Symantec Backup Exec gets De-Duplication

Symantec are planning to include the de-duplication of their PureDisk product into both Backup Exec & NetBackup, to further help reduce the amount of storage needed to keep data. AN analyst notes reveals:

“…dedupe would be integrated in NetBackup 7.0 and Backup Exec 2010 in the second half of its financial 2010 year, which closes at the end of March, 2010.”

This should help Symantec regain some of the market share, and reputation, it has lost over the last 18 months or so and become the well respected Backup vendor that Veritas once was.

More info can be found over at The Register.

Symantec buy MessageLabs

Symantec is set to buy MessageLabs for $695m in cash, with the deal expected to close by the end of the year (2008).

The British email security firm is set to be merged with the Symantec Protection Network to provide a comprehensive SAAS (software as a service) solution. You can read more over at The Register.

Veritas, Altiris, Vontu and now Messagelabs..Symantec have, over the last few years, become a huge software company with a very wide ranging portfolio which is something of a double edged sword really…it allows partners to provide a more holistic solution to their customers which benefits all parties involved; but equally it means Symantec’s focus is spread quite thin…

Backup Exec 12.5 Virtual Licensing

Backup Exec 12.5 claims virtual machine licensing is a lot easier and cheaper now, but I’ve been doing some research…and that claim isn’t quite as true as it seems!

The new agents for ESX & Hyper-V are claimed to be able to back up all the Virtual Machines on a physical server..but this is only true as long as they are all file servers!

If you have any application on the VM’s such as SQL, Exchange, Sharepoint, Oracle, SAP etc, you will still need to licence each VM with an application agent and treat it like a separate physical machine…just like before.

Also, the new Virtual Agents only allow you to perform FULL backups. If you want to perform incrementals etc, you will need to buy an Agent for Windows Systems for each VM…just like before.

While the new Virtual Agents will reduce costs and complexity to some degree and they show a step in the right direction, they are by no means the revolution that Symantec indicated!

Symantec and Citrix working together

Veritas Virtual Infrastructure (VxVI) is the new product forged from the combined fires of Symantec & Citrix as their entry into the world of virtual server management. This combination of Veritas Storage Foundation & Citrix XenServer is able to manage 1000’s of VM’s and all their associated storage from a single interface.

It will offer “direct control of block storage from a guest virtual server, block storage functionality, including mirroring across heterogeneous arrays, and SAN-based multi-pathing for data availability.” XenServer enables the sharing of common boot image across multiple virtual servers to help streamline the provisioning process.

“We worked with Citrix at the engineering level to make VxVI more than just a collection of bundled stand-alone products,” says Sean Derrington, Symantec’s director of storage management and high availability.

VxVI will allow users to manage servers and storage from one screen and perform advanced management tasks, including mirroring and striping LUNs, dynamic reconfiguration of layouts, or copying and moving volumes around from subsystem to subsystem.

Veritas Virtual Infrastructure should be available in Q4 2008 and is expected to cost $4595 for a dual processor server.

More info on this, and related subjects can be found at InfoStor

Symantec (Veritas) NetBackup New Features

Symantec (Veritas) NetBackup 6.5.2 has new features. The higher end, enterprise big brother to Backup Exec has a new version to bring more benefits to your organization…and it’s been stealing from it’s smaller sibling!!

The new PureDisk DeDuplication Option enables data deduplication across Veritas NetBackup clients and allows you to backup only the unique data.

When it came to improving it’s recovery capabilities, NetBackup looked to Backup Exec and “borrowed” it’s Granular Recovery Technology (GTR) which allows for quick recovery of entire systems/individual files, e-mails, documents, and virtual machines from single-pass image backups of Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, SharePoint Server 2007, and VMware servers…nice! The Granular Recovery Technology also eliminates duplicate block-level backups, thus reducing storage requirements.

Similar to Backup Exec 12.5, NetBackup now supports VMware Consolidated Backups (VCB) and snap-shot client support in VM’s.

A number of datsheets on the different optiopns for NetBackup can be download here.

Backup Exec 12.5 Compatibility

Backup Exec 12.5 is released within the next few weeks and for those of you considering an upgrade, I’ve gathered together some information that will hopefully make your decision easier.

Licensing Downgrades:

Can I use a previous version? If so what version? The curretn downgrade rights allow you to downgrade from V12.5 back to 11d. If you need to add new servers/agents/options to an older environment you will have to upgrade to V12.5.

