An area that is often overlooked in an IT infrastructure, at least until it’s needed, is the backup and recovery environment. Then when the realization hits the company that it needs backup software, it’s typically complex to install, configure and maintain, even in small environments, because of the fact that backup consists of so many moving parts (backup servers, tape robots, disk-based arrays, SAN networks, etc.). The good news is that more hardware and software vendors are stepping up to the plate and partnering to take some of the complexity out of installing and configuring backup software in these size environments. The most recent announcement between Dell and Symantec is the latest in the growing number of symbiotic relationships between hardware and software vendors in the backup space.
The recent joint launch between Dell and Symantec of the Dell PowerVault DL2000 Powered by Backup Exec backup and recovery appliance is just one of the fruits of a relationship that goes back more than twelve years. This appliance is much more than just Dell installing Backup Exec 12.5 onto a Dell Server and then selling it with some storage or tape. The integration it offers between the backup software and the underlying hardware should make even a seasoned sys-admin take notice.
One of the first features that caught our eye is that the PowerVault DL2000 can be up and running with a fully operational version of Backup Exec in less than 20 minutes. Equally notable, Backup Exec now also fully controls and manages all the resources contained within the appliance. For example, Backup Exec software now controls the backup and recovery process as you would expect, but also manages and maintains the storage resources within the DL2000 as well.
That is worth repeating. It manages and maintains all of the DL2000’s storage resources. That means all of those pesky administrative tasks associated with array management (RAID configuration, discovering new LUNs, provisioning storage, etc.) that administrators normally perform thru a separate interface are now accomplished inside the Backup Exec console. Now that’s a backup appliance we can all get behind.
From hardware perspective, the DL2000 provides disk-to-disk-to-tape (D-D-T) right out of the box. The disk layer is Dell’s MD1000 shelf packs that allow a customer to scale up to 190 drives and 190 TBs. The beauty of this new solution is that Backup Exec now assumes the management of these components so that disk can be seamlessly added to the system and managed using Backup Exec. Companies can then expand disk storage with whatever capacity or performance characteristics that they need since the MD1000 supports SAS or SATA drives with varying capacity. Connecting to tape is also part of this new integrated solution as it also supports multiple types of connectivity (SAS, FC, SCSI) so companies can manage existing or new tape devices as part of the DL2000 solution.
From a backup software point of view, the DL2000 completely integrates Symantec Backup Exec v12.5 into the solution. Some of the features that users can take advantage of include:
- Continuous Data Protection (CDP) for Exchange. This feature continuously backs up Exchange so companies can meet any business RPO (Recovery Point Objective). The CDP functionality may also eliminate the need for normal backups.
- VMware Integration. Backup Exec fully integrates with VMware through its support of VCB (Virtual Consolidated Backup). Backup Exec also does not nickel and dime you to death with the VMware licenses since it can backup an unlimited number of guests per ESX server.
- Granular Recovery. Backup Exec includes Symantec’s Granular Recovery Technology that takes hours off of backup and recovery times for applications like Active Directory, Exchange and SharePoint. Backup Exec performs a single backup and then using its Granular Recovery Technology, can crack open backups so companies can recover specific objects (files, email messages, users accounts) inside these various applications without needing to recover the entire database
- Remote Office Backup & Recovery. This solution is perfect for existing Backup Exec customers who need to backup remote offices that have minimal or no IT staff and need everything managed from the central location where IT staff resides. The new PowerVault DL2000 with Symantec Backup Exec can be recognized by an existing deployment of Backup Exec and managed as part of it.
- Desktop Laptop Option (DLO) Backups. Backup Exec delivers the automatic protection of desktops and laptops so companies can ensure that all corporate intellectual property is protected.
The Dell PowerVault DL2000 Powered by Symantec Backup Exec is a reflection of the long partnership between Symantec and Dell and addresses customers’ needs by delivering a backup system that enables the end-user to concern themselves less about the backup and recovery hardware and more on business continuity and disaster recovery. The DL2000 provides resource-strapped remote and branch office the new flexibility and functionality that they need in multiple configurations. Equally important, it continues to demonstrate Symantec’s commitment to its customer base by helping them continue to grow and expand their backup infrastructures. This minimizes the need for companies to unnecessarily pay for consulting or long-term professional service engagements in order to protect vital components of their corporate infrastructure.