In the past few weeks I have probably heard the phrase “instant gratification” uttered more times than I care to admit. But what is more interesting is that I have heard that phrase used more frequently in the context of deploying and supporting applications like backup software in enterprise environments. It is this changing mindset towards how enterprise organizations expect to deploy and support their applications goes a long way to explaining why Symantec opted to make its NetBackup software available as the NetBackup 5000 Series.
It was not that long ago that when anyone used phrases “instant gratification” and “enterprise application” in the same sentence, people looked at you like you were out of touch. Enterprise environments are by their very nature complex with a mix of applications, server and storage hardware and varying service level agreements (SLAs.) So if you so much as suggested that an enterprise application could be deployed in this type of environment in a turnkey fashion, the idea was summarily dismissed.
That has changed. As enterprises and their infrastructures have gotten both more complex and more virtualized, a new cry is emerging for solutions that are easier to deploy and maintain in these environments. That is easier said than done and no provider is immune from it, even companies like Symantec that offer enterprise backup software like NetBackup.
Consider the steps that enterprises typically have to take when deploying the NetBackup backup software as its purchase is usually just one step in a much longer process.
- A server platform from Dell, HP, IBM or whoever needs to be procured as well as the storage (disk, tape or both) that will be used with NetBackup.
- The operating system has to be installed on the server.
- Finally NetBackup has to be installed and configured.
Then once in production it needs to be managed and supported. But as anyone close to enterprise organizations knows it is not the known and tested configurations that keep them up at night. Rather it is the untested and/or unproven configurations that can make support a hassle as issues can sometimes take days or even weeks to get fully resolved.
It is this twin set of problems that Symantec looks to address by offering NetBackup as its appliance-based 5000 Series solution. Packaging the NetBackup backup software as an appliance circumvents many of the normal internal corporate processes involved with a NetBackup deployment as it enables enterprises to just buy it and roll it out.
Further, most organizations that are looking to implement NetBackup are probably not looking to deploy backup software for the first time. Rather they are looking to upgrade or replace an existing backup solution. The NetBackup 5000 Series enables them to budget the money, resources and time and then, in just a few steps, purchase and deploy NetBackup into their environment.
Delivering NetBackup as the 5000 Series also alleviates thorny support issues that are outside of Symantec’s control. Not all server and/or storage hardware platforms are created equal which can result in support issues that can become difficult to troubleshoot.
By deploying the NetBackup 5000 Series with a standardized and known server and storage hardware configuration, troubleshooting issues becomes more straightforward and easier to outsource. Symantec will also know exactly what hardware, operating system and even what firmware is on the 5000.
This configuration makes it possible for Symantec to more quickly recreate a customer’s backup environment in its labs should the need arise. By deploying NetBackup as a preconfigured appliance, enterprises can help prevent these support issues from ever occurring in the first place and, if they do occur, Symantec is in a better position to identify and address them.
Using the phrases “instant gratification” and “enterprise environment” in the same sentence may never be completely congruent but there is definitely a movement afoot towards making that a reality.
Symantec clearly wants to be a part of this new reality. By configuring and packaging its NetBackup backup software as the 5000 Series to simplify its purchase and deployment while expediting support issues should they arise, it is clear that the time for Symantec to deliver its flagship NetBackup software as a hardware appliance has arrived.