Yes, it’s true – we are becoming a nation of information addicts – at least according to a survey Symantec recently carried out. Symantec wanted to find out more about how the so-called information explosion is affecting the everyday lives of British office workers. What was abundantly clear is that we are all suffering from this 21st century ailment – Information Overload – sounds like a Tom Cruise film, or AC/DC album – and it is overtaking not only our working lives, but our personal ones too.
Accessing work information out of hours, compulsively checking emails, texts and social media and hoarding endless emails and multiple versions of the same file are all symptoms of information overload experienced by those we surveyed. See the stats here.
But whereas the technology enabling us to do this (fantastic mobile devices and faster connectivity) all purport to make us more productive in the workplace, is our mismanagement of information actually counter-productive?
IDC has recently estimated that in 2011 over 1.8 Zetabytes of information was created and replicated (IDC, “The 2011 Digital Universe Study: Extracting Value from Chaos”) and if we go by Moore’s Law this will continue to grow almost immeasurably over the coming years. What does this mean for our state of mind and the systems we work with – will we reach a moment when we are essentially ‘drowning’ in information?
Not if the technologies that store and manage information also continue to improve. We are working very hard to make managing information easier, faster and more efficient for businesses of all sizes. This means making sure that what is actually useful and valuable is stored, archived and backed up correctly, while the rest is relegated to permanent deletion.
But technology can only go so far, some of the onus is still on businesses and individuals to moderate their work behaviour to take into account this new work paradigm.
Part II – What can we do about it?
- Unite Virtual and Physical: Powered by Symantec V-Ray technology, Backup Exec 2012 enables visibility across both virtual and physical environments for fast and efficient backup and recovery while eliminating the need for specialised point products.
- Eliminate Backup Complexity with a New Administration Console: A newly redesigned administration console will provide users with fast, concise management and monitoring capabilities.
- Integrated Disaster Recovery: With bare-metal disaster recovery and Backup Exec’s “no hardware DR” built in, organizations will be able to easily recover a failed system to a physical server, or to a Hyper-V or VMware guest.
- Capacity Licensing: New capacity licensing model for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), mid-sized and lower enterprise organizations will provide easier purchasing and maintenance by capacity as an alternative to existing a la carte pricing.
- Small Business Edition: In less than 10 minutes and with just three simple steps, Backup Exec 2012 Small Business Edition will install and configure backups so small businesses with limited IT experience can protect their data with ease. The new Backup Exec Small Business Edition will bundle Symantec’s data and system recovery technology into one affordable solution with a single license that’s designed specifically for a growing business.
Microsoft Windows 7 Backup is getting trashed in a Microsoft forum for being unbelievably bad and slow.
Like this comes as such a surprise … Windows Backup? “It is an insult.” Jon Hell on a Microsoft Forum: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsbackup/thread/3e08fc65-52f5-48ca-ae13-321cdfc44fbd … “Windows Backup is an embarrassment.” Said another.
Why everyone isn’t using Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop Edition 2010 (BESR 2010) for their desktops and laptops beats me. Really simple to use as either a backup or disaster recovery tool, BESR 2010 is a cost-effective solution that helps minimise downtime and avoid disaster – it’s like Zero to DR in 10 minutes. You can recover individual data files/folders or complete Windows desktops or laptops in minutes.
I use it on my machine and mount the backups on a 500 GB USB drive (no power required) and take an off-site copy to our file servers at the same time. I never see any system impact – there is a slider that allows you to reduce the impact if you do see some degradation. It’s really simple to install, licence and set up. In fact, to be honest it’s easier to schedule your backups with BESR than it is to set up a meeting in Outlook, and recovery is just as simple.
With an off-site copy I can ensure that even if I lose my external drive I can get my data or systems back and backing up to a USB drive means I can restore data from anywhere even if I’m not connected to the Symantec network. Easy, simple, effective. New machine with Windows 7 O/S, no problem restoring data to different hardware … you can store your backups in a virtual environment which makes sense.
It’s a standalone solution as well as a 1+1=3 component of a larger data protection strategy, in fact I know of NetBackup customers who use BESR Server Edition to give themselves DR capabilities for their Windows Servers as well as using BESR Desktop to backup their employees laptops and desktops.
So, there’s no need to rely on Windows 7 Backup … given that Symantec has just won Best of Tech Ed Award fBackup and Reco.very
Full article in The Register can be found at:
Questions to ask yourself:
- How long does it take you to recover a desktop or laptop?
- How long does it take you to recover a Windows system?
- Can you recover a system to dissimilar hardware?
- Can you recover a complete system?
- How easily can you recover a virtual system?
