Symantec recently announced the availability of a new product, NetBackup Pure Disk Remote Office Edition. The initial thought on hearing about this product must be whether there is a market for it, as organizations will already have back-up software in place to protect remote offices. However, on closer examination, it seems that it is plugging a gap in the market place.
There have been numerous instances recently of tapes in transit disappearing, and consequently compromising the personal details of individuals. All of the cases highlighted had one thing in common and that was that the data was not encrypted.
NetBackup Pure Disk can eliminate the risks that were posed in these cases in two ways. Firstly, it encrypts the data before it is copied, so that if it is being backed up to devices off-site, for example to a central data center, the data that is transmitted is encrypted. Secondly, it is stored in an encrypted format, so if organizations wish to transport their tapes off-site and the tapes go missing, at least the data is encrypted.
However, it is likely that the encryption capability will enable more organizations to back-up their data directly to a data center, and therefore reduce the risk posed by having to transport tapes off-site.
One of the biggest selling points for NetBackup Pure Disk will undoubtedly be its global single instance storage capability, whereby it checks to see whether files already exist before it backs them up, and it will only ever store one instance of a file. Metadata is used to identify which offices hold copies of a file, so that it can be restored back to those offices.
Another feature of NetBackup Pure Disk is Continuous Data Protection, which allows users to roll back a file to a previous version. This means that all changes to a file are stored and versioned. The amount of data being backed-up is minimized by using incremental back-ups, which means that only one full back-up need ever be taken, and data can be restored using the full back-up and incremental back-ups. In addition, only blocks that have changed since the last back-up are copied.
There are many other features built into NetBackup Pure Disk, such as the ability to manage remote back-ups from a single point of administration; data can initially be backed up to disk, or can be backed up to storage on the remote site, and can then be downloaded to the data center in the background, with the ability to throttle back the download if bandwidth demands from users increase.
There are a number of areas in which NetBackup Pure Disk overlaps with NetBackup 6 and Replication Exec from Symantec, and this may currently deter NetBackup users from deploying the product. There are plans to integrate NetBackup Pure Disk with NetBackup 6, at which stage it will become an option within the NetBackup product set.
However, at present there appears to be a serious weakness in NetBackup Pure Disk, and that is that it will only back up file-based data sources, and there is no support for databases or applications. This will be addressed in future releases, with support for Exchange being delivered first.
There are high volumes of file-based data within organizations, and even without the database support, there is value in implementing NetBackup Pure Disk, particularly in organizations where data has to be moved from the remote site to a central data center or to off-site storage, and there should be opportunities for Symantec to sell this solution into organizations that do not already have Symantec back-up products.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)