Symantec Delivers Certified Backup and Recovery Apps

New offerings are first backup products with Windows Server 2008 certification from Microsoft.

Microsoft's launch of Windows Server (WS) 2008 in February provided partners with a potential moneymaker-and third-party vendors are hoping to rake in some cash of their own. Chief among them, is Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec Corp., with two new products: Backup Exec 12 for Windows Servers and Backup Exec System Recovery (BESR) 8.

Backup Exec 12 offers data protection for Windows servers, and BESR 8 kicks in with system recovery for Windows. Both new versions provide enhanced features, but the real selling point for them, analysts say, is that they're the first products of their kind certified by Microsoft to work with WS 2008.

Symantec Corp.
Backup Exec 12 for Windows Servers and Backup Exec System Recovery 8 (BESR 8)

Feb. 19, 2008
  • Backup Exec 12 available now at $995 per server
  • Backup Exec System Recovery 8 available now at $1,095 per server and $69 per workstation

    Key Features:
  • Certification by Microsoft to work with Windows Server 2008
  • Integration with other Symantec products: Symantec Enterprise Vault, Symantec ThreatCon, Symantec Online Storage
  • Enhanced granular recovery capabilities

  • Mozy Inc. (now owned by EMC Corp.) and CA offer similar products

  • First products of their kind to offer Windows Server 2008 certification
  • Can be integrated with other popular Symantec offerings, including off-site data storage
  • Faster Update
    That's a significant factor, says David Russell, research VP for storage technologies and strategies at analyst firm Gartner Inc. "We'll see some faster update on that platform than we have on others, so it'll be important sooner rather than later," he says.

    Lauren Whitehouse, analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group, says there's a technical angle behind Symantec's Windows Server certification.

    "Microsoft has tightened up the security model and introduced a new transactional file system, clustering architecture and virtual server to improve enterprise scalability," Whitehouse says. Microsoft also mandates the use of the Visual SourceSafe (VSS) software package for backup capabilities, she adds.

    "The integration work with VSS is just one area the backup vendors have to work on," Whitehouse says. "Windows Server 2008 also supports 64-bit platforms. These changes all add up to the fact that older applications are likely to 'break.' That is, implementing Windows Server 2008 breaks the incumbent backup application's ability to adequately back up data and necessitates an upgrade of the backup app-and the backup app must be certified by Microsoft."

    Bulking Up
    Beyond achieving certification, Symantec has also bulked up integration for both new offerings with several of its own products: ThreatCon, a security-alert system; Enterprise Vault, which guards e-mail archives; and Symantec Protection Network, a new Software as a Service offering that provides offsite data storage.

    BESR 8 addresses the virtualization trend by offering physical-to-virtual-and vice versa-conversions for several VMware disk formats, including the VMware ESX Server, VMware Server and VMware Workstation formats, as well as for the Microsoft Virtual Server disk format.

    Gartner's Russell says that BESR 8's VMware format-conversion facility shows that Symantec is serious about integrating virtualization into its recovery applications. "They've got a story to play with VMware in terms of being able to convert in and out of virtual machines," Russell says. "They want to play hard and play deep."

    Russell also says that the connection to the Symantec Protection network could be critical because the network stores archived data offsite in Symantec data centers. "If the sprinklers go off or a machine goes on the fritz, it's good to have a copy that's further off," he says.