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Understand which Storage devices fits into your Data-Protection strategy


Although senior Backup Exec administrators are well-versed with which storage devices to pick for their data protection strategy, however, for recent addition of Backup Administrators to our family, this article could help them to validate if they have picked up the appropriate storage devices in order to accomplish 3-2-1 data-protection strategy very convincingly. (3 different copies of data, 2 different media & 1 offsite copy).

As you know, Backup Exec supports variety of Storage devices ranging from file-system based devices, Deduplication Storage device, to Tape devices family (Standalone, Autoloader, Tape Libraries) to Networking devices like – SAN & NAS Storage devices, to OST appliances to Disk Cartridge device to Hybrid Cloud appliances like Azure StorSimple to new edge Cloud Storage devices like Cloud Deduplication Storage devices, no matter which Cloud provider’s subscription you have among – Azure, Amazon & Google.

In this article, we will take a quick look at best use case scenario for each of this storage device that Backup Exec supports. Effective Data-protection strategies using these devices will be covered in a separate article.

Backup Exec Deduplication Storage device –

As the very purpose of deduplication device is to save the costly disk storage by eliminating the duplicate writes. As a result, deduplication storage device helps in cost saving as well as in time saving.

Another use case for using Backup Exec’s deduplication option is that it helps in reducing the network load resulting from backups.  We have got something called as “Client-side deduplication”. What it does is, in the scenario’s where, network bandwidth is weak, deduplication job runs on the agent machine itself and sends only unique data to the media server for writes.

In another extremely important use case, if you have virtualized infrastructure in place, “Backup Exec Deduplication Block Cloning technology” is used  for VMware & Hyper-V machine’s accelerated backups.

Optimized-deduplication is another use case, which offers a cost-effective backup copying method that enable the optimized transfer of data over a LAN/WAN connection from one Backup Exec server to another Backup Exec server located at different site. Since, same backup data is available for recovery at multiple locations, thereby it offers a convenient and cost-effective disaster recovery solution.

Also, for Backup Exec dedupe storage device & disk storage device (B2D), restore job run very fast, as no staging is needed for restore.

You can refer best practices for using Backup Exec’s deduplication storage device.

Cloud Deduplication Storage device -

Cloud Storage devices are modern era storage devices and are characterized as a scalable storage which works on pay-as-you-go model. 

As like Tape devices, cloud backups are coming handy in creating duplicate copies of the backups located at off-site (into the cloud) to avoid a single point of failure, and thus fits into 3-2-1 data-protection strategy very convincingly.

Veritas Backup Exec supports deduplication into the Cloud which further optimizes cost & storage space in the cloud & doing this we ensure that data is encrypted during transit & at rest. This is extremely popular storage device among our customers.

Further, Backup Exec leverages benefit of Amazon, Azure & Google Cloud’s various storage tiers (Archive storage tiers for example), to achieve long-time backup retentions at negligible cost.

Moreover, starting 21.4 version, Backup Exec has introduced Object Lock support feature, that enables customers to send backup data to Write-Once-Read-Many (WORM) storage devices and offers data immutability and indelibility for a defined period.

Thus, Object Lock support feature that acts as an additional security to backup data leveraging immutable storage by adding the retention lock capability to its backup policy.

Cloud Connectors  –

If your organization has S3-enabled Object Cloud storage servers, Backup Exec can leverage them to store backup copies there too.

Of course, cloud connectors are also available with public cloud providers like –  Azure, AWS & Google cloud to send your secondary backup copies into the cloud. 

In nutshell, Backup Exec has various Public & Private cloud capabilities.

Tape Storage devices –

Tape devices has been a very popular as a cost-effective storage devices, if we overlook initial investment thing.

Ideal use case for Tape device is to use them while creating redundant backup copies that would sent to an offsite location, which acts as a safety check against the risk of single point of failure in the event of disaster, where primary backup copy isn’t available for recovery (assuming RTO is not an issue)

Backup Exec supports standalone Tapes, Tape libraries & Autoloaders. Here is the comprehensive list of supported Tape devices.

