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Executive Summary

Symantec Backup Exec™ for Windows® Servers is a comprehensive backup and recovery solution that protects a wide range of data resources, from file systems to popular databases. Symantec Online Storage enhances Backup Exec by providing secure off-site backup storage hosted in redundant data centers that are managed by Symantec for long-term storage and disaster recovery purposes.

Symantec Online Storage for Backup Exec is an offering of Symantec Protection Network (, which provides market-leading Symantec technologies to customers as online services. Symantec Online Storage for Backup Exec is completely integrated with Backup Exec for Windows Servers (v12 and higher); in theory, you could send any on-premise backup to Symantec Protection Network data centers. However, when backing up over the Internet to managed data centers, the performance is not the same as when backing up to local disk. The amount of bandwidth available, frequency of backups, and amount of data transferred will play a significant role in performance using Symantec Online Storage. In addition, costs for the service are based on total storage allocated and consumed, and storage can accumulate quickly if not managed carefully.

This paper suggests best practices to consider when planning and implementing off-site backups using Symantec Online Storage for Backup Exec. These suggestions are designed to help you achieve your data protection objectives while balancing bandwidth and cost considerations.

Symantec Online Storage for Backup Exec

Symantec Online Storage extends the key capabilities of Symantec Backup Exec (v12 and higher), adding the ability to store copies of backups in secure, redundant data centers managed by Symantec. Online Storage gives businesses a simple, secure, and cost-effective option for storing backup data off-site without the inconvenience and cost of tape vaulting services or other forms of off-site tape storage.

Symantec Online Storage is tightly integrated with Symantec Backup Exec. To understand its role, it helps to understand the existing Backup Exec components with which it interacts.

Backup Exec basics

Every Backup Exec implementation will have one or more Media Servers, which are the “brains” of a Backup Exec deployment. The Media Server performs job configuration and scheduling, and controls data movement to and from agents and storage devices/media.

Other important terms and components include:

  • Agents—Agents are software components installed on resources that need to be protected, including file servers, database servers, and application servers.
  • Storage devices—Backup Exec can write to and retrieve data from either tape drives (standalone or in libraries) or disk devices. Best Practices for Using Symantec™ Online Storage for Backup Exec
  • Storage media—When data is written to the storage device, it is captured on physical tapes (when using tape devices), CDs, DVDs, or disks (when using hard drives).
  • Backup to Disk—Disk-based backups use Backup to Disk (B2D) folders. The files written to the B2D folder are often referred to as “virtual tapes.” Virtual tapes are typically 1 GB in size and carry the extension “.BKF.”

Symantec Online Storage works within this Backup Exec environment, supplementing on-premise backups with backups sent over the Internet to Symantec Protection Network data centers.

Using Online Storage with Backup Exec

To use Symantec Online Storage, you must connect to the Symantec Protection Network portal, create an account, and select a service plan that meets your off-site storage requirements. You also need to add two components to the backup environment:

  • Symantec Protection Agent—When installed on the Backup Exec Media Server, this small agent acts like a Backup Exec storage device that writes to the Symantec Protection Network.
  • Storage Device for Online Storage—Once you have installed the Symantec Protection Agent, you can create and define a backup folder that looks and functions like a Backup to Disk (B2D) folder, except that the files (virtual tapes) created are transported over the Internet and stored, encrypted, in secure and redundant Symantec Protection Network data centers.

To read the complete article, download the PDF.