Symantec's New Backup Appliances Aim for Unified Data Protection

Posted on May 07, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez

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In a shift from its hardware strategy, Symantec will officially debut purpose-built backup appliances tomorrow at its Vision user conference. Meant to rescue IT shops from inefficient backup setups, the new Backup Exec and NetBackup appliances are designed to weave together often-disparate data protection technologies into an easy-to-manage backup platform.

According to Peter Elliman, senior manager of Product Marketing for Symantec, piecemeal backup implementations often fail to keep up with the ever-increasing amounts of data that today's businesses generate. As a result, "businesses are struggling to protect their data and meet SLAs," said Elliman.

It's a situation affecting 49 percent of organizations, according to company estimates. The new Backup Exec and NetBackup Appliances were built to remedy that.

Journey to Self-Branded Hardware

In the past, the company worked with Dell hardware for backup appliances. The arrangement produced solutions that were little more than commodity servers bundled with Symantec's software.

While that strategy worked in the past, Elliman said his company felt it could do better in reducing storage management complexity and simplify its backup platforms. According to Elliman, "Many of our customers have anywhere from four to nine backup applications in their environment."

Symantec now works directly with contract a contract manufacturer, allowing the company to tune every element, explained Elliman. This yields pre-configured systems with features like unified storage management, end-to-end data deduplication support and WAN optimization for keeping network traffic in check. So integrated is Symantec's offering that users can't even boot into the underlying operating environment.

Dedupe, VM Visibility for SMBs

The SMB-flavored Backup Exec 3600 is a 1U backup appliance with 5.5 TB of usable SAS disk capacity, 1 GB Ethernet network connectivity and tape-out support via a SAS port. The appliance is powered by Backup Exec 2012 and Critical System Protection running on Windows 2008 R2.

The 3600 offers unified physical and virtual data protection, in addition to data deduplication. Included V-Ray technology enables visibility into virtual machine backups, easing restores of either an entire virtual machine or the data held within. In keeping with its aptitude for virtual infrastructures, the Backup Exec 3600 supports "no-hardware disaster recovery," a physical-to-virtual take on data portability.

Despite these advanced capabilities, the 3600 was developed to install and configure in minutes, according to Aidan Finley, product marketing manager for Symantec. It features "a new user interface that is easier to get up and running," he states. And that simplicity extends to buying process, he added. Customers can "buy all the hardware, all the software in a single SKU," he added.

Prices start at $15,999 for the Essential Protection Edition and climb to $25,999 for the Total Protection Edition, which adds options like a remote media agent for Linux, NDMP support, Backup Exec Library Expansion and a Central Administration Server Option. Backup Exec 3600 is available now.

vSphere Support, Cloud-Ready Backups for Enterprises

Next is the upmarket NetBackup 5220. Designed for big enterprise computing environments, the 5220 comes in 2U or 2U + 3U form factors and can be outfitted with 4 TB to 72TB of usable capacity. Network connectivity options include Fibre Channel and 10GB Ethernet.

The 5220 is powered by NetBackup 7.5 software and Veritas Storage Foundation on a Symantec-hardened operating system. With built-in, end-to-end deduplication support and WAN optimization features, the company estimates it can slash the amount production resources taken up by backup activities by up to 72 percent.

For VMware environments, the 5200 supports direct, proxy-less vSphere backups. It also adds cloud-features like secure, encrypted data transfers to supported clouds from Nirvanix, AT&T, Amazon and RackSpace. Additionally, the 5200 extends its WAN optimization and acceleration features to cloud backups, trimming transmission times and lower bandwidth requirements.

Symantec's NetBackup 5220 appliance will be generally available on June 4th.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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