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Backup Exec And NetBackup Bring Deduplication Without The Hardware

Symantec has announced the release of Backup Exec 2010 and Netbackup 7.  Both products now play into Symantec's "Dedupe Everywhere" strategy, with a software-based deduplication option available at even the backup client. The latest versions of the two products reflect the changing landscape of the data center in mid-sized and large enterprises.

The venerable Backup Exec gets the biggest shot in the arm with the 2010 release.  Available as an optional add-on, the deduplication solution strives to minimize network traffic as well as the necessary backup windows for mid-sized enterprises.  Ideally, the dedupe process takes place on the backup client machine, with the client sending only the necessary files to the centralized media server. For machines that cannot handle the CPU overhead, they can pass everything to the backup media server, which will then handle the processing itself.  "Adding deduplication to Backup Exec could be a huge win for smaller businesses," notes InformationWeek Analytics analyst Randy George.  "This class of customer usually lacks the resources to deploy and manage a traditional dedupe solution, but would certainly see a cost savings in shrinking the size of their backups."  For customers who have already deployed a deduplication solution, Backup Exec 2010 now integrates with OpenStorage dedupe appliances, providing visibility and control of backups on these appliances within the product. For example, Quantum also announced that its DXi-Series disk backup appliances will work along side Backup Exec 2010. Backup Exec also features deduplication of VMware and Hyper-V client backups, as well as the ability to perform very granular recovery of a number of applications within the virtualized environment, including Exchange, SQL Server and Active Directory.

Symantec is also pushing email and file archiving down-market with its new Unified Archiving option for Backup Exec. Essentially a scaled-down version of its Enterprise Vault product, Unified Archiving gives medium-sized enterprises an automated way to offload older Exchange and file system data into an archive, improving the performance of these servers as well as pulling these files out of the backup process. Fully compatible with Enterprise Vault, Unified Archiving provides both an entry point for enterprises as well as an upgrade path to the full featured product should they need the advanced functionality.

Symantec's backup solution for large enterprises, NetBackup, has also received the dedupe treatment. Like Backup Exec, NetBackup 7 enables the option to perform deduplication at the client and improvements to backups in virtualized environments.  With its focus as a global enterprise backup solution, NetBackup 7 also features new replication features to improve moving data between data centers and speeding up disaster recovery times.

For enterprise customers, Symantec's new lineup offers the opportunity to take advantage of technologies like deduplication and enterprise archiving, which have been previously out the reach of mid-sized budgets. No enterprise is immune to the growing volume of data stored on company servers, and every IT department needs to take steps to ensure the safety of that data.  By offering dedupe and archiving as a software option, Symantec is likely to attract those enterprises that see the value in the technology but are unwilling or unable to commit to the typical hardware-based solutions.