Symantec pledges “better backup for all”

By on March 8, 2012
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Statistics speak the truth of how many companies actually run backups.

I arrive on time in the late hours of the morning for Symantec’s Media Roundtable, which today was going to be focused on the company’s plans to change the way that SMBs and Enterprise perform their backup. I’m a bit skeptical at first – my last experience with Symantec backup products was version 10 of BackupExec, which would take about 14 hours to run a complete backup. On the good days, it would actually finish. On the crap days, it would fail at 98%.

We’re welcomed by Johnny Karam, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa for Symantec. He makes it a point to mention the ‘data explosion’ that businesses have witnessed in such a short time, and how it is affecting SLAs when it comes to backup and data recovery. “These challenges also affect small businesses that struggle with implementing a proper approach to data protection. The current approach to modernization introduces an ever-growing collection of point solutions resulting in added complexity, increased costs and headaches for backup administrators, network administrators and executives.” he adds.

And for the most part, he’s not wrong – Symantec’s own survey of SMBs in the Middle East revealed that a mere 34% of SMBs had actual backups in place, and a shocking 74% were backing up critical data to a CD/DVD or external hard drive. It’s a depressing statistic, but one that highlights how vulnerable businesses in the region really are, and how they can stand to lose a lot of time and money should they experience downtimes. Furthermore, backups have become more complex with the introduction of virtualization – not all backup programs are able to properly backup virtual servers, or do so by backing up the entire virtual file which makes recovery a seemingly impossible task. What’s even more interesting is that many companies are still implementing virtualization technologies without fully understanding that the backup requirements are different from a physical server.

Next up was Amit Walia, Global Vice President, Product Management at Symantec. Having been with the company since 2006, Walia certainly is no stranger to the pitfalls facing many businesses when it comes to both data backup and security. He stresses that companies essentially need to understand three factors when approaching backup – controlling the amount of data being accumulated, unifying platforms and backup solutions to streamline the entire process, and simplify the backup process itself by eliminating multiple products. On average businesses use six to seven different products when executing their backup routines, and this is something Walia hopes to eliminate with Symantec’s BackupExec 2012 edition. The software has had some major overhauls, the biggest being the user interface which received plenty of feedback during the community beta. Symantec are also launching an edition for small businesses with up to three servers, thus reducing the implementation costs for a robust backup solution. Both BackupExec 2012 and NetBackup 7.5 for Enterprises feature dramatic improvements in data handling and de-duplication – according to Walia a 1TB file can be processed for backup in under 6 minutes, which is a feat in itself.

I came away from the presentation suitably impressed by what I had seen. Symantec clearly have some very strict goals when it comes to tackling backup solutions not just for the region, but for businesses worldwide. Hopefully this year will see companies getting their backups in order and under control before they’re buried under a mountain of DVDs.

Check back next week for our exclusive interview with Amit Walia.


A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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