A Single Integrated Data Protection Solution is Coming; Interview with Symantec Sr Product Director Simon Jelley Part II

Multiple interfaces, multiple products, and multiple systems to learn and become an “expert” in each one – such is the life of a backup administrator.  Every administrator has at times longed for the day when he or she might be able to manage all of their backups and recovery operations, as well as virtual machine and replication snapshots, from a single, integrated interface. That day may be coming sooner than you think. 

In this second part of my blog series with Symantec’s Senior Director of Product Director, Simon Jelley, we look at how Symantec is working toward that goal, and how companies can prepare for that day now.

Jerome:  As enterprise clients look toward being more efficient and cost effective, what is the biggest thing they need to be doing to prepare to change to a single data protection solution?

Simon:  Moving toward a single solution is critical. Behind the scenes you have different groups vying for ownership of what I would call the “recovery responsibility” right now. If it is not clear who owns this recovery responsibility, then how can you assure your critical information and systems are protected? How do you ensure alignment across these teams when a disaster occurs?

When you look at the virtualization team, for example, coming on board, they are typically responsible for some degree of data protection, but only for the virtualized systems. What about the physical assets?

You also have the use of snapshots and replication in the picture, with the storage team covering that responsibility. Symantec is saying, “You have a backup team, bring those responsibilities back under the backup team.

It is true that for the “small-to-medium businesses” (SMB), customers will be going to a purely 100 percent virtualized environment. In those situations, we would recommend our Backup Exec V-Ray edition, which is a dedicated solution for these types of customers.

Ultimately, to prepare, it becomes primarily a change of mindset about who ultimately owns the backup data, and more importantly, the recovery responsibility.
Jerome:  So there should be just one team that owns the process?

Simon: Exactly, yes, absolutely.

Jerome:  In its press release, Symantec mentioned nine points that organizations should follow to achieve this objective? Which three of these nine points should SMBs prioritize?

Simon:   Number 1, if an SMB or enterprise has the resources to manage Backup Exec in-house, we have made it much easier for them.  From an SMB perspective, the biggest change we have spearheaded is the radical simplification to the user interface of Backup Exec, trying to make it easier for our customer to deploy that solution and ultimately making it easier for them to manage their data protection policies and recovery strategy.  Think, “easy button for backup.

Second is deployment choice. As well as our software based Backup Exec offering, Symantec offers appliances that provide a “turnkey” solution. These make data protection very simple and easy to deploy and maintain. Finally, for those looking beyond deploying a solution themselves, Backup Exec.Cloud offers customers a cloud-based choice as a deployment model.

Third on the list is what we discussed earlier, that SMBs should focus in on using one product for data protection and recovery across the complete infrastructure, physical and virtual.

Jerome:  How about on the enterprise side?

Simon:  I think from an enterprise perspective, uniting physical and virtual environments is definitely one of the biggest trends that we are seeing as customers moving toward greater and greater virtualization within their environments.

Over last year, and into this year, we are seeing our enterprise customers move toward virtualizing their mission-critical and business-critical applications, as well as providing management through one solution. We have not seen any customers, certainly none that I have met with, moving to 100 percent virtualized. They will still have a large physical environment, and then they could again manage that from one solution as opposed to using point solutions.

We have also seen enterprises start to move the management of snapshots from replication into the actual backups. Our partnership with NetApp, that we will be extending over time towards other storage vendors, as part of our open storage program, is key in terms of again providing one “manager of managers”, one centralized management for physical, virtual, snapshots and replication.

Jerome:  Can you discuss some early successes you have seen?

Simon:   The reaction from the 4000+ customers we have had participate in our beta and first availability programs for our Backup Exec 2012 and NetBackup 7.5 releases has been extremely positive.

We have seen a number of successes around our physical-plus-virtual message and customers aligning to one solution, be it with Backup Exec or NetBackup.

From my focus area with NetBackup on the unification of traditional backup with snapshots and replication, it is still early, but we have had a number of customers that are already looking to deploy who are already big users of NetApp and NetBackup together. They see the benefit of streamlining on one management solution, rather than managing the two separately.

We are working very closely with NetApp in terms of bringing our replication director, the unification of snapshots, and the backup solution to the table. We know there is at least a 50 percent overlap in terms of customers that use snapshots with NetApp, and who also use NetBackup.  So there is a great opportunity for customers to streamline their operations by moving to a single point management solution.

Jerome:  Are you also looking to manage replication?

Simon: We are. The integration that we have manages both snapshots and replication, from when the snapshot happens, to the replica of that snapshot, any replication of that data, and also if you wanted the vaulting of that data to be written out to tape itself.

In Part 1 of my two-part blog series with Symantec’s Senior Director of Product Management, Simon Jelley, we discussed how customers can achieve an 80% reduction in backup OPEX costs.

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