I’ve been pretty busy in the last couple of days demonstrating outside Olympia (http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/10/14/238126/anti-upgrade-demonstration-at-storage-expo.htm); on a couple of speaker panels (one on Data Centre trends and the other on Thin Provisioning); speaking to customers and partners and generally not getting enough sleep.
Although it seems that there were fewer attendees than previous years the quality was so much better. Frankly, for the first time ever, no one asked me how to configure their Norton 360 home PC product (for which I am eternally grateful because I know as much about Norton as most home users). No, this year every conversation I had was pretty specific about how to get more out of IT assets, which was handy as that’s what we do at Symantec.
The hardware vendors had a tough time – storage infrastructures desperately need to be optimised and consolidated. Backups need to be architected around the business requirements and specific infrastructures with centralised management and automated processes.
Backup Exec System Recovery was a hot topic. Virtually every conversation I had came back to: “How do I get a simple, cost effective DR process for my servers and desktops and laptops?” The answer is, of course, BESR. Actually, when it comes to backup, whatever the question, the answer is invariably The Backup Exec Family.
A typical server environment consists of the main servers, drive arrays (which may or may not be directly attached to their respective servers), and disk- and tape-based backup servers. The most common IT assets are typically: patch panel, switches, secondary UPS, switch box, monitor and keyboard, blade servers, drive arrays and tape systems. Server storage devices hold organisational applications and operating systems in some partitions and documents in others.
Like any system servers are subject to a range of threats as well as maintenance which can include:
- Server Crash
- End users can easily overwrite or delete important documents
- Applications need updating
- Operating systems must be patched – perhaps tested in a virtual environment
- Upgrade new server platforms
- Malicious code can penetrate defences and attack data, applications, and operating systems
- and can even get backed up if it is not found before the next backup cycle
- Storage systems wear out and must be replaced
- Drive Array just failed – a hard drive can fail, or hardware can require an upgrade, when there is no matching hardware to which it can be restored
- The entire facility can be shut down due to a biohazard or natural disaster
- An important user whose work requires frequent backups can be added to the network without
- proper notification
Given the likelihood that everyone is going to be faced with a number of these issues (probably imminently) what can you do when a system fails? Backup Exec System Recovery enables organisations to recover from system loss in minutes, even to dissimilar hardware and virtual environments, as well as having functionality to automate physical-to-virtual conversions for immediate system recovery.
BESR provides system restore or full “bare-metal” recovery for servers, desktops, or laptops. It also enables you to recover systems in remote, unattended locations. By capturing a recovery point of the entire Windows system, including: operating system, applications, system settings, configurations, and files, BESR can save this recovery point to: SAN, NAS, direct-attached storage, RAID, CD/DVD, and copied to FTP servers or secondary disk devices, as part of the same backup job.
The BESR Granular Restore Option restores individual Microsoft Exchange email messages, folders, and mailboxes from backups taken from Exchange servers; restore SharePoint documents from backups taken from servers running SharePoint Server or SharePoint Services; or recover files and folders in seconds.
With centralised deployment, modification, and maintenance, BESR supports Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Small Business Server 2008, Essential Business Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008 as well as VMware ESX 3.5, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer 4.x.
Simple, comprehensive, improving system availability, disaster recovery and risk management – you know it makes sense!
I don’t know if any of you have noticed but the first fiscal quarter of this year has been pretty bad for server sales. It doesn’t matter what the pundits say, however, it is important for all of us to save money, cut costs – but absolutely not at the expense of our backup.
Whatever else you gamble with, backup shouldn’t be one of them. IDC recently reported that server sales from January to March was the worst quarter in the dozen years that they have been releasing quarterly server figures. The current economic crisis has injected a disconcerting amount of uncertainty into the business climate. Organisations are loath to spend any more money than is absolutely necessary.
The silver lining here is that IT departments can use this opportunity to consolidate existing projects and focus on optimising existing backup systems . Backup Exec 12.5 and Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 are built on complete protection and recovery providing central management protection for both virtual and physical systems – everything from multiple virtual servers to individual directories and files; a new generation of data protection management tools, powered by Altiris technology, for both Backup Exec and Backup Exec System Recovery.
BE delivers unmatched granular recovery capabilities for Exchange, Active Directory and SharePoint environments reducing the overheads associated with managing Exchange mailbox backups, restoring Active Directory user preferences and attributes without multiple reboots and overall simplifying the recovery process for critical Microsoft applications.
With BE you can ensure fast, efficient recovery of individual emails or documents from a full or incremental backup. Why take the time to recovery an entire database when all you need is an individual document or email?
