and Oracle Corp.

Feighney said he is looking for a way to administer backup through one interface.

All of these functions were touted by Symantec in its latest backup software.

Backup Exec 2010, for example, lets IT departments recover individual e-mails, inboxes or files from a single system backup on a virtualized server. It can recover “granular” data from Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange, SQL and Active Directory in virtual environments that use either VMware Inc.’s vSphere 4.0, VMware ESX or Microsoft Hyper V.

“When you run in a virtual environment you can now do, from a single pass backup, granular recovery of an individual e-mail folder, file or Active Directory user row,” MacGee said. This, he added, reduces the time it takes to backup and recover in a “real world” operation.

“This has been a pain point for people who have moved to virtualization,” Magee said.

Both Backup Exec 2010 and NetBackup 7 are available now. Backup Exec 2010 has a suggested price of $1,174 for a media server licence and “basic maintenance.” The versions with de-duplication and archiving options, with basic maintenance, cost between $2,708 and $3,888. Backup Exec works on Windows Server and requires at least one storage media drive, or a single-drive robotic library with a controller card.

NetBackup 7 has a suggested retail price of $7995 for Enterprise Server and five client licences. All prices are in U.S. dollars.

Symantec says NetBackup 7 supports tape drives from: Dell Inc.; Exabyte Corp. (acquired in 2006 by Tandberg Data GmbH); Hewlett-Packard Development Co. Ltd (HP); Overland Storage Inc.; Qualstar Corp.; Quantum Corp.; Sony Corp.; Spectra Logic Corp.; and StorageTek (acquired by Sun Microsystems Inc., which in turn was acquired by Oracle Corp.)

NetBackup works on various operating systems, including: HP UX; Sun Solaris; IBM Corp.’s AIX; and Windows Server 2003 and 2008.

Magee said version 7 has a new management console that lets administrators monitor backup jobs of NetBackup and other software, so they can tell whether a job has been completed.  The console, dubbed OpsCenter, provides reports on both backup and archive information for not only NetBackup but also Symantec’s PureDisk, Backup Exec and Enterprise Vault.

Symantec says the integrated replication technology in NetBackup lets companies reduce the amount of data they transfer between data centres and branch offices.

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