Symantec Busts Out SaaS with Backup Exec 12

Vendor offers Web-based backup services and online storage for Backup Exec

February 19, 2008

4 Min Read
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Symantec has finally entered the software-as-a-service (SaaS) arena with the unveiling of its long-awaited Symantec Protection Network (SPN), along with several enhancements to the latest iteration of its Backup Exec package for Windows shops.

First announced nearly a year ago, SPN includes two initial service offerings for SMBs: The first is online backup for data; the second is online storage for users of Backup Exec 12, the newest version of the software Symantec acquired with its $13.5 billion purchase of Veritas in 2005.

SPN is the latest of a slew of SaaS announcements from a range of suppliers, including Amazon, Carbonite, EMC, Google, and Iron Mountain, to name just a few.

SPN is offered to North American customers via two redundantly equipped hosting sites in unidentified locations. Though Symantec refuses to name its suppliers, rumor has it they include BlueArc and NetApp. Online backup rates start at about $25 per month for Web-based backup of up to 5 Gbytes of Windows-compatible data; online storage starts at $38 per month for 10 Gbytes of storage for Backup Exec 12, including disaster recovery features. Rates for both services go down from these base prices, based on volume.

The SPN announcement is part of a larger release of software that Symantec claims is the most important since its purchase of Veritas. There is a new set of Symantec Solutions for Windows, a program that guarantees over 20 Symantec products will work with Microsoft Windows Server 2008, the platform Redmond plans to roll out this month. Windows Server 2008 in turn will serve as a platform for virtualization enhancements, including Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor (aka Longhorn), expected to ship within six months.Then there's Backup Exec 12. This features more file-level granularity to the data recovery process; integration with a range of other Symantec products, including Enterprise Vault and ThreatCon; and an optional package called Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 8, which supports ThreatCon and the Altiris Notification Server.

Pricing for Backup Exec 12 starts at $995 per server.

"This is a proof point for the Veritas/Symantec merger," says Brian Greene, senior product manager at Symantec. "We had to make sure everything was lined up."

Cynics would say three years is too long to do that. But at least one customer, Nicholas Joseph, network administrator at Orion Registrar Inc., a Denver-based group that registers environmental system compliance with worldwide standards, thinks Backup Exec 12 is a substantial improvement.

"Being able to install this right over the top of the previous version is a huge thing. In addition, the granular recovery protection for Exchange means we have no need to do full Exchange backups. We have increased our data transfer rate by one-third," Joseph says. He credits Symantec's latest improvements for better performance in his network of Dell PowerVault servers, where Backup Exec has been used for several years to protect 126 Gbytes of data from Exchange, SQL Server, and other apps.Though Joseph swears by Symantec, he'd like to see more enhancements to Backup Exec's virtual capabilities. He's running the program as a virtual machine via Microsoft Virtual Server now, but he would like to back up virtual files as well as physical ones. Also, Joseph's group hasn't opted for the SPN storage option for Backup Exec. They don't need it, and Joseph says they aren't ready to perform the network upgrades to fiber or dedicated T1 lines they'd need to make it work really well.

Since Symantec is aiming the first iterations of SPN at SMBs, not enterprise customers, many shops may share Joseph's viewpoint.

But Symantec isn't planning to change the SMB approach, not even to compete more closely with EMC's enterprise focus. "Our current plan is to stay focused on optimizing our offerings for the SMB market," says a spokesperson. "However, there is nothing architecturally that limits us from delivering services to enterprises, and we will respond if and when customers ask us to."

Another question with a vague answer concerns whether Symantec will ever support NetBackup, and non-Windows operating environments, with SPN. "There's always a chance that we may do that later," Greene says.

Hopefully, now that Symantec has some much-needed integration under its belt, "later" won't take another three years.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • BlueArc Corp.

  • Carbonite Inc.

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Symantec Corp.

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