Very loosely, we were instructed to delete everything pre dot com bubble bursting (2000), keep everything post and now we are fast running out of data centre disk allocation space, err?
In fact it’s wonder we manage to do anything given the amount of information we need to process. As a consequence we are now facing a greater threat – too much information. There are somewhere between 60 to 160 Billion mails sent around the world every single day. These emails include attachments such as reports, presentations, letters and pictures. In spite of the limitations such as privacy and too much unwanted mail, email is the best way to communicate efficiently, quickly and cheaply. The danger with email, as with any other way of sharing information, is that too much information simply clogs the system up and become a bottleneck to productivity.
Here are some useful top tips that may help:
- Understand the new business user – organisations must better understand the challenges employees are facing when navigating the world of information management. Look at when and how employees are accessing their information, make sure that data is indexed and categorised, and that intelligent archiving and search tools are available
- Prepare the infrastructure – with the relentless flow of information only set to continue, IT infrastructure must be able to cost effectively manage the increasing requirements for storage by implementing solutions able to dedupe and archive appropriately, automate processes and monitor and report on system status across all different devices and environments
- Prepare people – create IT policies that educate employees on how to manage their information – from email practices like limiting the ‘CC’ and ‘reply to all culture’, to saving only the latest document version and overcoming the fear of the delete button. Help employees understand the company’s information retention strategy so they know what information is recoverable. This will empower them to take charge of information control and maintain productivity and efficiency
- Keep security front of mind – it seems like an obvious statement, but reinforcing company security policies around mobile devices could protect against significant and damaging data loss. Make sure employees know the company processes and take advantage of technologies that enable the IT department to see where the most important information is, at all times
- Encourage staff to switch off – with the information era in full swing and with more and more opportunity for employees to stay connected at all times, it’s important that organisations support staff welfare and encourage them to switch off every once in a while
Seriously consider optimising your storage to reduce overall front end storage usage. Improving capacity can be done through integrated archiving and deduplication as well as tiering your storage. Archiving moves old data to a separate store so you don’t have to backup the same data day-in, day-out – forever. Deduplication only backs up data (at a block level) once, using a pointer to the unique data. So you can both reduce the amount you backup as well as dramatically reducing your backup window with archiving and data deduplication.
But, I hear you say, if I implement deduplication technology what are the benefits? Well, Backup Exec can help with that too. Read all about the Backup Exec Deduplication Assessment Tool in Part III.
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.
We’ve produced a really smart little app – well, it’s not actually an App quite yet, but will be pretty soon – that helps anyone who doesn’t know what all the agents and options for Backup Exec actually do: http://www.symantec.com/redirects/backup_exec/beguide/
I’ve been meaning to do this forever but now I am delighted to announce the newly available website. Launched at VISION EMEA, Barcelona 4-6 October, in a nutshell, this is Backup Exec Guide “Made Simple”. For customers, partners … anyone interested in backup frankly, it drills into each Agent or Option and explains what it does.
This publication is designed to give an overview of Backup Exec 2010 R3. It is aimed at all professionals working in or with Symantec Backup Exec and Symantec System Recovery to improve general knowledge of Symantec’s Data Protection strategy and wider Information Management capabilities. Using this document you should be able to build availability solutions and data protection strategies for all types of organisation.
Maximise the potential of Symantec Backup Exec
Whether you want to go straight to Agents & Options or whether you want to search by Backup priority including Virtualization, Storage Management, Disaster Recovery, Application Recovery or Management & Platform Support, there is a route for you.
The portable website has been designed to be accessed in multiple ways. We will shortly be announcing the BE Guide Mobile App available for iPhone, iPad and Android. More-to-follow.
Find out which Backup Exec Agents and Options are right for your business using this new interactive guide – simply click either to select a business priority or view our complete list of Agents and Options – simple, easy and effective – have a play today.
Adding to the Guide all the time
We will be adding content to the guide as we go – this will be of a technical nature to keep an eye out for updates.
I’m still shocked by organisations jumping on the virtualisation bandwagon. Platform proliferation has always been part of the Symantec strategy – something we almost take for granted. Any backup solution should be able to backup anything regardless of whether the data resides in a physical OR virtual environment. No IT manager in their right mind would seek to complicate their management overhead by adding proprietary solutions for every platform. So it seems extraordinary that bespoke backup software companies should shout so loud about their capabilities that are in reality so limited.
