Data Storage Backup Buying Guide

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Data storage backup may have lost its “sex appeal” over the years as it is now largely regarded as part of the plumbing and a “necessary evil.” Yet it still accounts for the lion’s share of storage software spending each year.

Data storage backup it is a vast field and no short guide could possibly encompass it. So for our purposes here, we are going to focus on some of the traditional backup powerhouses and what they have to offer. Perhaps surprisingly, there has been a lot going on. Clearly, these companies remain committed to these products and are investing development dollars into them.

Symantec Backup Exec 2014

Backup Exec 2014 is said to be nearly 3x faster than previous versions. This latest version includes faster deduplication, expanded cloud support, a simplified upgrade/migration process and more granular recovery for Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013.

“Backup Exec backs up local or remote data to tape, disk and cloud,” said Brian Greene, Symantec’s senior director of product management. ‘You can quickly search and restore granular file or application objects, applications, VMs, and servers directly from backup storage.”

He said it is aimed mainly at companies of 1,000 employees or less. But it can span from one to hundreds of virtual hosts, one to hundreds of physical servers or a combination of both. Greene said there is no upper limit on the number of servers or VMs Backup Exec can protect.

A 60-day trial of Backup Exec 2014 is available. Symantec offers new customers an incentive to switch of 35% savings. Overall pricing is a little complicated. The company sent a 5-slide presentation to explain it. Licensing is done according to different models such as capacity, the number of sockets, hosts and the type of agents required.

CA arcserve UDP

Arcserve has been around for a long, long time. But it keeps evolving with the times. CA arcserve Unified Data Protection (UDP) from CA Technologies is focused on mid-market customers and service providers. It supports physical, virtual and cloud systems, and combines backup, replication, high availability and global de-duplication technologies.

Suggested list prices for arcserve UDP include one year of maintenance and start at $595 per protected socket (hypervisors and physical servers), $3,777 per protected terabyte or $445 for a 5-pack of workstations. There are also many different version with various licensing options depending on the capacity being protected, the number of sockets, workstations etc.

“The focus should be about recovery, not only backup,” said Christophe Bertrand, Vice President of Product Marketing for Data Management, CA Technologies. “Ultimately, data protection is only as good as the recovery it offers – and robust testing is critical to ensuring reliability.” 

CommVault Simpana 10

CommVault Simpana 10 is yet another of the “always been around” backup tools. While the young guns may try to criticize these companies as being old and dated, you can turn that argument around and say that these are the tools that have stood the test of time. They have provided users with enough of the features they wanted over the years to keep them “on the shelves.”

CommVault Simpana software is said to offer an approach to data management that is optimized for the virtualized data center. Its single platform approach is aimed at giving companies control over data growth, costs and risks. It primarily serves large-enterprise customers and MSPs, while continuing to reach the SMB market through partners and resellers. Customers span across various verticals including healthcare, higher education and financial services. Licensing for CommVault’s Simpana software Data Protection Advanced (DPA) edition, which includes snapshot-based protection plus backup, is priced at $7,250 per terabyte.

Robbie Wright, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at CommVault, cautions users that virtual backup is quite different from its physical equivalent.

“As more mission critical applications – like SQL, Exchange and Oracle – are virtualized, it is necessary to provide the same level of protection and recovery capabilities for these applications as they had in a purely physical server setting,” said Wright. “A successful backup solution should provide deep application integration to enable rapid recovery and restore uptime of these critical applications.”

EMC Networker

In keeping with the overall corporate direction, EMC NetWorker 8.2 messaging is all about data protection for software-defined data centers. As such, it has added data protection-as-a-service features, as well as a new Data Domain OS, better support for VMware and Microsoft cloud infrastructures via integration with VMware vCloud Suite and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and upgraded security.

“Data protection-as-a-service is a key tenant for establishing effective protection for software-defined data centers,” said Guy Churchward, President, EMC Data Protection and Availability Division.

Snapshot management is an area where Networker has been considerably beefed up recently. It offers snapshot management for Isilon, VNX and NetApp arrays, for example. And a backup admin can take secondary action on the snapshot, like rolling over to protection storage – typically a Data Domain system.  This is said to save on storage space, lower costs, and provide longer term retention and recoverability in case of a disaster. Further, it has the ability to roll snapshots over to other storage media that NetWorker supports.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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