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Symantec’s Better Backup for All: An Inside Perspective

February 21, 2012


Explosive information growth. The emergence of virtualization. Stringent eDiscovery requirements. These developments are placing unprecedented strain on our backup and recovery infrastructures.
That’s why Symantec this month is announcing Better Backup for All, an ambitious plan with the goal of driving out up to 80% of the operating costs of doing backup and recovery over the next five years.
As part of this plan, Symantec will address the biggest challenges IT managers face today: How to simplify backup and recovery, how to protect physical as well as virtual environments, and how to recover data as quickly as possible in case of a disaster.
Recently, Danny Milrad, Director of Product Marketing at Symantec, took time out to discuss some of the key components of Better Backup for All, including breaking the backup window, eliminating the infinite retention mindset, integrating snapshots and backup, and unifying virtual and physical protection.

Symantec talks about “breaking the backup window” and what it means

One constant challenge in the world of backup and recovery is how to better meet backup windows given data growth of 50% per year. The problem is, the traditional full backup is increasingly difficult to perform. In some cases, it’s impossible. Yet many organizations still want the safety of a full backup to quickly and reliably recover an entire set of data. Without it, they’re forced to rebuild a full image from a series of incremental backups. And if there’s ever a problem with any of those incremental images, then recovery is slowed or, worse, data loss occurs.
I saw a statistic recently that nearly half of our customers can't meet their SLAs due to too much data. So what can be done to minimize these out-of-control backup windows?
A new feature in the next release of NetBackup will help eliminate out-of-control backup windows by accelerating full backups by up to 100 times. With a single click from NetBackup’s unified management console, NetBackup Accelerator will perform an instant full backup at the speed of an incremental without sacrificing the recovery benefits associated with a full backup.
I know of a major healthcare provider that recently turned to Symantec for faster and more efficient backups. The results they’re seeing include fivefold faster backup times, an 80% reduction in backup administration time, and six-figure savings over their previous deduplication solution.

How is it that infinite retention means infinite waste?

In 2011, Symantec conducted a survey and found approximately 40% of organizations keep data on their backup tapes infinitely and use those backup tapes for their legal hold process. That’s a costly proposition in the event of litigation.
The survey respondents said they had to respond to legal, compliance, or regulatory requests for electronically stored information 63 times in the past year. To find this information, IT staff needed 66 hours on average. That’s more than 4,000 hours per year or the equivalent of two person-years!
So why is it so hard to delete information that isn’t needed? Well, that’s the key isn’t it? Enterprises know they should have an information retention policy in place that allows them to delete unnecessary information confidently. But too often they don’t because they’re unclear about what information is necessary and what information is not.
That’s how the infinite retention mindset is born, where it becomes acceptable to keep stuff forever and buy more storage rather than delete information confidently.
NetBackup Search gives IT professionals the ability to identify the information necessary for retention, enabling them to delete the information that isn’t. This results in storage savings, better risk management, and a dramatic reduction in actual and potential eDiscovery and compliance-related costs.
Remember: Your backup isn’t your archive, so don’t treat it like one. Symantec can help you identify what to archive and what to delete.

How Symantec solves problems with snapshots

In most enterprise backup environments, both backup software and array-based snapshot technology co-exist to provide tiers of protection and recovery. The problem is that in many cases, the backup infrastructure is managed by the backup team, and snapshots and replicas are managed by the storage team.
While this may “appear” to be efficient when things are good, when things turn bad and a fast recovery is required from either a major or minor disaster, it can quickly become a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, increasing risk and cost.
In the upcoming release of NetBackup, Symantec can help reduce cost and accelerate recovery with the integration of backup and snapshot replication management with the new NetBackup Replication Director. With Replication Director, you can recover hundreds of snapshots in less than 5 minutes from a single console.
Keep in mind that 90% of restore requests are for individual files. Symantec’s ability to quickly pinpoint and recover individual files means fewer requests go to the storage and backup teams.

How organizations can get the same level of protection for their virtualized environment that they have for their physical environment

Here’s the thing about virtualization: From a server utilization perspective, turning one server into 10 has huge economies of scale. From a backup perspective, it’s a nightmare. It’s like Tetris. They keep generating and coming at you with relentless abandon. With a compound annual growth rate of 40% and VM admins creating new VMs with a click of the mouse, you can imagine the challenge from a backup perspective if that person isn’t one and the same. Add a manual procedure to this and you’re just asking for trouble.
So why don’t we give the backup admin some well deserved relief? Symantec’s solution is to automate VM protection. No more having to depend on the VM admin to file IT tickets to back up their virtual machines. With NetBackup’s VM Intelligent Policy, protecting VMware is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. No more finding out that a VM exists only when you’re asked to restore it.
NetBackup’s VM Intelligent Policy leverages Symantec’s V-Ray technology to automatically discover, identify, and protect VMs as they come online—whether they’re new, cloned, or migrated from another location. This means that virtual machines can be protected wherever they reside, without having to edit the backup policy. It basically puts virtual machine protection on “auto-pilot.”

How Symantec plans to reduce the overall cost of enterprise data protection by 80% over the next five years

By providing our customers with a single data protection platform that replaces the multiple solutions typically used in backup today.
There are four areas of concern voiced by our customers with data protection in their environments: Capital Expense, Operating Expense, Service Level Attainment, and Transformation. It’s our job to help customers reduce costs across CapEx and OpEx, deliver SLAs, and help manage the Data Center Transformation.

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