Making remote backup too easy to refuse

According to industry statistics, only 4% of users are actually backing up data stored on their laptops. That's pretty risky given the fact that between 60% to 80% of corporate data resides remotely from the main server. Do we even want to talk about how great the chances are of having a laptop stolen? Why then, do so many users put their critical data at risk? Many users say backing up from remote locations is one more thing to have to think about--and, it takes too much time.

Veritas Software Corp., Mountain View, Calif., announced this week a backup tool designed to protect data stored on mobile laptops that is faster, more efficient and transparent to the user.

Veritas Product Management Engineer, Patrick LaPorte and Andy Honl, senior product manager talked to about their mobile backup solution, NetBackup Professional, and explained why making backup easier will make backup happen.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM: Why have a separate backup system for mobile laptops? Isn't backing up periodically when connected to the network good enough?

LaPorte: Users traveling with a laptop can't be connected to the file server 24 hours a day. And, when they are, that traditionally means backing up files remotely requiring backing up the client's entire system. They don't have the bandwidth to do that. Plus, if the user has to take the time to back up their data even periodically, history shows they won't do it.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM: Are you saying that data on laptops isn't being backed up?

LaPorte: According to analysts' estimates, only 4% of users backup with locally attached devices like tape back up. Analysts also say that between 60% to 80% of corporate data resides remotely from the main server. What that means really, is that 60% to 80% of a company's critical data is on laptops that are not being backed up and therefore, at serious risk. That's pretty significant. Even more so when you consider that there's roughly a 7% failure rate for notebook computers. And, there's a strong chance of your laptop being stolen. That puts the data even further at risk.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM: How does your product address the difficulties in backing up data remotely? What does your product do that other products don't do?

LaPorte: The other solutions use, for the most part, incremental backup solutions - a traditional, brut force method of backup. These solutions determine if a file has changed and then back it up. The only problem is that it backs up the entire file. Even if you've only changed five megabytes, when you send it across the wire, it'll take the entire file, which takes time and consumes a lot of bandwidth.

Our product only sends the changed data, not the entire file. This cuts down on the amount of data that needs to transfer, the time and cuts down on the amount of storage required. The power of this solution is incredible. It can backup a remote system without bringing your network to its knees. It's very efficient. It's very powerful.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM: How is NetBackup deployed?

LaPorte: Once we have deployed a server, we install a client agent on each of the mobile systems. It can be done without the user even knowing it. It takes less than five minutes. Once it's installed on a client's system the user or administrator can schedule operations once an hour, once a week, whatever.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM: If I work remotely, how can the client agent be installed?

LaPorte: A number of different ways--through the Internet, floppy disk or an administrator can install it. Depending on the skill level of the user or the preference of the administrator.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM:How do I get my data back?

LaPorte: Our solution is integrated with Windows Explorer. Users just have to click on "My Backup", locate the file and then select restore. Then the file is restored. It's that simple. You can do that in an airport, whatever.

The big advantage is that users don't need to call an IT guy to get the file back. This lowers the cost of ownership and empowers the clients to do their own work.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM: If users aren't backing up their systems now, why will they with your product?

LaPorte: They don't have to do anything. It's transparent to the user.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM: What's the market potential for mobile systems data backup?

LaPorte: Currently, the revenue for mobile storage solutions is $60 million and is expected to reach $132 million by 2003. Over the next three years, analysts predict that there will be 150 million machines purchased. Fifty percent will be laptops.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM: Who are your competitors?

LaPorte: Our key competitor in this market is Connected Corporation. Their product was focused on the Internet market, protecting home users. There was very little administrative control. They've been trying to shoehole into the corporate environment.

SEARCHSTORAGE.COM:What are the specific upgrades?

Honl: The new features include alert and monitoring capabilities, centralized management console for multiple servers, Web-based administration console and extended-report capabilities. We've given it the ability to let administrators schedule, manage and monitor backup and recovery from a central location. They can easily prioritize and balance backup workload within an individual sever and across multiple servers.

LaPorte: NetBackup also allows the user to backup and restore via a CD restore tool. The user can recover the entire machine including OS, favorites, data, etc. from a CD. More often you will restore files by using My Backup with NetBackup. This solution allows you to restore your entire machine if it becomes lost or stolen or whatever. It allows you to get back really fast. We've also have a "Point-in-Time" restore feature that allows an administrator to restore data at any particular time. This is particularly useful if the files have been corrupted, the user can go back and restore the data to a point before the files were corrupted. All a user has to do is call IT, select a point in time restore and your machine will be reset to show data as it was on that date and time.

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