By Heidi Biggar
Virtually every storage vendor is going after the SMB, or SME, market, and Veritas is no exception. Last month, the company released an enhanced version of its backup-and-recovery software-Backup Exec 10.0 for Windows Servers-that addresses many of the data-protection requirements of SMBs, including ease of use, integration, improved data management, backup consolidation, and low cost.
According to the AMI Spending Model, SMBs will spend approximately $1.2 billion on storage software annually by 2008.
“Overall, the announcement is proof that Veritas is serious about bringing enterprise-class features to the SME market,” says Alex Gorbansky, senior analyst with the Taneja Group consulting firm.
However, what remains to be seen is whether Veritas will be able to execute, given its pending acquisition by Symantec.
“The acquisition may give vendors such as CommVault, EMC/Legato, and Microsoft an opportunity to take market share from Veritas,” says Gorbansky.
Nevertheless, analysts say that the new release of Backup Exec will appeal to SMBs. “While the SMB market is more competitive than it’s ever been, Backup Exec 10.0 is an important milestone for Veritas, its channel, and end users,” says Pete Gerr, senior analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group consulting firm.
EMC late last month also strengthened its SMB data-protection play with its first release of Dantz Retrospect since acquiring the backup software provider last year (see “EMC picks up Dantz,” Infostor, November 2004, p. 8). Dantz Retrospect 7 for Windows includes four new editions: Retrospect 7 Multi Server, Single Server, Small Business Server, and Disk-to-Disk.
EMC also announced new versions of Retrospect for the SOHO market, as well as several enhancements to its higher-end NetWorker backup-and-recovery software.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is fine-tuning its Data Protection Server (DPS) software, which is currently in beta and expected to ship in the second half of the year. Although more than 20 software vendors (including CommVault, Computer Associates, EMC/Dantz, and Hewlett-Packard) have announced support for DPS, Veritas has not (see “Microsoft eyes data-protection market,” Infostor, November 2004, p. 12).
DPS, which has been described by some analysts as more of a replication tool than a backup product, takes continuous snapshots of data on open files and then stores these changes to disk.
As evidence of the blurring line between backup and replication, Veritas announced the integration of Backup Exec 10.0 and Replication Exec 5.3 (formerly Veritas Storage Replicator).
The two products are also integrated with Veritas Storage Exec 5.3 (formerly Veritas Storage Central). All three products are available separately or as a product suite.
Replication Exec and Backup Exec work together to ensure that data is replicated and then backed up to tape for archival. Users monitor the backup and replication process from the Backup Exec console.
Similarly, Storage Exec feeds information about network resources (e.g., how much storage is available in the network for backup) and files (e.g., which files need to be backed up) to Backup Exec, which is then used by the backup platform to improve the efficiency of the backup process, explains Pat Hanavan, senior director of product management at Veritas.
Besides integration, the 10.0 release of Backup Exec features a new Central Administration Option that allows users to monitor and manage multiple remote or departmental Backup Exec servers from a central console; an enhanced multi-stage backup feature that gives users the option to schedule when data is moved from secondary disk to tape, to restore data from disk or directly from tape (without going back through the original disk target), and to create virtual tape libraries; and an Advanced Disk-based Backup Option (ADBO), which allows users to take synthetic backups of data as well as perform backups off-host.
Mike Menard, systems and data manager at Stanley Aviation, a manufacturer of airplane parts and a long-time Backup Exec user, has been using Backup Exec 10’s Central Administration Option in a test environment for the past few months to consolidate the backup of 27 servers, six of which are located at remote sites.
“We have media servers in California and Colorado, but until we started testing the Central Administration Option, I had to manage them separately,” explains Menard.
“Now I can manage them all from my desktop console at our Colorado headquarters,” he adds.
Menard expects to manage more remote backup servers in the future as Stanley continues to grow and potentially acquire more companies. Backup Exec’s Central Administration Option, he says, will allow him to control the backup environment throughout this expansion.
Other highlights of Backup Exec 10.0 include Linux support; Environment Check, which detects installation problems; the DirectAssist Web-based tool for self-diagnosing system/environment issues as they occur; and QuickStart, an entry-level version of the software for distribution through OEMs only.
Backup Exec 10.0 is priced from $895. The Backup Exec Suite, which includes Replicator Exec and Storage Exec, is priced from $4,280. Both Replicator Exec and Storage Exec are also sold separately, with starting prices of $1,495 and $795, respectively.