Symantec is one of the longest standing technical partners of both VMware and Microsoft and Backup Exec was first to market with virtualisation capabilities. There was a recent announcement from one company that they going to support Hyper-V later this year (Backup Exec has supported Hyper-V for the last 3 years). Hurrah! Bring out the banners, unfurl the flags! In today’s businesses, extremely small, small, medium, large, tremendously large, right across every segment and every industry, across geography and culture you cannot reduce a backup strategy to just VMware (and now Hyper-V).
Very few businesses will achieve total server virtualisation in the near future.Many organizations remain either partially virtualised or in various stages of testing and implementing virtualisation. Symantec Backup Exec and NetBackup support all mixes of physical and virtual environments, using a single product and a single console. Any solution that only supports virtual servers will mean customers still need a separate application for physical server backup. In fact, in some cases, other solutions on the market don’t even run in a VM environment and actually need a physical machine to run on.
But even if you were to completely virtualise your environment why would you not continue to rely on the leader in the market? More than 25,000 Hyper-V servers already rely on Symantec’s innovative Hyper-V support. Backup Exec protects over 85,000 virtual hosts (approx 60,000 VMware and 25,000 Hyper-V) and over 1 million guests, and an estimated 24,000 customers are using NetBackup to protect their virtual environment. With a VM disk based backup solution you require a 3rd party backup product to backup itself – in other words customers are required to have multiple backup vendors to achieve a platform agnostic level of data protection.
This makes the recovery process all the more trying, by backing up the backup a series of staging processes will be required long before you can start looking for the file you’re after – even worse if you are using incremental backups you’ll have fun staging everything and trawling through the backups to find anything – might take weeks!
There are some pretty aggressive and misleading marketing, and in some cases, inaccurate stabs at Backup Exec being touted from various companies. But they are right about a few things“80% of CIOs prefer to manage Virtual Infrastructures with existing enterprise management systems.” A no-brainer given the capabilities of Backup Exec and its long standing relationship with VMware – remember VMware Ready does not include some of these point players, make sure you dig deeper before committing to something that may not give you the best protection.
– with improvements in virtualization backup, archiving, and security
Backup Exec 2010 R3 continues with our “R” series of releases – new features, new capabilities, and continued improvement to our award-winning backup and recovery application.
There’s quite a bit of goodness in this release. Since Symantec as a company has focused heavily in the virtualization space, it stands to reason that many of the improvements in Backup Exec 2010 R3 revolve around virtualization. But that’s not all we improved in this release!
If you backup and restore VMware with Backup Exec and the Deduplication Option, this update is for you. We’ve made significant improvement to the Deduplication engine regarding VMware backups – you should see significant improvement in the Deduplication rates with Backup Exec 2010 R3 compared to previous versions of Backup Exec. In our environments we’ve seen 30%, 50%, or higher data reduction rates with the Backup Exec 2010 R3 compared to previous versions. If you use Backup Exec and you want better Deduplication ratios with VMware backups, then this is the update for you.
(And don’t worry, Hyper-V users – we haven’t forgotten about you – we’ll have good news for you in the next major release of Backup Exec. So be patient, and we’ll get Hyper-V Deduplication into Backup Exec as soon as we can.)
We’ve added a new plug-in – the Backup Exec Management Plugin for VMware – to the mix, too. This utility allows you to monitor backups made with the Agent for VMware from within a vSphere Client or vCenter installation. Administrators can get all sorts of insight into Backup Exec jobs, including a status view of all VM’s, last backup run, next scheduled backup, what type of backup occurred, and allows administrators to drill down into Backup Exec backup job logs. This is a completely free update that is very useful for VMware administrators who use Backup Exec.
Plus, we’ve improved a number of other areas involving deduplication in virtual environments since Backup Exec 2010 R2 was released. If you protect VMware, use Deduplication, or use Application GRT for SQL, Exchange or Active Directory, this update also a great fit for you.
Archiving has seen some love, too – especially the Exchange Mailbox Archiving Option. We now support Archiving from Exchange 2010 SP1! So those administrators who have been looking to move or have moved to latest and greatest messaging platform from Microsoft, we support backup, recovery, and storage management through Archiving with Backup Exec 2010 R3. In addition to new platform support, we’ve also introduced Virtual Vault for the Exchange Mailbox Archiving Option. This Outlook Plug-In allows end users to see Archived emails directly from within Outlook – meaning that users never need to leave the familiar Outlook interface to search, view, and reply to Archived emails.
