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The Next Big Thing is Already Here

Created: 13 Jun 2011 • Updated: 15 Jun 2011 • 4 comments
SeanRegan's picture
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We have seen some bombastic marketing over the last several months in the data protection space.  One vendor stuffed 26 women in a Mini Cooper, and Veeam called platform proliferation “the next big thing” when they announced intentions to deliver Hyper-V support in December of 2011 – despite it being available for the past three years from Symantec. Let’s cut through noise and look at some of the underlying facts.

Innovative, Established and Proven

•                Over 15,000 companies already leverage Symantec’s Backup Exec for Hyper-V support. What Veeam has announced has been in the market for 3 years with Symantec Backup Exec. 

•                Backup Exec protects over 75,000 virtual hosts (approx 60,000 VMware and 15,000 Hyper-V) and over 1 million guests.

•                In the past 2 years, 24,000+ companies chose NetBackup to protect their virtual environments.


Symantec’s early and deep support for multiple virtual environments has garnered widespread recognition.

    •  Symantec is VM Ready
    • Readers Choice for Backup and Recovery 2010
    •  Best of VMWorld award finalist or gold winner 2007, 2008, and 2010
    • Product of the Year 2008 and 2010 (Silver)
    • BE Customer Story-St. Gallen Symposium "Perform granular recovery of the Exchange or SQL environments running in Hyper-V"

Icarus and his Wings of Wax

In Greek mythology the main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. He got carried away, lost track of his capabilities and ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall to his death.

For all the marketing bravado and talk of platform support we hear from point products in the VM protection space, the truth, like Icarus’ wings, is that there are inbuilt limitations in these products that preclude them from platform discussions and from meeting the requirements of mission critical environments. For example, VM only data protection solutions like Veeam cannot back themselves up because they run on a physical server.

Point products that can only see the virtual side of the environment and are blind to the physical datacenter add complexity. Veeam even commented on this in their press release when advocating the value of both VMware and Hyper-V support. What they failed to consider is the inclusion of a customer’s physical infrastructure.

“Rather than a single, overarching view of their entire IT estate, organizations are receiving a progressively more fractured picture. Left unchecked, this lack of visibility will impact the IT department’s ability to effectively manage its virtual infrastructure and consequently limit the true potential of this technology.” Veeam CEO

As organizations begin to virtualize more and more mission critical applications the stakes are raised, the sun becomes hotter. Requirements to have centralized reporting, deduplication,, backup and recovery, and management across OS’s, applications and platforms, across physical virtual, and cloud environments, and across disk and tape will take precedence. The capabilities that were sufficient in the shadows of the test and development labs during the early stages of virtualization will be challenged as virtualization becomes more ubiquitous. The dark ages of virtualization are over.

Reduce Complexity, Stop Adding to It

Organizations are struggling with complexity and storage growth in their datacenter. They are currently running more backup solutions than they would like to and as astutely highlighted by Veeam’s own CEO in their press briefings, “80% currently using specialist tools to manage their infrastructure would prefer to use their traditional enterprise-wide management tools but can’t due to a lack of functionality, including the ability to monitor, manage and make changes to a virtual infrastructure at a granular level.”

Deploying one data protection solution for physical, one for virtual and one for deduplication is a recipe for complexity. Integrated physical, virtual and deduplication in one solution is the best way to reduce complexity. Symantec data protection solutions deliver integrated support for physical, virtual and cloud while giving customers the choice to deploy software, appliance or cloud versions.

Preventing the Balkanization of Backup

Virtualization has been the key driver of innovation in the datacenter over the past several years. To paraphrase Curtis Preston,

IT was transformed from a Yugo to a Ferrari when virtualization came along.

 It is true that some existing data protection solutions like IBM TSM have struggled to evolve in virtual environments. But, don’t call Symantec legacy. Symantec has been focused on innovation to support virtual environments. Key capabilities that help customers monitor, manage and make changes to a virtual infrastructure are:

1. Deep visibility to provide granular file recovery across virtual and physical environments powered by Symantec V-Ray technology – embedded directly into Backup Exec and NetBackup. You can't recover what you don't see. 