Backup Exec System Recovery has offered capability to quickly convert physical systems to virtual environments for several years now. BESR enables immediate system recovery to virtual systems by allowing IT administrators to schedule physical to virtual conversions. Through a virtual conversion wizard an IT administrator can schedule P2V conversions to occur monthly, daily, weekly even hourly if desired so that in the event of a failure, you have a virtual system ready to go. In addition to dramatically reducing system downtime, this reduces management time and set-up for IT organisations as well.
Also new to this release is support for the latest virtual environments including VMware ESX 3.5, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer 4.x (when using VMDK or VHD file types). When you add this functionality to the off-site copy capability it really helps organisations address their disaster recovery needs.
If someone wants a high availability solution without investing in a lot of clustering or replication software that are outside their budget BESR technology is a great way to copy these images to other locations, convert them on a schedule, and if the original server goes down those images can be brought up immediately for high availability purposes.
IT has to make do with what they have – what they need to do is make sure that they are “making do” as efficiently as possible, tweaking here and there, centralising management, adding agents and options to optimise the backup and recovery of critical data and applications and slim-lining processes to improve backup process efficiencies.
You might want to take another look at Backup Exec and Backup Exec System Recovery …
I thought it might be of some interest for you to see what everyone is accessing on the Symantec Support Site.
So, here are the top 10 technotes searches …
|How to troubleshoot issues with a Robotic Library or Tape Drive in Backup Exec for Windows Servers.|
|When attempting to run a backup job “Physical Volume Library Drive not available” Error occurs|
|“Corrupt data encountered” (a000fe36 HEX or e000fe36 HEX) is reported when a backup job fails.|
|Symantec Backup Exec ™ 10.1 (10d) for Windows Servers revision 5629 – Service Pack 3 – Includes Critical Security Updates|
|Symantec Backup Exec ™ 10.1 (10d) for Windows Servers revision 5629 – Service Pack 4 – Includes Critical Security Updates|
|How to backup Exchange 2007 with Backup Exec for Windows Servers (BEWS)|
|How to troubleshoot the error “A failure occurred querying the Writer status” (a000fed1 HEX or e000fed1 HEX or 0xfffffed1 HEX) using VSSADMIN|
|Backup fails with the error “AOFO: Initialization failure on: “\\\Shadow?Copy?Components“. Advanced Open File Option used: Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). Snapshot provider error (0x8007000E): Ran out of memory”|
|Granular Restore Technology (GRT) Backup of an Exchange Information Store fails with error “Cannot log on to MAPI with the specified credentials”|
|Backup Exec for Windows Servers – Snapshot provider error (0xE000FED1) A failure occurred querying the Writer status when backing up Exchange 2007.|
|How to perform a local installation of the Backup Exec Remote Agent for Windows Servers or the Advanced Open File Option|
|Backup of a Microsoft Exchange Information Store fails with error “V-79-57344-33928 – Access Denied. Cannot backup directory mailbox database and its subdirectories”|
|Backup or restore job fails with Final error: 0xe00084ed – A hardware error has occurred.|
You might have had a really (really) good backup strategy 2 or 3 years ago, but does it stack up today? Every vendor you’ve ever heard about is always banging on about backup and recovery being even more tricky than it was yesterday; and how it is now ever more challenging than it ever was, and, frankly it was pretty trick then … what with data growth going crazy, sprawling physical and virtualised environments, shrinking, nay, shrunk backup windows (what’s backup window?), and escalating storage management costs.
Gosh, haven’t we heard it all before? But, it is certainly true that the age old conventional backup solutions have not kept up with the data protection requirements, as well as the growth in data itself forcing substantial investments in hardware and dramatically increased administrator workload.
You might already have a good data backup strategy in place. But if your server hardware were lost or your building suddenly off limits, could you access your data and maintain business continuity? It doesn’t take much to wipe out a critical database of information. Any backup is only as reliable as its ability to restore business data, applications and systems when they are needed most.
A data protection strategy sets out how we go about minimising data protection risk. It has to be concerned with ensuring maximum effectiveness or it remains a pointless exercise. But end users I speak to in organisations large and small are still not convinced that they have reliable backup solutions in their environments – or perhaps more accurately that the backup solution isn’t quite covering everything …
There are also analyst rumours that virtual machines will outnumber physical servers in 2009. The adoption of x86 servers is making virtualisation a crucial factor, but at the same time making traditional backup solutions redundant.
We’ve put together a backup strategy assessment tool – why not have a go at it to find out how robust your Data Protection is?
