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Backup exec: Time to grow up

New version of Backup Exec catches up with Windows growth.

As Windows servers grow in size and number, backup software designed for workgroup environments has had trouble keeping up. At least that's been the case for Veritas' Backup Exec, and it's a problem the company hopes it has solved with the introduction of version 10 last month.

Veritas customer Josh Bauer, a network administrator at Daymon Worldwide, Stamford, CT, says that by upgrading to version 10, he won't have to upgrade to an enterprise-class product like Veritas' NetBackup or EMC/Legato's NetWorker. Daymon is using Backup Exec 10 with the Desktop/Laptop option to protect approximately 20 servers and 300 desktops.

Arguably, the main enhancement in Backup Exec 10 is the Central Administration Server Option (CASO), a "manager of managers," says Peter Gerr, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). With CASO, you can define, distribute and report on jobs from a single console. It replaces Backup Exec 9's Admin Plus option, which "was kind of like the tip of the iceberg in terms of what people needed," says Pat Hanavan, Veritas' senior director of product management.

Other features include enhanced backup to disk and better scheduling. Customers can also buy Backup Exec as a suite that includes Replication Exec (formerly Veritas Storage Replicator) and Storage Exec (formerly Storage Central).

But for some users, these enhancements are too little, too late. Marty Scott, manager of network services for Arizona's Maricopa County, switched from Backup Exec to CommVault Galaxy when he realized Backup Exec "really wasn't an enterprise product, it's a workgroup product." His group saw a lot of backup jobs fail "for no good reason." Veritas tech support was spotty, and NetBackup was too pricey to justify, he adds.

But Gerr thinks the introduction of Backup Exec 10 shows that Veritas has "regained its focus." Even though companies such as BakBone and CommVault have gained a foothold in former Veritas accounts, "Veritas stands a good chance of regaining [ground]," he notes.

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