Let’s face it…many of us are concerned (some more than others) about data, application and server backups more than anything else. If you’re a backup administrator, this occupies your day. If you’re an IT manager, you’re more likely to be called in to explain why data hasn’t been backed up when time comes to restore.
However, I believe that an untapped market, and one that isn’t often considered, is backing up laptops and desktops, specifically for roaming users.
Often we make use of folder redirection (which has its own challenges) or simply mapping a drive. Files would be synchronised with little, or no, bandwidth optimisation or control, or even timing of synchronising.
While Backup Exec is able to backup desktop OS’s like Windows XP, Vista and 7 (currently NOT Windows 8 or 8.1), there is another product to consider…Symantec Desktop and Laptop Option. More appropriate to backing up roaming users, and able to backup static users with more flexible licensing, this would be the better option to do the job.
I’m going to put together a couple of articles around Symantec DLO and hope to give a better perspective and idea around the product.
Simply put, Symantec Desktop and Laptop Option enables automated file backups and recovery of desktops and laptops. It streamlines the process of doing both procedures and makes it more seamless to the user. This allows the backup administrator to better protect user data that’s located on a source other than a file server for instance, especially when roaming off-site.
Some of the features of Symantec DLO include:
· Support for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8;
· Encryption of backups through AES;
· Support for both 32-bit and 64-bit Office applications.
However, the main features of Symantec DLO have an element of an application like Backup Exec behind it. Not simply a dumb application, it’s able to have scheduled backups run on a workstation. Backups will therefore not be run manually, either by the admin or the user. Instead, the admin is able to set up an appropriate time to run a backup, and if that backup is unable to run to the network share, run to a temporary location on the workstation. Once the workstation is online, the backups will be copied to the network share.
This type of scheduling can be done once per day, or multiple times per day. This would be dependent on network bandwidth, and the importance of the data being protected. No sense in backing up user data multiple times per day that isn’t deemed company-sensitive and causing a network bottleneck with multiple jobs at the same time. Furthermore, an important benefit here would be that backups need not take place during a time slot where a user might sitting off-site on a connection such as 3G where data would be used up incredibly quickly.
Files are also not copied to the network share in their full size. Rather, Symantec DLO implements a compression algorithm that will compress files, making them smaller before being sent to the network share. This ensures that the network, be it LAN or WAN connection, would not be unnecessarily inundated with data, causing slowness which affects all other users.
From a monitoring perspective, there is a central management platform where the backup admin is able to monitor and configure client backups and restores, meaning the admin is less likely to do this on a per-desktop basis. Saving time, effort, and allowing the admin to focus on other areas of his/her daily job.
As I mentioned, this is an intro to the product. As, and when I get time, I will expand a bit on some of the features that make Symantec DLO a compelling solution for a business, be it large or small.