VMworld: Symantec Enhances VMware Integration, Intros Hardware Appliances

Symantec this week rolled out new NetBackup and Backup Exec data protection appliances and expanded VMware support as a way to help customers bring their mission-critical applications to virtualized infrastructures.

The new products were introduced at the VMworld conference being held this week in Las Vegas.

Most organizations are already well on the way towards taking advantage of the flexibility offered by virtualization, but not when it comes to mission-critical applications, said John Magee, vice president of virtualization solutions at Symantec.

"This leads to virtualization stall," Magee said. "As customers move their mission-critical applications towards virtualized infrastructures, they hit several challenges that become a real obstacle to going forward."

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Challenges blocking the move of mission-critical applications to virtualized infrastructures, and from there to the cloud, include the complexities of working in ever-changing environments, the cost of re-architecting storage for virtualization, the need to ensure availability of the applications, security issues, and performance, Magee said.

To get past those challenges, Symantec has expanded its Backup Exec and NetBackup lines with improved VMware functionality in virtualized environments, as well as new hardware appliances based on the applications for easier, said Monica Girolami, senior manager of product marketing for the vendor.

The latest version of Symantec's Backup Exec 2010 midrange data protection application now supports VMware new VMware vSphere 5.0 cloud infrastructure suite, Girolami said.

It is now also integrated with Symantec ApplicationHA high availability software to predict and trigger an application restore if ApplicationHA is unable to remediate an application failure, she said.

"Symantec ApplicationHA works with a VMware guest to monitor applications inside the guest," she said. "It takes steps to remediate any issues in the application in VMware, including turning the application off and restarting it if needed."

If Symantec ApplicationHA is unable to remediate an issue, it will automatically trigger Backup Exec to recover the last full backup of the guest machine, Girolami said. "It the restore the application to the last full backup, quickly bringing it back into operation," she said.

Also new is a VMware plug-in that provides recovery validation, Girolami said. "Once a backup is done of a guest machine, Backup Exec boots it up in a separate virtualized environment to make sure it boots up properly," she said. "This gives customers confidence that their applications will remain available."

With the enhancements to Backup Exec 2010, customers can now manage the full protection of data in both physical and virtual environments through a single console, Girolami said.

"If customers today are not taking a holistic view of their entire infrastructure, and are using separate solutions for their virtual backups, they are loosing the opportunity for consolidate savings," she said.

Symantec is also following up last year's release of its first NetBackup data protection appliance with the introduction of a Backup Exec appliance, Girolami said.

The new Backup Exec 3600 appliance is an easy-to-deploy, all-in-one solution including the hardware, the Backup Exec software, and all the needed licenses, she said.

"We give you all the agents and options, as well as VMware protection," she said. "It reduces the risk by giving customers a single-vendor-certified solution."

The Backup Exec 3600 appliance includes 8 TBs of raw capacity, or 5.5 TBs of customer-usable capacity, and comes with virtualization and deduplication software as well as Symantec Critical System Protection for anti-malware and anti-virus protection, she said.

"It's a complete solution," she said. "There's only one option: one-year support or three-year support."

Next: New NetBackup Appliance Also Introduced

Symantec also unveiled a new version of the NetBackup hardware appliance based on its NetBackup enterprise data protection software, said Peter Elliman, senior manager of product marketing for the NetBackup software line.

The new NetBackup 5220 appliance includes the company's latest NetBackup 7.1 software, and has integrated deduplication capabilities, Elliman said.

The NetBackup 5220 comes configured with 4 TBs of capacity which can be expanded with the addition of storage trays to a maximum of 32 TBs or via its NetBackup 5000 deduplication appliance to a maximum of 192 TBs, Elliman said.

Software is still Symantec's primary focus, Elliman said.

"Our appliance strategy includes hardware only for our NetBackup and Backup Exec products," he said. "We provide a defined form factor with defined characteristics that partners can offer."

James Soliday, senior manager of corporate engineering at DLT Solutions, a Herndon, Virg.-based government solution provider and Symantec partner, said his company recently started working with Symantec's hardware appliances because the vendor moved production of them from China to the U.S.

"We're pretty excited," Soliday said. "It's good to know we can now offer the appliances to the Federal government."

DLT has worked with Symantec's NetBackup appliance in enterprise-sized government customers where the infrastructure includes multiple operating systems and applications, and is now looking to do the same with Symantec's Backup Exec appliance in smaller settings, Soliday said.

Symantec laid out a great hardware strategy despite denying for years it would ever get into the hardware business, Soliday said.

"If you look at the market, everyone is trying to get out-of-the-box solutions," he said. "And large storage hardware companies like EMC now have more software products than Symantec. Symantec's seen the writing on the wall. It's not saying it is jumping into the hardware space. But it's trying to level the playing field."

The new NetBackup and Backup Exec appliances are currently shipping.