Symantec Livens Up LiveState Storage Software

The Cupertino, Calif.-based security and storage vendor on Monday unveiled an add-on to its LiveState Recovery software, a disk-based recovery solution for enterprise servers and workstations that the company said reduces backup windows and does quick bare-metal recoveries if a critical system fails.

The add-on, LiveState Recovery Manager 3.0, adds centralized, policy-based system and data protection management for data centers, distributed computing environments and remote locations, said L.D. Weller, product manager for enterprise administration backup at Symantec.

Symantec acquired LiveState Recovery Manager with its purchase of PowerQuest in September 2003.

LiveState Recovery Manager provides a consolidated view of the entire backup and recovery environment, which aids in easing deployment and troubleshooting of that environment, said Weller.

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It also gives a report of what and what isn't protected and whether any backups were missed, Weller said. In addition, it reports on what storage is off-line and when it comes on-line. All of this can be used for compliance reporting, he said.

The application lets customers set policies that, for example, ensure everything is backed up once a week and shows any items not properly backed up. LiveState Recovery Manager can also force an immediate redo of any failed backups, he said.

John Jabbusch, president and chief engineer of Carolina Advanced Digital, a Siler City, N.C., solution provider working with customers in the commercial, education and federal, state and local government spaces, said he has yet to see LiveState Recovery Manager, but has worked with LiveState Recovery since before PowerQuest was acquired by Symantec.

But he said he likes that the new application transforms LiveState Recovery from a disaster- recovery and backup recovery product for hundreds of servers into an enterprise-class application for thousands of seats that can be centrally managed.

"[LiveState Recovery Manager] gives a policy overview," he said. "It lets customers see how many servers they have, whether they have the latest version of the LiveState agent, whether or not the backup was successful. ... It will remotely monitor the status of thousands of seats. You can glance at the central control console, see if anything is at risk and get the tools to address problems from a central location for any remote location."

Prior to LiveState Recovery, Carolina's clients would receive a patch that addressed specific operating system vulnerabilities, deploy it to a test server in a lab, run it for weeks to ensure the server was stable with the patch and then deploy the patch to production servers, Jabbusch said.

"Since the window between vulnerability identification to first exploit has compressed substantially, our customers no longer have the luxury of waiting for a trial run on a test platform," he said. "The solution we've employed is to use [LiveState Recovery] to obtain a very fast boot volume image of each server, then deploy the OS patch almost immediately after receiving it. If the patch delivery goes badly, we can restore the server back to its pre-patch state in minutes, greatly reducing the risk of productivity loss as a result of rapid patch deployment."

If Symantec offers the patch management component as an add-on to LiveState Recovery Manager in the future, these techniques could be combined into a central policy-based management framework including patch management and delivery and server rollback in case of a failed patch, said Jabbusch. "[It] could be a fairly painless, largely automated process," he said. "Not to mention the considerable benefit of very fast hot, live server backup and recovery."

Mike Plant, director of Americas marketing for enterprise administration backup at Symantec, said LiveState Recovery and LiveState Recovery Manager are both sold through solution providers and OEMs, and there are no direct sales.

The new LiveState Recovery Manager will expand the channel's opportunities, said Plant. "Solution providers can talk to customers about backup planning, storage planning and business continuity," he said. "They're not just installing a bunch of agents, but instead working on a holistic storage plan."

For Jabbusch, Symantec's acquisition of PowerQuest suggests its acquisition of Veritas should go well.

When PowerQuest was acquired, Jabbusch was initially wary about what might happen to PowerQuest's channel partners, but in the end found it to be one of the smoothest transitions he has ever seen.

"Symantec seems to have mastered the art of acquisition," he said. "[Symantec] seems to know to leave enough of the company and its management and culture so they don't end up with any major disruptions. I'm excited about Veritas. It has a huge installed base, and its products are complementary to LiveState."