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Symantec's Unified Method Covers Backup Bases

Symantec  today released a major upgrade to its NetBackup data-protection platform and pledged to unify its data protection, storage management and archiving platforms under one umbrella.

Unveiled at the Symantec Vision 2007 show in Las Vegas today, NetBackup 6.5 boasts the unified management of all backup technologies in a datacenter and is first fresh leg of Symantec's new Storage United vision.

Matt Kixmoeller, senior director of product management for the datacenter management group at Symantec, said NetBackup 6.5 bridges the gap between tape-based protection and disk storage.

Whereas in the past, customers either had tape or disk-based storage, backup environments of today span tape, virtual tape libraries, continuous data protection (CDP), snapshots and replication. This can be a nightmare to manage, which is why Symantec crafted NetBackup 6.5 to manage all forms of backup. The idea is to take the complexity out of data protection.

"What that means is a single platform that can manage all of these protection solutions, that can allow customers to use tape and gives them the flexibility to use different tools for replication and snapshot and CDP," Kixmoeller said.

NetBackup 6.5 isn't just one big integration scheme, either.

The platform boasts new features, including the ability to manage data snapshots from all of the major array vendors, including EMC , IBM , HDS, Network Appliance  and Sun ; CDP, from Symantec's purchase of Revivio; and de-duplication, which allows for better storage utilization.

Other new features include a flexible disk option, which allows users to back up over a storage area network (SAN) down into a shared pool of disks that is centrally managed, as well as the ability to use snapshots to store the massive quantities of data created by VMware virtual machines.

Kixmoeller acknowledged that while vendors such as EMC and IBM may offer CDP or de-duplication pieces, they offer them as isolated products. Symantec believes NetBackup 6.5 is a next-generation backup offering that covers all of the bases.

To wit, integrating all of the data protection tools under NetBackup symbolizes the new Storage United strategy Symantec created to boost the poor storage utilization rates administrators are dealing with in datacenters.

Overwhelmed by the disparate technologies and complex nature of their platforms, customers tend to separate storage into different pools or islands, which leads to poor utilization. Combine this inefficiency with the unfettered growth of all types of data with the duplicate data glut and that adds up to one expensive headache.

Storage United is geared to ease these pains with a single layer of storage management software that bridges the gap between the storage administrators who provide the storage and the business managers who order it.

Kixmoeller said this means supporting "virtually anything," including any server operating system and storage hardware. So if a customer has Linux, Solaris and Windows in their network, along with storage from EMC, Network Appliance and Sun, Symantec can manage the products.

"We know that customers are not going to be able to buy everything from one vendor," Kixmoeller said.

The strategy finds Symantec discarding a ghost of its past; the storage assets sold as point products when they were under the Veritas mantle.