The recent launches of Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Servers 2008 R2 have been greeted with a lot of fanfare. But what can sometimes get lost in the mix is that as organizations look to adopt the latest versions of these operating systems there is a need to update the software that runs on these platforms. In that respect, keeping one’s backup software up to date should be at or near the top of one’s priority list when deploying any of these new OSes.
It already appears that the forecasted adoption rate for Windows 7 will be much better than its predecessor, Windows Vista. Kevin Tofel, a research analyst with GigaOM Pro, cited the forecasted growth of Netbooks sold with Windows 7; fewer hardware problems than Windows Vista; and, new types of supported devices as key reasons that will contribute to Windows 7 adoption and growth. These factors coupled with better reviews of Windows 7 and a previous operating system (Windows XP) that is getting long in the tooth would seem to indicate that Windows 7 is poised to take off.
Windows Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 should also get a boost in its adoption rate as one of the most anticipated features in R2 with its inclusion of Live Migration. In talking to a former developer who used to work on Citrix XenServer, he said that as soon as Citrix came out with its own version of live migration, XenServer adoption took off.
The new Live Migration feature found in Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 coupled with the fact that the majority of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have not yet adopted server virtualization should translate into significant growth for Windows Hyper-V Server 2008 in this space. But here is where organizations in general and SMBs specifically need to be on their guard about using existing backup software to protect application data that they host on these newer versions of Microsoft Windows.
Pat Hanavan, Symantec’s Vice President of Product Management for Backup Exec System Recovery, said that during testing, one of Symantec’s developers installed Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 on beta versions of Windows 7 and Windows Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and it appeared to work fine. It was only after the developer went to restore some files that he discovered he could not recover them.
Hanavan explained that from a user perspective, nothing really appears to have changed from previous versions of Windows. New versions of Windows still use NTFS volumes and many existing applications (including previous versions of backup software) still run on these newer operating systems. However Microsoft made subtle tweaks at the file system level such as the inclusion of new file system attributes that previous versions of Backup Exec System Recovery are not designed to detect so data can go unprotected.
It is for reasons like these that Symantec today announced Backup Exec System Recovery 2010 that adds support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 (Hyper-V included). This new version takes into account these underlying file system changes that have occurred in these new Windows operating systems so data can continue to be protected. Symantec also took this opportunity to introduce three other new features into this release of Backup Exec System Recovery that give users further reason to upgrade including:
- Conversion of Granular Recovery from a purchasable option to an included feature
- Microsoft Exchange 2010 support
- Support for Linux
Notable among these new features is Backup Exec System Recovery’s inclusion of Granular Recovery Option (GRO) that, prior to this release, organizations used to have to pay extra to license. In Backup Exec System Recovery 2010, this requirement is removed. Now GRO is just a check box that users can select when implementing the product. This is most applicable in Microsoft Exchange environments which gives users the ability to recover individual emails, folders or mailboxes within Microsoft Exchange and includes the new version of Microsoft Exchange 2010.
Also worth mentioning is that Symantec is extending support of Backup Exec System Recovery to Linux for the first time. While Backup Exec has offered backup agents and even a Media Server option for Linux for some time, this is Backup Exec System Recovery’s first foray into the Linux space.
Unlike Windows which includes its VSS snapshot feature, Linux does not offer any comparable feature so Symantec developed a snapshot feature for Linux that is available with this release. Now using Backup Exec System Recovery, users can recover Linux systems or individual data files and folders in minutes.
However, users should be aware that Backup Exec System Recovery for Linux does not offer all of the features found in Windows. For instance, it only offers a command line interface (CLI) and there is no GRT support. But this is minor since most of GRT’s functionality is supported by Windows applications.
One other change that Symantec makes with this release of Backup Exec System Recovery is its reduced price. By making the Windows version available for $795 MSRP and the Linux version available for $495 MSRP, Backup Exec System Recovery is more affordable for SMBs making it easier for them to justify its deployment.
Right now Microsoft is generating a lot of buzz around its latest versions of Windows but SMBs specifically need to verify existing applications work before moving them to these latest Windows releases since Microsoft is targeting some features in these new releases directly at SMBs. Among these applications, upgrading backup software especially merits the attention of SMBs as they can be tempted to run old versions of backup software on these newer versions of Windows which may not provide them with any protection at all. By Symantec adding these new features and lowering its price on Backup Exec System Recovery, it should help remove the objections and obstacles that these size organizations have in keeping their backup software up to date.