Symantec Intros Data Protection Software, Hardware, Cloud Offerings

Symantec is using its annual Vision conference this week to back up its plans to improve the protection of customers' data regardless of how it is stored with additions and enhancements to its storage hardware and software solutions.

Dave Elliott, senior product marketing manager for Symantec's Backup Exec data protection line, said that Symantec is using Vision to introduce five areas where data protection needs to be improved before complete data protection is possible.

Those five are the elimination of backup windows by improving the performance of the backup process, adding search capabilities to backups, taking chance out of the recovery process with the addition of e-discovery capabilities, improving the visibility of backups in virtualized environments, and simplifying the integration of hardware, software, and cloud storage as part of a complete data recovery system, Elliott said.

"It's the end of backups as we know them," Elliott said.

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Symantec plans over the course of 2011 to address how it will eliminate backup windows and add search and e-discovery capabilities to data protection, Elliott said. However, it is using its Vision conference to introduce improvements to its products that address backups in virtualized environments and the integration of various backup technologies, he said.

In order to improve the transparency of backups in virtualized environments, Symantec on Tuesday introduced "V-Ray" technology to its NetBackup and its Backup Exec data protection software applications.

V-Ray offers a single solution for understanding and protecting the data of both physical and virtual machines at the same level, letting those applications back up the data of both in a single pass, Elliott said.

That capability also improves the dedupe performance for both while helping avoid the backing up of garbage data, Elliott said. "In virtual machines, there's a lot of garbage data," he said.

Symantec is also adding a VMware vCenter plug-in to its Backup Exec 2010 R3, a capability which will enable users of vCenter to directly see the status of their Backup Express backup jobs, he said.

Symantec is reducing the complexity of backups with the introduction of new hardware appliances and cloud backup capabilities based on its Backup Exec 2010 R3.

The goal is to meet customers' data protection requirements regardless of their storage environments, Elliott said.

"Customer scenarios vary," he said. "Some require software to handle larger data sets, or because it's what they are used to. Others want appliances that can work in managed services environments and which can be remotely managed. And others want cloud data protection where they don't need an infrastructure of their own."

New to Backup Exec 2010 R3 is increased performance of virtual machine backups via a 30 percent to 50 percent improvement in the dedupe ration, Elliott said. Symantec has also increased the security of Backup Exec, and integrated it with the company's Enterprise Vault archiving software.

Prior to Tuesday, Symantec already offered a backup appliance based on its NetBackup software.

The company also worked with Dell to develop an OEM backup appliance based on its Backup Exec software, Elliott said.

New at Vision is a Symantec-branded backup appliance based on Backup Exec 2010 R3. "This is the first time Backup Exec has been offered as an appliance for all customers, especially midsized businesses and those with ROBOs (remote offices or branch offices)," Elliott said. "And it's great for channel partners who act as MSPs for their customers."

Backup Exec is also now integrated with Symantec's storage cloud, making it easy for small businesses or remote offices to back up Windows-based desktops and servers over a secure SSL connection to the cloud. Critical files can be restored to any service-enabled machine after a disaster, Elliott said.

Next: New Enterprise Vault And Veritas Operations Manager

Randy Cochran, vice president of channel sales for Symantec, said that Backup Exec has been the top-selling data protection for years.

"Now we're adding off-premises and appliance versions," Cochran said. "So no matter how customer want to do their backups, we can provide it."

The main competition for Symantec's new Backup Express-based software, hardware, and cloud-based data protection capabilities is not other vendors, Cochran said.

"In the small business, it's complacency," he said. "There are still a lot of customers who are not running daily backups. Appliances and the cloud are great snap-ins to their infrastructure for giving them data availability. We see some niche competition. But no one is coming close to the installed base we have with Backup Express."

Symantec is also using Vision to introduce new versions of its Enterprise Vault archiving software.

They include Enterprise Vault 10, a new version of the software which includes technology to analyze e-mail content and metadata to automatically classify e-mails and assign them the appropriate archiving and retention policies. That information is also used to speed up eDiscovery searches and reviews.

Enterprise Vault 10 also now handles the archiving and eDiscovery of new forms of communications including blogs and social media postings.

Also new is the Symantec Enterprise, an enhanced version of the company's Symantec email archiving service. It offers unlimited e-mail storage and retention in secure enterprise-class data centers for a flat monthly fee.

Symantec also introduced Veritas Operations Manager 4.0, a new version of what was previously known as Veritas Storage Foundation Manager, said Douglas Fallstrom, senior director of storage and high availability product management for the company.

Veritas Operations Manager 4.0 provides a virtualized view of storage from the applications and file systems through to the spindles in the hard drives, including physical and virtual machines, virtual machine backups, storage pools, and LUNs, Fallstrom said. "It provides true end-to-end visibility," he said.

It features agentless deployment for a single user interface that allows both server administrators and storage administrators to deploy and provision storage. "For example, an Oracle database administrator who sees the need for ore storage can just grab more virtualized storage," he said.

Veritas Operations Manager 4.0 works across VMware, Solaris Zones, and Logical Domains virtual environments, and will eventually work across Hyper-V, KVM, and other environments as well, Fallstrom said.

Using Veritas Operations Manager 4.0, customers can provide a variety of business services such as automatically start or stop clusters of virtual machine across multiple servers or storage volumes. "It can start and stop all the service groups and underlying virtual machines with a single click," Fallstrom said.

Symantec also introduced Veritas Operations Manager Advanced, which lays on top of Veritas Operations Manager to add additional reporting and chargeback capabilities.

Fallstrom said customers can use the Advanced version to shrink applications to free up storage, reclaim unused storage, shrink file systems, migrate storage, and deport or reallocate unused LUNs.