Symantec upgrades BESR

Posted on April 16, 2007

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By Ann Silverthorn

—At the Storage Networking World conference in San Diego tomorrow, Symantec will announce an upgrade to its Backup Exec System Recovery (BESR) product line. BESR is designed to help IT administrators restore complete Windows systems and perform full bare-metal recovery to dissimilar hardware environments for servers, desktops, or laptops. BESR 7.0 will feature centralized management and data-recovery capabilities that include enhanced support for Microsoft Exchange as well as virtual environments.

"System recovery remains a core issue, because 85% of systems are not being backed up," claims Michael Parker, product marketing manager for Symantec's BESR product line. "We have a lot of data backup discussions, but we don't talk as much about systems. The top-two reasons for systems going down are hardware failure and human error. Once systems go down, users try to restore everything from tape or do a manual restore. There are questions of reliability."

BESR captures an exact copy of the system—including the operating system, applications, system settings, user settings, and data—in a single recovery point. In the event of a system failure, IT administrators select the recovery point to restore from, and BESR automatically restores the complete system.

Parker says to restore manually, as in the case of a failed hard disk, IT administrators typically have to acquire another drive, manually replace it, re-install the operating system, re-install the device drivers and applications, reconfigure the settings, apply the journal, and then test it before the system goes "live." If they did anything wrong in the process, they have to do it again.

The new version of BESR also allows users to protect individual files and folders through a file and folder schema, in addition to the volume-based recovery point process. Users can keep multiple versions of the same file, including various changes in time for recovery. The new Exchange Retrieve Option recovers not only the entire Exchange server, but also individual messages, attachments, folders, and mailboxes.

A "Google-like" search tool called Backup Exec Retrieve is also included in BESR 7.0, which allows users to recover their own files without IT intervention. BESR also integrates with Google Desktop for a similar retrieval capability.

Centralized management in the new Backup Exec System Recovery Manager component displays all system backup-and-recovery activity across multiple systems in a central location. Administrators can centrally create backup jobs, view real-time status, run reports, resolve problems, and add new systems.

Current Backup Exec for Windows Servers customers can leverage the new Backup Exec for Windows Servers System Recovery option. This new option offers system recovery capabilities found in the stand-alone editions of BESR, including dissimilar hardware recovery and physical- to-virtual conversion. BESR 7.0 also offers conversion of virtual systems back to physical for VMware ESX Server, VM Server, VMware Workstation, and Microsoft Virtual Server.

Pricing for BESR 7.0 is $1,095 per server and $69 per workstation. Backup Exec for Windows Servers customers can purchase the new Backup Exec for Windows Servers System Recovery Option for $695. The new products will ship late this month.

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