In another use case, you can share a SAN-attached Tape library amongst multiple SAN-attached Backup Exec servers to achieve a LAN free backup. In such configuration, installing Backup Exec server on application servers will do a direct backup (LAN Free backup).

OST Storage devices –

These are the storage devices that supports the Open Storage Technology (OST) for integration into Veritas’ backup products devices and offers appliance level deduplication.

EMC Data Domain, HP StorOnce, Quantum DXi and Fujitsu Eternus CS800 are recommended.

This write-up would illustrate Backup Exec’s use case with OST appliance in greater details.

Starting Backup Exec 21.4, Backup Exec supports WORM capability for OST devices.

SAN & NAS Storage devices–

If your organization has SAN (Storage Area Network) & NAS (Network Attached Storage) storage servers in place, Backup Exec leverage them to send backup copies there over these network devices.

To use SAN storage as a backup destination, all you need to do is to present the LUN (logical disk storage) to the Backup Exec server. So that you can create Backup-to-disk & Deduplication storage device over there. Same is the case with NAS storage. Please note that, the backend storage area network should be 10Gbps iSCSI or 4 Gbps FC are the minimum supported configuration.

Here is an excellent article about LAN free backup worth referring.

Disk based Storage devices (Backup- to-Disk aka B2D)

Disk devices are typically preferred for achieving faster backups (lesser backup window). This is for two reasons. First, disk writes (I/O) are faster as compare to other devices, for example Tapes (sequential streams writing) or Cloud storage devices, which are internet bandwidth driven.

Second reason is that, “time to data” (time required to acquire & mount the media) is very less, as disk device facilitates automatic discovery of locally accessible disk volumes, as opposed to two-minute “time to data” when it comes to restoring from Tape devices, for example. Another advantage is, no staging is required during restore & hence faster restores.

Disaster Recovery solution –

When we are talking about device supportability, would also touch base upon Backup Exec’s disaster recovery capability.

At many organizations, Disaster Recovery has been remaining as an integral part of their data-protection strategy & a compliance in order to achieve RPO & RTO objectives in the event of disaster.

With Azure integration, Backup Exec provides state of the art DR solution by the name of  Instant Cloud Recovery (ICR) powered by Azure Site Recovery.

With Instant Cloud Recovery (ICR) Backup Exec Admins can create automatically updated off-site replicas of VMs in the Azure cloud for a quick failover in case of a disaster.

After implementing ICR (Instant cloud recovery) solution, our customers are finding themselves at peace in mind, as their DR case is complete & thus able to focus on their daily challenging tasks.

Important Note –

All the workloads that Backup Exec supports for data protection viz – VMWare, Hyper-V, Microsoft Server Family – AD, Exchange, SQL, SharePoint server, Oracle, NDMP hosted File shares, Cloud File Shares (AWS FSx & Azure File Shares)

All the storage devices that Backup Exec supports are fully equipped with Data-Life-cycle Management (DLM) capabilities.

All the storage devices that Backup Exec supports are fully equipped with encryption & compression

Storage devices such as Disk-storage (including Network shares), Dedup Storage & Disk Cartridge devices are fully protected from Ransomware attacks

Following is a quick overview of a Storage devices along with the features that Backup Exec supports.  


Device list On-prem copy Off-site copy Encryption & compression  Dedup capability Life Cycle support Ransomware Protection
Disk Storage    
Duplication Storage  
Tape Storage      
N/W Storage      
Cloud Storage      
Cloud Deduplication Storage    
Disk Cartridge device    
OST Storage  

Summary –

In summary, using extensive variety of storage devices that Backup Exec supports, there are many efficient data protection possibilities exists including new-age DR solution into the cloud, so that Backup Exec administrator can achieve 3-2-1 data-protection strategy & DR compliance effectively.

For detailed storage devices list that Backup Exec supports from the compatibility perspective, we would advise to go through HCL & licensing guide.