If you purchase your licences with support, that will give you Version Upgrade Protection, enabling y ou to always keep up to date with new releases.

Backwards Compatibilty:

  • As has been the case before, the new features of V12.5 will not work if the agent is put in to an older environment (12, 11d etc)
  • Backup Exec 12.5 media server will work with 11d and v12 agents.
  • Backup Exec 12.5 Central Admin Server Option (CASO) will manage V12 servers, but not 11d or before.
  • Backup Exec 12.5 Media Server is compatible with Netware 9.2 Remote agents.

What Windows operating systems are supported in Backup Exec 12.5 and BESR 8.5?:
• Microsoft Windows Server 2008
• Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003 family (SP1)
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 family
• Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003.(SP1)
• Microsoft Windows 2000 Server family.(SP4, Update Rollup 1
for Windows SP4) (SP4 is the minimum requirement for support
of SQL Express 2005)
• Windows Small Business Server 2000, 2003, and 2008

What virtual environments are supported in Backup Exec 12.5 and BESR 8.5?:
• VMware ESX Server 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5
• VMware Infrastructure 3 (replacement/rename for ESX Server)
• VMware Server 1.0 (replacement/rename for GSX Server)
• VMware GSX Server 3.1 and 3.2
• Microsoft Hyper-V
• Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2

For those of you out there that are running Linux servers, the Remote Media Server Agent for Linux should be of interest. This means you can now add direct attached storage (DAS) to your remote Linux servers (the agent include a Linux Remote Agent too).

Microsoft Small Business Server 2008: As you may know,  SBS 2008 is now licensed by Microsoft to include a 2nd “Member Server” that can be used as part of the SBS 2008 Premium family to host SBS-included applications such as SQL 2008, Exchange, or SharePoint. Backup Exec 12.5 Small Business Server Premium will now include, at no charge, an Agent for Windows System (AWS) for customers who may want to protect this second sever as well.

What versions can I upgrade from?:

This is often the trickiest part of moving to a new version of software, if your current environment isn’t 100% standardised on one version.

From a technical standpoint, versions 11d & 12 can be directly upgraded to 12.5, while any previous versions must be un-installed prior to 12.5 installation.

From a licensing standpoint, you are still eligible to upgrade ANY previous version of Backup Exec.

Symantec Backup Exec 12.5

Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 is nearly upon us (06/10/08 – 6th October) and it has got some great new features. A lot of people felt that V12 wasn’t a huge leap forward and so kept their infrastructure on 11d, but I really think Backup Exec 12.5 is worth it…particularly it’s advances in relation to Virtualisation.

New Features:

Perhaps the biggest change is that you no longer require an agent per virtual machine-now it’s an agent per Hypervisor-with an agent for VMware and a separate agent for Hyper-V. This will definitely help keep downs the costs of backup in this modern age!

A blog post by Pat Hanavan, the VP of Product Management in Symantec’s Data Protection Group (the new name for Backup Exec & NetBackup) says:

“Backup Exec understands the structure of the Hyper-V environment and presents the same logical structure in the backup administrator GUI, so backup administrators can manage backup and recovery functions for their physical and virtual systems via the console.”

The full transcript can be found over at

Symantec’s Patent-Pending Granular Recovery Technology gives you individual file level recovery from a single backup-this applies to both Exchange & Sharepoint. This greatly reduces the time and cost associated with these backups.

If your virtualisation plans have been on hold/slow to take off due to worries about cost and/or complexity around backup of VM’s, I think Backup Exec 12.5 will allow you to take that first step into the virtual world.

More info on the new agents for Virtual Server can be found here.

Price & Availability:

The release date for this and Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 is 06/10/08 (6th of October 2008) and esitmated RRP (in dollars) is:

Backup Exec 12.5 has a suggested price of $995 USD for a media server license. Each additional agent or option can vary in price from $395 USD to $3,195 USD MSRP; Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 has a suggested price of $1,095 USD per server and $69 USD per workstation.

Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5:

Another new product due out from Symantec is Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5. This is powered by Altiris software (following Symantec acquisition in early 2006) and aims to make simplify upgrades & patch management as well as reduce TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) through licence discovery tools. Another cool feature is it’s ability to give you a graphical map of your Backup Exec deployment 🙂

Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5 is due out “late Fall 2008”, so I’d say November is likely to be when it becomes available. It has a suggested RRP of $1995.

Exciting times!