The Agent for Enterprise Vault has seen some improved platform support. We now support backup, recovery, and migration from Enterprise Vault 10 installations. Enterprise Vault is the flagship Archiving product from Symantec, and we are committed to supporting the latest and greatest releases of the Enterprise Vault application.
We’ve also done some work with our underlying security infrastructure. Backup Exec 2010 R3 now provides TSL/SSL support from the agent to the server, providing an extra layer of security for customers that transmit backup data across the WAN or to a private cloud. Essentially, the Backup Exec Media Server becomes its own Certificate Authority (CA) with the power to sign certificates, establishing identity and trust. This now encrypts the control and data connections between the media server and remote agents. This added security features will help ensure that backed up data sent over any network or Internet connection is secure.
And last but not least, Backup Exec 2010 R3 brings support for the latest versions of Microsoft Small Business Server 2011. Both SBS 2011 Essentials and SBS 2011 Standard, along with the SBS 2011 Premium Add-On, are supported with Backup Exec 2010 R3.
To sum up, we’ve done a lot of work to make Backup Exec more effective in VMware environments, more secure, and even better suited to backup and protect your environments. We’ve produced a short “What’s New in Backup Exec 2010 R3” webcast that you can find that on www.BackupExec.com– with an introduction to Backup Exec 2010 R3. If you already own Backup Exec 2010 or Backup Exec 2010 R2, this is a no-cost upgrade for you. If you are interested in evaluating Backup Exec 2010 R3, you can download trialware from www.BackupExec.com.
Aiden Finley, Backup Exec Product Management
See Symantec Connect
The UK Storage Awards (“The Storries”) are upon us once again and once again Symantec are in the list of finalists. For any of you who are unaware of The Storries, they are the UKs Storage Awards as voted by the readers of Storage Magazine. This is the Storries’ 8th outing where the industry acknowledges outstanding products, services and people in the industry. This year the event is taking place at the majestic, Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, known predominately and possibly sadly for “Britain’s Got Talent” … having said that it’s pretty impressive.
Backup Exec – now in its 29th year – has seen a few changes, not just through Maynard, Archive, Conner, Arcade, Seagate, Veritas, Symantec, over the years. As is the case with a good number of leading software products, the journey to the number one spot began for Backup Exec in the living room of Kim and Alison Knap who developed the first tape based backup system – in Florida, USA where our product management offices still sit! But it was not until the early 1992 that the name Backup Exec was born. Over 20 releases later, Backup Exec is stronger than ever.
Interestingly Symantec and Maynard Electronics were founded in the same year 1982. Backup Exec has been number one in the industry for so long it’s pretty easy to take it for granted: BE was the first Netware backup product built on Novell SMS; the first product to support Microsoft NT; the first to support Exchange 200, SQL Server 2000 and SharePoint Portal Server 2001; the first to provide a disaster recovery solution for the Windows platform; the first certified data protection solution for Windows 2000; the first backup solution integrated into windows based NAS; the first to provide SAN solution for Windows Platforms. The list goes on…
So Symantec have made the finals of the UK Storage Awards 2011 in four categories:
• Archiving & Compliance Product of the year – Enterprise Vault
• Backup & DR Software Product of the Year – Backup Exec & NetBackup
• Storage Company of the year – Symantec
• De-Duplication Product of the year – NetBackup PureDisk
We need your vote – please go to:
http://www.storage-awards.com/ and help us win!
Voting closes 17th June 2011
The first question we ask when performing an audit of an organisations backup and recovery strategy is “Why do you backup?”
The most common answer we get is “Because we have to” which implies that backup is just another box we have to tick and therefore we will just select our data for backup and hope that we can recover it.
The only answer to the question “Why do you backup?” is to RECOVER.
The ability to recover should be the main criteria for choosing a backup product. Our engineers test the recovery of thousands of systems every year. As a result, we know a lot about how to configure your backups to facilitate this recovery. With its large market share, we have found that Backup Exec is the most common product we come across in the market place, but it is also the most reliable when it comes to recovery. More often than not, inability to recover is not the fault of the backup product, but rather how it has been configured by the user. Half of the Backup Exec manual covers restore/recovery, but nobody gets to read it until they have to, at which point it might be too late as they did not configure their backups to facilitate the recovery.