Links to assessment tool: http://www.emea.symantec.com/mybackupexec/assessment/
Backup Exec Sites:
La France: www.symantec.fr/mybackupexec
Italia : www.symantec.it/mybackupexec
Today organisations of all sizes are faced with managing their disk backup storage growth and improving the speed and ease of recovery of application data, all of which has led to increased complexity for IT administrators. Unfortunately, data protection solutions of old are failing to keep pace with this overwhelming data growth and complexity whereas new data protection solutions are trying to centralise on a single code base and common platform to deliver next generation data protection. The fact is: it just doesn’t work like that.
Next generation data protection solutions need to be complete, powered by disk, and centred on recovery – regardless of size. All organisations are required to protect data in the most efficient way to maximise time and resources – irrespective of size or location. But not only this, they are required to ensure service level requirements are consistently met and at the same time squeezed to improve backup windows and recovery time – all while data growth skyrockets.
In order to manage the way that data protection solutions have altered, technology has had to shift with it. Backups powered by disk make the backup and recovery process faster, more reliable, and automated. It also eliminates the outmoded hassle of trucking backup tapes to a DR facility. In the past, data protection solutions focused on backup, but the focus for businesses large and small is shifting to recovery. That includes system recovery (physical and virtual machines, as well as individual files, documents, users, etc.), disaster recovery, and mission-critical application recovery. Organisations that redesign around disk-based data protection are discovering that they can recover their data quickly and automatically because, in many cases, it is still local and easily accessible.
Because human error is the biggest problem hindering successful recoveries, organisations should look to automation to speed recovery and reduce errors and reliance on personnel. Backup Exec System Recovery is a data protection solution that is optimised for the unique requirements of disaster recovery – because “One Data Protection Solution” does not fit all. It offers:
- Fast, flexible recovery-complete server, desktop, or laptop system recovery in minutes, even to dissimilar hardware or virtual servers
- Granular recovery-individual file, folder, Exchange email and SharePoint document recovery from a one-pass backup, using a single interface
- Cold image recovery-after-the-fact recovery, even of systems that won’t boot
- Central management-single-console management of system backup and recovery environments, including remote systems
- Off-site protection-system protection using remote FTP locations or secondary disk drives for advanced business continuity
I rest my case – thank you!
Nowadays, probably not so much. There was a time where a day or two of outage didn’t make a huge difference to businesses – unfortunately that was over 20 years ago. We now live in a “NOW” world where every second counts. Somehow, no matter what your size, you have to consider how to ensure that business-critical data is always protected and always available. How do you improve your Recovery Point Objective? Enter stage left: Symantec Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server.
Continuous Protection Server (CPS) combines Backup Exec data protection with replication technology and disk-based data protection to provide continuous fast and reliable data backup and retrieval. It does what is says on the tin: offering continuous data protection; giving you the ability to restore data at a granular level from points in time throughout the day. At the same time you can perform simultaneous backups of multiple servers; fully integrated with Symantec Backup Exec for Windows Servers for conventional tape-based data protection.CPS lets users restore their own data without IT assistance through a Web-based data-retrieval tool, i.e. no agent or software needed … or updated or maintained.
How does it work?
- Users save files and folders to local file servers (Business Servers) as part of their normal daily work. Business Servers are interconnected and together form a common Backup Group.
- The CPS Backup Destination Wizard designates a specific directory on a specific Protection Server where the data is backed up. The backup-destination definition includes the schedule for the data snapshots and the policies for snapshot retention. Different servers can be designated as backup destinations based on your needs.
- You can create CPS backup jobs to back up data from one or more Business Servers to a Protection Server and schedule CPS backup jobs to run periodically, continuously or on demand.
- As soon as the data is backed up to the Protection Server, scheduled snapshots of the data are made. The data is then indexed and made available to the Web Restore Server.
- Users retrieve specific versions of files and folders from the Web Restore Server using Backup Exec Retrieve and their Internet browsers.
- If a system fails on one or more Business Servers, the backed up data can be restored from the Protection Server back to the Business Server. If a failure occurs at a Protection Server, Backup Exec can restore the data back to the Protection Server or back to a Business Server.
- After the data is backed up to the Protection Server, you can back up the data to Backup Exec to archive the data to tape or disk for long-term storage.
- Backup Exec SmartLink technology provides integrated management of the CPS allowing you to view the status of Continuous Protection Server backup jobs in the Backup Exec Job Logs and Alerts. This option lets administrators determine the quality and completion of the CPS jobs before or during the Backup Exec backup job.
Continuous data protection is different from traditional backup in that you don’t have to necessarily specify the point in time to which you would like to recover until you are ready to perform a restore. Traditional backups can only restore data to the point at which the backup was taken. With Backup Exec CPS there are only continuous or near continuous backup schedules. This effectively reduces your Recovery Point Objective to short time periodical CPS backups – worse case.