Veritas announces next version of NetBackup, EVault

Veritas Software on Tuesday released the latest version of its leading enterprise backup application, NetBackup, and unveiled several products it expects to release over the next 18 months -- including a continuous data protection application that will allow end users to restore their own files from any point in time.

At its annual user conference in San Francisco, Veritas told the almost 3,500 customers on hand that it has integrated NetBackup 6.0 with Network Appliance's NearStore disk array management interface and SnapLock archival software, creating a single management console for all three products. Veritas said it also has signed a joint support agreement with NetApp that allows either company to be the initial point of contact for service calls, no matter which vendor sold the product.

The joint products also support all major operating systems, enabling system recovery across heterogeneous server infrastructures.

LandAmerica Financial Group uses NetBackup and recently purchased several NetApp Fabric Attached Storage arrays for use in its three main data centers. Tom Lake, a network administrator at LandAmerica, said the joint support of products would be "huge" for him.

"The two vendors working together for a common good will make the administrator's role a lot easier," he said.

William Hurley, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said that while Veritas and NetApp's joint support and technology agreement isn't unique, they "have gone the extra distance" to make their product integration and support transparent.

"When you have that customer at the other end of the line saying, 'I need help,' do you act as one vendor or two?" said NetApp's CEO Dan Warmenhoven. "The goal is for us to act as one vendor."

Veritas said its upcoming version of Enterprise Vault, its e-mail and document management software, will also address personal files or .pst files by searching for those folders on a corporate network so that an administrator can consolidate and compress them in a centrally managed place.

Along with its upcoming product releases, Veritas said it's deploying a Google-like search and retrieval engine that will be available in Enterprise Vault 6.0, due out by July. That version will be the first upgrade to the application since Veritas acquired it with KVS last fall.

Mike Sherwood, CIO for the city of Oceanside, Calif., said the municipality's IT shop was an early adopter of Enterprise Vault and is beta-testing the latest version. He said he likes its ability to easily search and retrieve e-mails and attachments with "AltaVista-like" features.

"If you want to know every e-mail ever sent or received by the city with the word 'Project X,' for example, we're able to re-create that in a matter of minutes. It's a shopping-cart mentality. We type in what we want to search for with a name or date range, and it goes off and scans even attachments of Project Xs embedded in a Word document," Sherwood said.

Jeremy Burton, executive vice president of Veritas, also gave attendees a look at two products known internally as Panther and Bighorn that are currently under development and are expected to offer companies continuous data protection and incremental backup for remote offices. Those products are expected to be released in 2006.

Grant McDonald, a storage administrator at Petro-Canada in Calgary, said he's hoping the Panther continuous data-protection product "pans out. Being able to offload restores to the end users will be great."

Veritas' Panther software employs a continuous data-protection model that saves application changes as they occur at the bit level, time-stamping them and moving them off to disk to be stored. If a data restore is required, an end user can dial back to a file at any point in time.

Burton also said that by the first half of next year, Veritas would announce the availability of a new storage-area network (SAN) virtualization application, SAN Virtualization Manager, as part of its Storage Foundation 5.0 release. The software will be made to reside on an appliance outside the data stream and create a layer of abstraction between the application servers and back-end storage by mapping where data is stored for retrieval purposes without the servers knowing which physical box it's on.

Bighorn will work by placing software agents on application servers in remote offices. According to preset policies, the agents tell the servers when to back up data across the WAN. Because remote networks have limited bandwidth, Veritas plans on having the software break files into small bits to be transported across longer distances.

For example, if a 15MB PowerPoint file is positioned to be backed up, Bighorn will break the file up into 2KB increments in order to send it across a WAN, creating distinct signatures for each piece of the PowerPoint document. Bighorn software on a central backup server in the data center then reassembles the pieces for storage, ensuring that it only saves an identical document once.

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