Recovery can be further broken down into the following categories:
- Recovering individual items of data
- Recovering individual systems
- Recovering an entire site.
Lets look at each of these individually.
If this is an area of interest, then let me know and I will send you the rest of the article which covers application agents, archiving, virtualisation agents and system recovery.
(this is an exerpt from a longer article by Lewis McMahon, Storage On-Line)
I need a new service, so I need an application, and a new server, and perhaps some storage … and if we’re lucky we ask ourselves “oh, yes, what about the backup?” Have you noticed how really never turn IT off, we just add to it. So we end up with a backup strategy that encompassed everything 3 or 4 years ago, but one that falls pretty short today; that’s how it really works.
Even though we know that we really should backup all our data – just in case – are we absolutely convinced we actually are? Backup is our critical data protection solution and yet we rarely review our backup strategy.
With server virtualisation, the need for fast reliable application recovery, the exponential growth of unstructured data and poor data lifecycle management are some of the root causes of operational inefficiencies in IT and why we are change the way we approach our backup strategies.
With more and more companies adopting virtualisation technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce CAPEX costs, organisations are looking for ways of protecting both virtual and physical environments with a single backup tool. It makes sense to use a solution that gives you granular recovery from a single pass backup, saving time, money and any amount of effort – don’t use separate tools and end up backing up the backup it turns the recovery process into a nightmare!
The backup and recovery of Microsoft Applications is an inherently challenging process that becomes more difficult as the databases grow and the demands on its online availability increases, further limiting the time available for backup and recovery operations. Granular Recovery of Exchange, SQL and Active Directory from a single pass backup makes it easy and efficient to identify and recover only those objects needed.
Optimising storage to reduce overall storage capacity can be done through integrated archiving and deduplication. Archiving moves old data to a separate store so you don’t have to backup the same data day-in, day-out – forever. Deduplication only backs up data (at a block level) once, using a pointer to the unique data. You can reduce the backup window dramatically with both archiving and data deduplication.
Backup Exec 2010
Backup Exec Agents and Options enhance and extend platform and feature support for your backup environments for Microsoft applications, virtual environments (VMware and Microsoft Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V) as well as storage reduction or optimisation technologies.
Every so often I write a book that not very many people read … put it this way; I’m not getting inquiring emails from Dan Brown on the state of my sales. To be fair, that’s not why I write. Predominately it’s down to boredom on aeroplanes and occasionally because I think there’s an area that, as IT people, we should focus, or re-focus on.
“Backing up Data in Your Business” has been written in the Smart Questions style, rather than being prescriptive we got through all the questions that as IT professionals from all walks of life we should be considering. Using the Smart Questions template this book has been targeted at the small to medium business, although it is also useful for larger companies, or those who are new to backup. It is primarily targeted at customers but has also been written with VARs (Value Added Resellers) in mind.
It’s pretty basic by moments, so if you are well up on backup today then it’s probably not for you. Where it will have an impact is with bosses who either don’t know what it is you are trying to do as a backup admin or if it’s not core to your skills – in other words you are all things to all men – then it is a list of things you should be thing about when considering your backup strategy.
It would also be a great training manual for any generalist whether vendor, distributor, reseller or end user. From the VAR perspective, this is something they can use to give to their sales force (to help educate them) as well as to their customers to make sure that they buy the appropriate solution. By educating the end-user it is possible to speed up the sales cycle and expand the sale as the customer is more aware of what technology is available to them to improve their backup solution, removing some of the pain points both from an end user perspective as well as the reseller point of view.
The first few chapters of the book look at the background as to why backup is important and how it has evolved – and why it turns out to be more complicated than first expected. (This is a sentiment echoed by small business, which start out with the best intentions and then give up as there are too many options and too much jargon… “All I wanted was a simple backup for my data…”)
The bulk of the book are the smart questions – organised in sections to help with understanding the need and building a business case internally, followed by more in depth questions on backup technology and on finding a supplier or an on-line backup service provider. Each question is kept relatively short, with a slightly longer explanation as to why the question is important. Finally there is a chapter with some case studies and what to do next.
The book has an ISBN number and is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.