Moving forward …
As you may have seen, today (Sept. 7) Symantec announced the release of Enterprise Vault 9.0 and the NetBackup 5000 appliance. On the Enterprise Vault side, our customers have been very eagerly awaiting both the Exchange 2010 SP1 support (roughly co-sync with MSFT!) and the new Discovery Collector offering. In the world of data protection, I’ve heard great things from our beta testers and early adopters of the NetBackup 5000 … especially for speed of configuration, ease of deployment, and performance. What, performance too? Yes, it’s ripping fast!
Of course, if you are reading this you’ve probably seen the press releases (Enterprise Vault 9.0, NetBackup 5000) already, so I won’t rehash the specifics here.
Instead, let’s talk strategy. The first question I’ve gotten from customers, press, and my own sales force is, “What? An appliance? Is Symantec becoming a hardware company?” Let me hit that one straight on – NO. I strongly believe that the value in both data protection and archiving is in the software, and an appliance is one of many form factors to deliver that value (just like on-premise, hosted, and SaaS). I am extremely excited about the appliance form factor and confident in all aspects of our offering, from the proven software and quality hardware through a great support experience (if you need it!). But make no mistake, the value is in the software.
So what is Symantec’s strategy for Information Management? In short, we are working hard to help customers (gasp) delete more of their information. Most customers I talk to are seeing 30%+ year over year data growth with flat or shrinking budgets, so they need a comprehensive approach to tame that beast. I recommend four key ingredients for success: protect completely, deduplicate everywhere, delete confidently, and discover efficiently.
The need for an enterprise to protect its data has not changed from 10 years ago and I’d argue it won’t change 10 years from now. What will change is the shrinking backup window available to protect it, the need for ever faster recovery, and continued budget pressure. So companies should partner with a vendor that has demonstrated leadership across all those areas. Only Symantec offers the breadth of technologies - OS/application support, archiving, virtual synthetics, CDP/R, dedupe, deep VMware / Hyper-V support – and the continued R&D investment to deliver here.
I often say that deduplication is “motherhood and apple pie” – it is great for everyone and should be used everywhere you can. In talking to customers, many realize that the first and best area to dedupe is actually in the application itself, using archiving (Enterprise Vault). By offloading data from the primary application, you can improve application performance, save money on storage, and back it up once instead of time and time again. After that, the next best place to deduplicate is at the client level … and we support that with the embedded dedupe in NBU 7. For some performance-sensitive apps, you’ll instead want to dedupe at the media server level (which we’ve supported for years). For other environments, such as remote offices, it is easiest to drop in a dedicated appliance like the NBU 5000, which we announced today.
The key to all of this, though, is that customers need to be able to adopt all these forms of dedupe without buying four different tools and becoming System Integrators. I don’t have anything against SI’s, but not many customers just don’t have the luxury of investing heavily in their backup environment. Information management is supposed to “just work,” and not having four tools is the right place to start.
Ah, the holy grail. What if you could keep just 30 days of backups online and replicate for DR? You could get rid of tapes completely, save a ton of money, and restore much faster. So while I’ve seen some companies setting deletion policies, why don’t more companies do this today? In my experience, retention managers and other policy setters often don’t understand the power of archiving.
To break through that jam, I recommend meeting with the retention setting group at your company to ask them why the retention policy says “data must be kept on tape for 10 years.” Ask them, “What if I could keep the data you need for 10 years and get you EXACTLY what you need, do it within 24 hrs instead of 1 week, and save money to boot?” Once the retention managers understand what archiving can do for them, you can get the flexibility you need to run your environment differently. Have that meeting – it could be the start of something great.
Especially for companies in America and other common-law countries, legal discovery requirements are becoming stricter and the money being spent on legal review continues to grow (a $6 BN market last year!!). Most every customer I meet with has dealt with legal discovery (some weekly), and realize the increasingly painful distraction it is to IT. But beyond that, the company itself typically spends $80-$400 / hr for lawyers to review the data once IT finds it (and by the way, I haven’t yet met an attorney who when to law school with dreams of reading stacks of irrelevant email – they don’t like it either). The icing on the cake is that the more data you hand the opposing counsel, the more likely they are to find SOMETHING to use against you whether it was what they were looking for or not.
Instead, use an archive to automate the legal discovery process. You can find the data fast (good for IT), find ONLY the relevant data (good for risk), and hand over as little as possible to your own attorneys for legal review (good for saving money).
So Symantec isn’t becoming a hardware company. But we are working to help you keep less information, both by keeping less overall and storing what you have more efficiently. Having the industry’s leading archiving and data protection products is required to make that vision a reality, but we are not resting on the past. We showed today, and will continue to demonstrate, how our R&D investment results in the capabilities organizations need to beat the data explosion.
If you are currently a NetBackup or Enterprise Vault customer, I’m looking forward to meeting you if I haven’t already. If you aren’t and are considering a switch, drop us a line and we can show you how to Delete Confidently.
Enterprise Vault 9: Moving Information Management Forward
Moving forward …