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9/26/2005
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Symantec Announces Continuous-Protection Software

Backup Exec 10d for the first time includes continuous data protection, which immediately backs up data as it's changed so users can recover a deleted, corrupted, or modified file.

Symantec is making its first major storage move since acquiring Veritas Software earlier this year -- releasing the company's long-expected continuous data protection software, as well as a new version of its LiveState Recovery Suites for bare metal system recovery.

On Tuesday, the Cupertino, Calif., vendor unveiled Backup Exec 10d, which for the first time includes continuous data protection software. That CDP software, called Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server, is perhaps better known by its Veritas code name, Panther.

CDP technology immediately backs up data as it's changed, allowing users to instantly return to any point in time to recover a deleted, corrupted or modified file.

Symantec now faces heavy competition in this space. This month Microsoft is expected to release its Data Protection Manager. DPM offers near-continuous data protection, which differs from CDP in that the changes are backed up as often as every hour. EMC also plans to target the CDP space within the next two months, according to industry sources. And several startups are beginning to bring their CDP technologies to the market.

With CDP, customers can eliminate their backup windows, or the time needed to perform a backup, said Michael Parker, senior product marketing manager for Backup Express. "There are no regular backups and no incremental backups needed. It only backs up the blocks that changed."

Symantec's Continuous Protection Server also includes what Parker called a "Google-like" interface for retrieving files from any moment, without having to call on a company's IT administrator. "We're bringing self-service to data protection," he said. "And because [the software is] disk-based, we can retrieve files in seconds, not in hours or days."

In addition to backing data up to a disk-based array, Continuous Protection Server also includes the ability to archive the data to tape for longterm storage, said Parker. "Tape is absolutely essential to archiving," he said.

Brian Green, senior product manager for Continuous Protection Server, said solution providers can use the software to build add-on business with existing customers. "We give VARs something to go back to customers and use to solve their backup problems," Green said.

Symantec's LiveState Recovery 6.0 software suite, also unveiled on Tuesday, includes a number of new features to help businesses more quickly recover from a system crash.

Symantec's primary claim to fame in the storage space before it acquired Veritas, LiveState is a disk-based recovery solution that performs quick bare metal recoveries if a critical system fails. It runs on Windows-based enterprise servers and workstations. Version 6.0 now offers, as an option, hardware-independent recovery of crashed systems -- enabling LiveState to restore a system onto different hardware, said Brian Wistisen, senior product manager for LiveState Recovery.

Also new is an option to turn a physical server image into a virtual server image using software from VMware, said Wistisen. Such virtual servers can then be used for testing, system modifications and production work, and then converted back to a physical server, he said.

The new version also adds lights-out recovery of unattended servers from remote locations and devices.

LiveState Recovery now can be integrated with Symantec's Backup Exec to allow customers to recover a system to a specific recovery point in time, said Wistisen. "With Backup Exec, you can store, manage and protect those recovery point files," he said.

List pricing for Backup Exec 10d with Continuous Protection Server starts at $795. Pricing for LiveState Suite starts $1,695 per server, with all the options.

LiveState Recovery 6.0 is available this week. Backup Exec 10d is expected to ship on October 10.

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