Keep your business up and running - by discovering backup and storage management inefficiencies you can cut costs, while making sure that your data is fully protected. Highly beneficial at a time when budgets are under strain.
It is really useful to go through the process of trying to find out:
- How well your data is protected
- If you are missing backing up critical data
- How prepared you are for increasing data volumes
- Whether your strategy supports business growth or lowers performance
- If you are taking advantage of the most cost-effective solutions available
It never ceases to amaze me how well we don’t know ourselves. To quote Polonius, “unto thine own self be true”; the more honest you are with yourself the more accurate and the more useful the results will be. We know our business, don’t we? We know that we are doing the best we can, aren’t we? It’s not like someone is trying to catch you out – give it a go, there are some pretty simple questions you can ask yourself just to get going, simply because the world has moved on, the drivers for improving backup and recovery operations are ever stricter:
- How can you keep business-critical applications running, delivering improved ROI, while complying with regulations
- How can you justify spending in times of budgetary constraint by demonstrating the quality and effectiveness of your systems
- What is the best way to convince business users of the importance of investing in backup solutions, before data is lost, while also establishing what should be backed up – and why
- How confident are you that you can cover all your IT service requirements? If you are not very confident – how not confident are you, 25%, 50%, or do you stick to all your business service agreements?
- What level of backup reporting do you have that allows you to justify future IT investment to optimise your recovery time objectives? Is there a requirement for reporting metrics, occasionally, or more regularly?
- How confident are you that your main business managers understand the importance of backup? Most of us take backup for granted but how confident are you that your backup policy covers all areas of the business?
Are you confident that you have the right backup and recovery systems in place and are getting the most out of them? A backup and recovery, or storage, assessment will highlight areas of weakness but also help to identify where Backup Exec can improve efficiencies and save you money.
You may think that data leaks has precious little to do with backup, but there you would be wrong. Interestingly I am finding it increasingly difficult to talk about data leaks/loss in isolation from storage management and backup, security and network access control, or, for that matter to talk about backup without talking about data leaks. So, as with all things, backup is joined to the whole of the computer infrastructure and remains the foundation of IT.
The book offers practical advice on how to protect your customers, the reputation of your business, and your bottom line. It is designed for pretty much everyone and anyone from the CEO to the backup manager or data capture personnel – or anyone who deals in sensitive or confidential information, that’s everyone, of course.
One of the really cool functions of BE is the Granular Recovery Technology (GRT). By the way, anytime you need more information on any aspect of BE please see the Backup Exec for Windows Servers Administrator’s Guide. In fact, don’t take my word for it, download from here:
Just a few tips to help you get the best out of BE’s GRT:
- Review the requirements for staging locations in the Administrator’s Guide.
- You must use a staging location for GRT-enabled jobs in the following scenarios:
- You back up to or restore from a volume with file size limitations.
- You restore granular items from tape.
- You run an off-host backup job.
- You are better off creating a separate backup-to-disk folder specifically for all GRT enabled backup jobs – this really simplifies media management. You will need to manage the IMG media that GRT enabled jobs create differently than other backup-to-disk media.
- Don’t allocate a maximum size for backup-to-disk files. If you do then you are in danger of getting failed jobs because of low disk space. This is because the backup-to-disk file often occupies extra space since GRT information is stored in IMG media and Backup Exec will only create a backup-to-disk file that is as large as the size that you specified.
- If you are using frequent incremental GRT enabled jobs it is a really good idea to run a full GRT enabled backup job every so often. This is because each incremental GRT enabled job requires a small amount of internal storage. If this storage amount increases too much, it can affect system resources. When you run the full GRT enabled backup job, you make available the storage space that has accumulated from incremental jobs.
12.5 delivers GRT for Exchange, Active Directory, SharePoint Server, and SharePoint Services which gives you the ability to recover granular data quickly and efficiently from a single-pass backup. It means, for example, that you do not have to run Exchange mailbox backups to recover granular data, including documents, list items and user attributes, or properties.
If you are not on Backup Exec 12.5 you really should think about upgrading, if not for the new comprehensive recovery of virtual and physical systems, or enhanced granular data recovery, or the fact that Backup Exec is now integrated with the Symantec ThreatConTM system to automatically manage continuous data protection functionality in an increased threat cycle, but for the fact that the new version of Backup Exec enhances the management capabilities around managing disk and tape based backup – across the board.
The great thing about upgrading is its simplicity. Now you can run the Backup Exec Environment Check on the computer on which you want to install Backup Exec, before you actually install Backup Exec for real. This makes sure that the installation process can complete. If there are any configuration issues the environment check kicks out warnings that tell you if there are configuration issues that can be fixed or that will prevent the BE installation.
I would also suggest that you install the storage device controller, drives, robotic libraries on the media server (following the documentation included with your storage device hardware for installation instructions, of course) and check that your Windows security settings to make sure they work properly with the Backup Exec service account.