  • Deep visibility into virtual environments allows you to quickly recover the file you need without staging in just two simple steps.  Browse for granular object, click restore.
  • Other solutions such as Veeam can’t index a file. Instead, they can only tell you on which backup a file is. You still have to search manually through the backup to find the file you want, assuming you are looking in the right backup.
  • Symantec’s patented Granular Recovery Technology (GRT) catalogs and indexes all of the application data in a single pass backup. Symantec can restore the entire application, just a database, or in the case of Exchange or Active Directory, restore down to the individual object or attribute level from the Backup Exec or NetBackup console without the need for a wizard, or a temp VM, or a separate console.

2. VM intelligent policy (VIP) in NetBackup can automatically detect new virtual machines and apply backup policy. VIP can also tell when VM’s are moved or changed and modify policy accordingly. You can't protect systems you don't know about. 

3. Integrated deduplication everywhere:  client, server, target, physical or virtual delivers better data reduction than specialist tools. You can't dedupe what you can't see. 

Data Protection is Serious Business

Symantec protects more than half of the world’s business information. We protect  87pb of data for our Norton users and We keep the world’s largest banks from losing your money (due to IT issues). We help the world’s leading universities protect their research. We help the worlds leading healthcare providers protect your personal information. We secure and protect the intellectual property of the world from disaster, theft or attack. We help families recover their precious digital memories more than any other company.

The marketing bluster in the data protection space will no doubt continue and perhaps Symantec should play along more. Regardless, one fact remains, more people trust Symantec to protect their information than any other vendor. The next big thing is not putting 27 people in a Mini Cooper. It is not adding Hyper-V support 3 years late. The next big thing is THAT file.  That file,  you, your boss, your family or your lawyers urgently need to recover whether it is stored on a physical server, a virtual server, on tape, on disk, in an archive or somewhere else. Symantec delivers on the next big thing, today.

If you aren’t familiar with Symantec’s support for VMware, Hyper-V and private clouds join us at VM World in Las Vegas or Copenhagen. Speak to one Symantec’s great partners about extending your NBU or BE deployment to protect VMware, HyperV and more. If you want to tap into the largest community of backup professionals you are already here, Symantec Connect. Welcome. If you want a Backup Exec Bobblehead because marketing is your thing, we've got that too. Register here. 

Sean Regan

Director of Product Marketing

Symantec Information Management

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Teresa Wingfield's picture

I enjoyed reading your post and was wondering if you think point solutions such as Veeam are destined for a slow and painful death or if they will still fill some unserved market need for the forseeable future?

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SeanRegan's picture

The only prediction I'll make is that the Bruins will have a great parade in Boston on Saturday. Bruins and Sharks fans are happy about that. 

One of the biggest reasons for the complexity in backup is because organizations have multiple solutions to solve point problems. And, when you think about how fast virtualization has taken hold and how quickly data is growing it's not hard to understand why. Standing up VM's in the test and dev lab is a low stakes game and the focus is on testing the virtualization technology itself.  It typically doesn't involve business critical data and the recovery needs are checkbox.  The key criteria is how fast and easy you can set it up. When you have only one requirement and one capability it's easy to roll out a point solution to keep the test and dev systems protected. But, as we see more mission critical apps virtualized and organizations get serious about their private clouds these point solutions will lose momentum as the demands of the datacenter and private clouds exceed their capabilities.

I expect the deduplication market to shift over the next 2-3 years in a major way as well. No longer will dedupe be a market on its own. It has become a core feature of backup technology. Dedupe will happen before it ever hits the storage as part of the backup process, as with Symantec's dedupe everywhere strategy. Ultimately, I believe there is more to gain from a common backup, recovery and dedupe solution than there is in the backup admin playing the role of a systems integrator trying to get 2-3 different vendors for backup, vm backup and dedupe working together. 


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Teresa Wingfield's picture

The Bruins victory parade, according to friends in Boston, was great fun.  However, I think the backup and dedupe market is going to see a shake up a lot quicker. than the 2-3 years you mention!   

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SeanRegan's picture

The datacenter is in the middle of a revolution. The pace of change is huge. One big change that came to the dedupe market this year was the SYMC appliances. It's a sea change in how customers pay for appliances and replication.

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