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NetBackup to Customers: "We're Listening!"

Level 2

The most popular NetBackup session at the Symantec Vision user conference, by far, is Performance and Tuning.   The organizers don’t wait to see the attendee preregistration surveys, they just go ahead and book the big ballroom and immediately consider the standing room only space.  When the speakers get to the part about “What makes the best media server”, the room freezes in rapt attention like tweens watching a Justin Bieber interview.   No surprise there. Getting it right is a big deal.  Upgrading and deploying new hardware is a painful process.  A well honored tradition at the Vision user conference is swapping war stories.  During the cocktail hour, when we’re enjoying the freebie microbrew beer (okay, I’m a martini gal) and munching the bruschetta, we are regaled with tales of the backup infrastructure refresh process.  The bureaucracy.  The many other teams that have to be consulted, involved, and provide their sign-off.  If only, you sigh wistfully, it could be as easy as rolling in a tape library.

Well it can be.  Because Symantec just made it a LOT easier. 

Voilà, Symantec brings you the NetBackup 5200 appliance family – an easy to deploy, all-in-one hardware and software solution that is already provisioned and primed for hassle-free enjoyment.  Okay, that sounds smarmy.  But really, there is lots to love about our new appliance, particularly the experience.  Roll it in, turn it on, it just works.  No need to fiddle with provisioning the storage.  No need to grovel before the Storage Administration Sentinels. Hassle-free.

So why did we break our long-standing Swiss-like neutrality on hardware?  Because you asked us to.  If there is anything you can bank on, it’s the fact that the NetBackup ethos is to accommodate your desires.  No other backup vendor covers the range of platforms end-to-end than NetBackup.   Master server, media server, clients, applications, robotic libraries, disk arrays.  Our proliferation list is as thick as the Hansen section of the Copenhagen phone book.  You want to us to seamlessly integrate with your favorite third party backup storage vendor?  Done.  That’s what Symantec OpenStorage was about.  You want us to pre-build a smokin’ great media server for you?  Done.

Here are several reasons to consider getting the NetBackup 5200 beyond the obvious ‘make it easy, single source, one throat to choke’ enticement.

You are moving to NetBackup 7

NetBackup 7 has dropped support for 32-bit media servers. If you need to replace older 32-bit media servers, then take a look at the NetBackup 5200.  Spend your time building up an architecture instead of a system.

Ease into dedupe

If you want to move away from tape-based backups and reap the benefits of deduplication, yes, the 5200 is all ready and prepped for dedupe.   However, if you are still doing disk staging to tape and want to stay the course for the time-being, that’s okay too.  In addition to being a target for deduplicated data, the 5200 can be used for backup or duplication to tape. (How often are you told that you can have your cake, eat your cake and oh, by the way, start nibbling on the confection that just rolled out of the oven?)    If a tape drive is in our HCL lists, it’s good-to-go with our appliance.   (By the way, while I’m on the topic of ease-of-use, a slick way to navigate the compatibility list information is through the Symantec Operation Readiness Tools:   We’ve made storage allocation easy too.  To specify how much temporary disk staging space you want, just define the percentage.  The 32TB of internal disk storage can be divided as you wish – 80% AdvancedDisk, 20% dedupe.  Then over time, give a larger percentage to dedupe.

Quick local restore at ROBOs

NetBackup 7 can back up remote clients over the WAN. The question you have to ask yourself: Is that approach always the best fit?   The whole purpose of taking a backup is to be prepared for a restore.  For restores of significant size, can your SLA tolerate pulling the data back from the central site?  In some cases, the answer is no.  You need a quick restore that relies on a backup stored close and local to the client. Put the NetBackup 5200 out in the remote site, back up the clients locally, then for DR coverage replicate some (or all) of the images back to the central datacenter.

Backing up VMware environments

In the last, but certainly not least, category is protection of virtual environments.  The 5200 runs NetBackup 7.0.1 software.  Which means you can realize the efficiencies of NetBackup 7’s integration with VMware’s vStorage APIs, the vSphere 4 Changed-Block-Tracking capability, and the ability to do a file-level recovery from an incremental backup.  When you’re running software that was recognized as the "Best of VMworld" 2010 Gold Award winner for the Business Continuity and Data Protection category by TechTarget’s, and using an  appliance that has been built for power and ease…well, it’s like assembling the backup A-Team.

If you want to learn more about the NetBackup 5200, here is a great quick read on the hardware specs:  Or check out one of the upcoming webcasts.  Go to to see the schedule.   

And remember - the next time you find yourself at a Symantec Fun Fest, mosey on over to the appetizer tables and find the folks sporting bumblebee-colored attire.  Tell us what you think.  In between eating bites of the cocktail weenies, we’ll be listening.