Symantec on Monday started shipping a beta release of its upcoming Backup Exec 2012 data protection software specifically for channel partners to test the product and provide feedback to help develop the final version.
While Backup Exec 2012 and Backup Exec 2012 Small Business Edition will not be available until some time in the first half of next year, Symantec wants its solution providers to get ready for the software's release, said Sean Regan, senior director of product marketing for Symantec's backup, archiving, and e-discovery business.
"For the last four quarters, Enrique (Salem, Symantec president and CEO) has emphasized the importance of the channel to the success of our backup business," Regan said. "With so many customers moving from physical to virtual infrastructures, and our partner-led services model, this gives our partners the ability to help customers work more in virtualized environments."
One of the key features in Backup Exec 2012 is V-Ray, a technology Symantec initially introduced in May to improve the transparency of backups in virtualized environments
V-Ray offers a single solution for understanding and protecting the data of both physical and virtual machines at the same level and backing them all up in a single pass.
"When VMware and Microsoft and other virtualization vendors deliver their APIs, it's up to the backup software vendors to use them," Regan said. "Symantec uses the interfaces to look deep inside the virtual environments to do backups."
With Backup Exec 2012, Symantec has also revamped the interface to make it easer to set up and use than in the past, Regan said. "With Backup Exec 2012 Small Business Edition, a user can be set up in 10 minutes with three simple steps," he said. "But power users will still have all the original setup features."
Also new is physical-to-virtual conversion, said Aidan Finley, product marketing manager for Backup Exec.
"This lets customers do a physical backup, and at the same time convert it to a virtual image," Finley said. "They can have the virtual image available instantly if their system fails. We call it, 'no-hardware disaster recovery.'"
Traditional data protection software often allows recovery of data from virtual images, but it usually requires copying the entire backup to a server, mounting the copy, and searching for a file. "With Backup Exec 2012, an individual e-mail can be brought back in less than 10 clicks," Finley said. "It can pull the data from the virtual machine and bring it back to the original system or to an alternative system."
Backup Exec 2012 also features built-in integration with the company's ApplicationHA high availability software as a way to have a restored version of a system available for immediate use should the original system go down, Regan said.
"When a virtual machine appears that it might fail, ApplicationHA will try to bring it back up," he said. "If it can't, ApplicationHA creates a command to do a pre-emptive recovery before it fails. Backup Exec is the only product with that level of integration."
Backup Exec 2012 will also feature a new per-socket licensing model in addition to its current a la carte pricing, Regan said.
The beta version of Backup Exec 2012 is now available to Symantec's 45,000-plus partners to try, Finley said. The software has actually been in beta for over eight months with a small group of customers and partners, but this is the first time it is open for testing for all partners, he said.