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Rollout: Symantec's Backup Exec System Recovery 7.0

The Upshot


Claim
Backup Exec System Recovery simplifies bare-metal restores of Windows workstations and servers: Just boot the recovery CD and install from a recovery point snapshot. It also can restore to different hardware or a virtual server. Although primarily aimed at small enterprises, additional features make it an easy-to-use SOHO backup program.
Context
Operating-system restores are failure prone and time-consuming with conventional backup tools. Backup Exec System Recovery is more polished than competitors, such as Acronis' True Image, which lacks Web-based file restoration.
Credibility
Backup Exec System Recovery takes away 90 percent of the pain of bare-metal restores. Version 7.0 is easier to use than competing products, runs faster and simplifies the task of building a custom restore CD with drivers for all your servers. Although a bit pricey, the addition of a central management console and easy file and Exchange restore functions enhance the value of the package.

Backup Exec System Recovery

Here are three words that will make any system administrator throw his arms in the air and run for the hills: bare metal restore. It can take hours to reinstall the OS, system settings, applications and data. And a single misstep can throw the whole process into chaos. Not to mention that you typically have to restore all the software onto a similar hardware platform.

While today's backup applications, such as CA's Arcserve, EMC's Retrospect and Symantec's NetBackup, make it relatively simple to replace a lost file, or even a whole data volume, they're the wrong tools for restoring a server or desktop system.

The right tool is Symantec's Backup Exec System Recovery 7.0, a standalone product for recovering Windows systems. It also can be purchased with other parts of the Backup Exec suite.

Using a program that runs on each server, System Recovery takes a snapshot of everything needed for a full restore from administrator-defined drives and saves those snapshots as a recovery point on a local drive, DVD drive, network share or any other file resource available to your server. System Recovery can make full or incremental recovery points and can make backups based on a flexible scheduler. It's Volume Shadowcopy Service (VSS)-compatible, so Exchange, Active Directory and other VSS-aware databases can be quiesced (quieted) while they are backed up.

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