Symantec says backup is a multi-point product mess, with big data blowing backup-window timing out of the water, and so it has souped up both BackupExec and NetBackup to cover more backup and restore use cases. The sexy news – well, as sexy as backup news can be – is that the latest release of NetBackup is said to be 100 times faster, theoretically shrinking a 25-hour backup window to 15 minutes.
Deepak Mohan, SVP for Symantec's Information Management Group, says: "Symantec [will] modernise data protection, which will drive out 80 per cent of the operating costs associated with backup over the next five years." Fighting talk, Mr. Mohan.
NetBackup 7.5 has a NetBackup Accelerator capability, which Symantec says has "the capability to read only changed files, dedupe these changed files, send only unique data from the client to the media server and from these unique changes, instantly make a full backup image available for recovery using NetBackup's synthesis engine."
It claims this mojo can speed backups by up to 100 times, and quotes an example: "Using old school backup, 1TB of data could take up to 6 hours to backup. With client deduplication alone, backup time is cut to 2 hours. With NetBackup Accelerator, backup time is cut to less than 15 minutes."
Actually, a literal 100X speed-up would cut a 6-hour backup to 3.6 minutes – an amazing figure that led the El Reg storage desk to suppose that a full backup without deduplication by the previous version of NetBackup is being compared with an incremental run with dedupe by the 7.5 version. We asked Symantec to clarify this, and clarify it did, saying:
The comparison is made between executing the same full backup with and without using NetBackup Accelerator. NetBackup Accelerator ensures that, after the initial full backup, only changed data is sent from the client to the backup server.
Combining this with client side deduplication, ensures only unique new data is sent, reducing the network traffic even further as only changed segments of changed files need to be transmitted.
NetBackup Accelerator dramatically reduces the time required to run full backups. It does this by building on the synthetic backup model [in] which a full backup is "synthesized" from earlier full backups and incremental backups. This allows NetBackup to protect data faster with all the full backup characteristics and capabilities in a fraction of the time needed to perform a traditional full backup.
NetBackup 7.5 has some other goodies as well, including:
- A Replication Director that integrates NetApp snapshots, meaning you can centrally manage, monitor, search, and catalog replicated NetApp Snapshots from one console.
- A Search function that enables you to identify and move information that needs to be retained to Enterprise Vault. Symantec says that "This allows you to search and find relevant backups for an investigation, put those backups on hold and expire what isn’t needed."
- NetBackup Auto Image Replication (AIR) supposedly cuts tape trucking out, because it "allows customers to eliminate volumes of physical assets and prioritise files that can be sent over the network."
NetBackup is available as a single integrated appliance for data centre, remote office, and virtual environments, which should simplify deployment and operation. The overall pitch is that NetBackup 7.5 does more, and does its core backup job many times faster.
Symantec says it will be able to unite virtual and physical backups with its V-Ray technology that works with VMware and Hyper-V. It is integrated into NetBackup and Backup Exec and it: "delivers load-balanced virtual machine backups to eliminate backup storms, improve virtual machine performance and reduce storage by deduplicating data … whether it is on VMware, Hyper-V or physical servers resulting in up to 90 per cent storage reduction."
The message here is not to buy add-on backup products to backup up virtual servers as trusty and reliable NetBackup and Backup Exec can do the job; "Customers can recover any application or system to a virtual machine whether they have the hardware or not."
Backup Exec 2012
This is the latest release of that product and physical to virtual recovery is included with it. Symantec says it simplifies disaster recovery by automatically creating a virtual machine when recovery is needed. Also, backup to virtual (B2V) technology can speed up migration from physical to virtual servers as part of the backup process. Other features include:
- A simplified user interface;
- Backup Exec Small Business Edition, which ensures that smaller companies with up to three servers can set-up data protection in less than 10 minutes and three steps;
- Backup Exec V-Ray Edition, which backs up a 100 per cent virtualised environment and can be extended to physical server environments;
- Backup Exec.cloud, simple off-premise data protection for small businesses or remote or mobile offices;
- and Backup Exec 3600 appliance, an all-in-one, affordable data protection bundle pre-packaged with Backup Exec and 5.5TB of useable disk storage (available in North America only). It protects an unlimited number of physical or virtual servers and apps.
There's no mention of a Backup Exec Accelerator; there's probably one coming.
With these developments, Symantec says its two backup products can do more, are easier to use, and that one, NetBackup, is spectacularly faster. Both virtual and physical servers can be backed up, the cloud can be a target, and appliances make backup systems easier to acquire, operate, and use.
Symantec sums up today's big backup announcement like this: "We’ve taken the pain out of backup so it’s not like a visit to the dentist, but a walk in the park. " Hmm, enjoy your backup toothache. ®