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Symantec's Backup Exec 12 Is Evolutionary Upgrade

Stalwart backup product gains remote management capabilities.

Backup Exec has been the best-selling backup program for Windows servers as long as they've been around. As a result, it has developed an image as being a bit old-fashioned: a conventional, reliable program that performs scheduled full and incremental backups to tape but lacks cutting-edge features such as continuous data protection, and suffers from limited scalability.

We're here to tell you that if you haven't looked at Backup Exec in a few years, you may be surprised to see just how much its various owners, ending with Symantec, have added to this stalwart.

Backup Exec now includes the Continuous Protection Server (CPS) system for Windows, SQL Server, and Exchange servers. CPS can integrate with the core Backup Exec console so an administrator can monitor both CPS processes and regular backup chores from a single console, and spool data protected by CPS to tape for longer-term storage.

The CPS agent allows an admin to back up to a remote CPS server and throttle how much bandwidth the backup will take. Once CPS has backed up files, users can conduct self-service restores from a Web site on the CPS server.

New iterations of the core Backup Exec application always have included a few fresh features, and version 12 is no exception: In addition to support for the latest versions of Windows, it can perform individual-item restores from database backups of SharePoint and Exchange servers. Version 12 also can back up Symantec's Enterprise Vault Exchange archiving system, and, through integration with Symantec's Endpoint Security, automatically start backup jobs when Symantec raises the global threat level.

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Most significantly, Backup Exec 12 gains the ability to copy backup data to the Symantec Protection Network service across the Internet, providing a convenient way for small and midsize businesses and remote offices to automatically send their backup data off-site.

The service, known as SPN, costs from $1 to $2 per stored gigabyte per month, depending on volume, a bit more than consumer-oriented online backup services such as Mozy or Carbonite, but comparable with business-oriented services such as EVault. Symantec duplicates all SPN data to multiple data centers and integrates on-site backups for fast restores with online backups for disaster recovery, making it more likely that small and midsize business users will cover all their bases.

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