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Sorting Out Laptop Backup

For storage managers, the issue of backing up data from laptops is troublesome but can't be put off. Businesses are getting more "virtual," even as data volumes are growing exponentially.

It's not that there aren't a slew of products designed to help individual end-users back up their laptops. The problem is that products for individuals don't help the IT pro back in the data center. Relying on these same users to back up their machines becomes a management problem extending beyond technology -- and not one most IT managers care to deal with.

Backup for laptop users is a challenge that typically calls for lots of extra hands-on help (read: budget-breaking operations hires). On top of this, laptops are always at risk of theft and loss, making it key to maintain some form of centralized control over their contents. (See Portable Problems Prompt IT Spending and Laptop Liabilities.)

One user describes a typical solution: "We have a policy for the majority of laptop users not to save anything of business importance on their laptops," says Joe Meyer, a senior architect (storage) at
Level 3 Communications. For executives, there is scheduled backup that usually involves some manual intervention from data center personnel.

Going forward, however, Meyer says his group will be using software from Avamar (now part of EMC) -- which they purchased earlier this year to back up servers and NAS heads -- to back up some laptops to achieve greater efficiency.

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