If the drive on which you want to install Backup Exec is encrypted or compressed, and you would like to use a default SQL Express database, verify that an unencrypted and uncompressed drive is available for SQL Express installation.
Check the computer name of the computer on which you want to install Backup Exec. It should only use standard ANSI characters. You may receive errors if you install Backup Exec on a computer with a name that uses non-standard characters.
Oh, and exit everything before you start.
So, for upgrades from 11d or more recent then no separate migration or upgrade utility is necessary. Most settings and all catalogs and data directories from previous versions of Backup Exec are kept. At the end of the installation, the upgrade process is summarised. Before you upgrade delete job histories and catalogs that you no longer need to shorten the upgrade window and then run a database maintenance job.
Like most application installs Backup Exec has a default location for both the program files as well as all the existing catalogs and data. You do not have to keep previous catalogs and data and there is an option during the install process that allows you to continue with the upgrade without backing up existing data. Just a word of warning, you cannot change the database location during the upgrade process. If you want to change the database location after the upgrade, use BEUtility.
Following the install make sure that your storage devices are connected and configured properly and decide if your backup will be to a tape device or a disk device. You can configure both devices when you prepare your Backup Exec environment. If you’re backing up to a tape device, make sure the device is supported. You can install drivers for the devices when you configure your Backup Exec environment. If you’re backing up to disk using the Backup-to-Disk feature, decide where you can create a backup folder. You should create it on a disk that won’t be included in the backup jobs and that has enough free space to contain the backup job.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that a backup redesign is sweeping through IT departments. I think everyone is aware that backup has been identified as a primary IT pain point. And the reason is pretty simple actually – disk. There is so much of it. You know that most companies approach the protection of their data in a very dated manner. Although backup and recovery has been around for years, data protection solutions of old are failing to keep pace with today’s overwhelming data growth and complexity.
Although many companies have started to deploy disk-based data protection in the form of virtual tape libraries (VTLs), much of the thinking in data centres and by vendors is still tape-centric. But not just tap-centric but, more to the point, NOT application centric, NOT site centric, NOT virtual machine centric. Protection is getting harder because data centres and remote offices have evolved. Server consolidation through virtualisation technologies has changed the way companies need to think about protecting their data. How long is the backup window if there are 10 virtual machines per physical machine?
Much more is possible now with disk-based data protection: shared disk pools for protection and recovery, continuous data protection for remote office data as well as consolidation or recovery of data centre applications. (Backup Exec provides granular recovery technology and continuous data protection and Backup Exec System Recovery … does what it says on the tin.) Centralised management capabilities have improved to automate global data protection from remote offices to core data centres.
The next generation data protection with Backup Exec provides comprehensive management of enterprises’ complex environments. That means a single data protection solution that covers all databases, and applications. It also means supporting the broadest set of disk (SAN, NAS, and DAS), tape, and virtual tape library vendors, and delivering the latest data protection technologies such as virtualization, granular recovery, and continuous data protection.
Disk-based data protection is the future of backup and recovery for reasons of performance, reliability, and cost. Next generation data protection therefore means support for basic commodity disk, deduplication, replication, and continuous data protection.
Take the Backup Exec challenge – does your backup – stack up?
Symantec recently carried out its annual IT Disaster Recovery survey of 1,000 or so IT managers across 15 countries. Now, there are a bunch of really interesting facts and it’s well worth a read, but the staggering revelation I think is that the number of applications that IT managers consider mission-critical has jumped 20% in the last year.
We all know that apps like email have crept up on us and become really important to business over the last few years. But what I think is interesting is that at some point in the last 10 years IT has ceased to support the business and become the business! What do I mean – if the lights go out the business stops. The IT Disaster Recovery survey shows that on average 56% of applications are now considered mission-critical. Such a rapid increase may well pose considerable difficulties for, not just high availability but things we take for granted like Backup.
This is particularly true for those organisations who have implemented server virtualisation projects. It is dead easy to deploy virtual machines, but quite as simple to make sure they are backed up properly. I feel particularly sorry for those poor sods using either different backup solutions for backing up virtualised infrastructures or those who do not have an agent for virtualised environments. It must be a nightmare typing to write scripts for each virtual machine! Thank goodness we have Backup Exec!
If you don’t know there is an offer on the Backup Exec Virtual Agent currently – runs to the end of June 2009, so if you upgrade to the latest Backup Exec 12.5 virtual agents and Save Up to 35% off !
Virtualisation is the major factor causing organisations to re-evaluate their disaster recovery plans today. A major challenge is deploying and maintaining the different tools for backup that are needed for their physical and virtual environments–indicating a need for tools that work across multiple operating systems and virtualisation technologies. The top challenge when backing up virtual systems involves resource constraints, which highlights the need for simplified and automated backup solutions that reduce manual tasks for administrators.