Symantec Expands NetBackup Appliances, Plans To Kill Backup Exec Appliances

Symantec is making major changes to its backup appliance business by expanding its NetBackup appliance product line with a new model while preparing to end production of its Backup Exec appliances.

Symantec, which is undergoing a planned division into two companies, one focused on security and the other on information management, is currently the world's second-largest producer of purpose-built backup appliances in terms of revenue. That's according to research firm IDC, which in September estimated Symantec's second-quarter 2014 sales of backup appliances reached $108.5 million, up about 22 percent over second quarter of 2013.

Symantec has two backup appliance families, both built on commodity hardware. One line is based on the company's NetBackup data protection software for midsize and enterprise customers, and the other on the SMB- and midrange-focused Backup Exec software.

[Related: Symantec COO: Partners Will Benefit From Breakup]

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Symantec this month added a new model, the Symantec NetBackup 5330, to its NetBackup appliance line. The NetBackup 5330 expands to up to 229 TB of capacity vs. 148 TB for the previous NetBackup 5230 model, and has twice the performance of its predecessor, said Drew Meyer, senior director of information management solutions for the vendor.

The NetBackup 5330 is targeting part of the market controlled by EMC's Data Domain appliances, Meyer told CRN.

That technology also includes Symantec's Critical Systems Protection solution, which protects against security issues such as Shellshock, Meyer said.

"We have control of the entire software stack, so we can integrate such capabilities," he said.

The Symantec NetBackup 5330 finally gives Symantec a way to challenge market leader Data Domain, said Mike Spindler, data protection practice manager at Datalink, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based solution provider and Symantec channel partner.

"The challenge with Symantec's earlier appliances is, in very large enterprises, the company was not able to challenge Data Domain," Spindler told CRN. "It didn't have the scale. Symantec told us we could compete using a bunch of appliances, but that wasn't very manageable. Data Domain could scale up out of the box. The 5330 starts at 100 TB, and scales up from there into the primary target market for Data Domain."

While some customers still keep tape for archiving, most are now using disk-based backups, Spindler said.

"To succeed, disk-based backup appliances need to scale to the enterprise," he said. "Symantec is starting to do that with the 5330."

NEXT: Symantec To End Backup Exec Appliance Line

In contrast to its expansion of the NetBackup appliance line with the 5330, Symantec is ending production of its more entry-level Backup Exec line, Meyer said in a blog post.

Meyer wrote that sales of the Backup Exec appliance line, which currently only includes the Backup Exec 3600, will end Jan. 5, 2015. Maintenance renewals, including for updates to the Backup Exec software, will be able to be purchased until Jan. 5, 2018, while support for the Backup Exec 3600 will end on Jan. 5, 2020.

The decision to end production of the Backup Exec appliances comes as Symantec has decided to focus on developing the Backup Exec software and on providing that software to OEM partners looking to build their own appliances, Meyer wrote.

"We believe we bring more value to our customers by designing quality Backup Exec software. Providing our partners with Backup Exec software that they can bundle with hardware and services best meets the needs of our small and mid-sized business customers looking for a combined offering. ... As an example of how this approach is already working, Fujitsu currently offers their Fujitsu Storage ETERNUS BE50 appliance in Japan, which delivers Backup Exec software to customers on a Fujitsu-built integrated appliance and offers additional options to deliver a packaged solution for Backup Exec in European markets," he wrote.