NetBackup Gains Speed, Strength

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-10-06

NetBackup Gains Speed, Strength

Veritas Software Corp. is planning to pump up enterprise backup with an upgrade that offers improved speed, capacity and capability.

The company in January will ship NetBackup 5.0, an upgrade to Version 4.5 that according to sources includes security features that will eventually link to other Veritas applications.

NetBackup 5.0 will come in two versions: Server, for single host/media, and Enterprise Server, for multiple host/media needs, according to users who were briefed on the product. The two-pronged strategy should help clear up customer confusion that came with NetBackup 4.5, which shipped in the spring of 2002 and was offered in three versions: Professional, BusinesServer and DataCenter.

A major new feature of Version 5.0 is Checkpoint-Restart for Backups. The feature puts boundaries around files, but not in files, to allow for automatic resumption if a backup is interrupted or fails. NetBackup 5.0 will support file sizes of 64 terabytes, with 2 million terabytes (2 exabytes) per backup, on tapes of up to 4 terabytes, compared with the prior specifications of 1 terabyte, 1 terabyte and 2 terabytes, respectively, in NetBackup 4.5.

Disk staging before data is moved to tapes, a trend gaining popularity, will also be supported. Synthetic backups are new as well, so users can create a full backup from previous incremental sets, resulting in faster restores.

Checkpoints and the new file sizes are especially appealing, said Mark Donaldson, senior systems engineer at Experian Information Solutions Inc. Donaldson learned about NetBackup 5.0 at a recent Veritas sales seminar in Denver.

"Some of this stuff is going to be a godsend," said Donaldson, also in Denver. "I have problems now where I cant back up one file system because its too big, so I have to break it up," which is "a major maintenance hassle," he said.

Regarding disk staging, "a lot of us have learned to home-grow this," Donaldson said. At Experian, "we call it Franken-array; its assembled out of our spare-part bin," he said. Experian will upgrade to Version 5.0 as soon as possible, he added.

Next page: A money-saver too?

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NetBackup 5.0s security allows six access roles: user, operator, media and device operator, administrator, security administrator, and executive, plus custom-defined roles. A new, free option is Veritas Security Subsystem, which will ship separately and will eventually be integrated with the majority of Veritas software, not just NetBackup.

In addition to saving time and effort, users may save money, as features such as Inline Tape Copy will be standard, sources said. However, other new features will cost extra, they said.

Still other features are support for 64-bit servers, intelligent media containers in the Vault option, improved event logging, more clustering integration, data reporting to Iron Mountain Inc.s SecureBase and support for Microsoft Corp.s SharePoint Portal Server. NetBackup 5.0 can natively read tapes from the midrange Backup Exec; it also integrates with Veritas File System 4.0 and Volume Manager 4.0 and with the new SANPoint Control 3.6, announced this week.

Some users said the improved clients are vital to upgrade plans. The current Red Hat Inc. Red Hat Linux support is "buggy," a user at a New England pharmaceuticals company said. In addition, "we get the most failures from the [Microsoft Corp.] Windows side, and without extensive reporting enabled, its often difficult to trace the problem," he said.

Despite posting of the product details on Veritas corporate Web sites, company officials declined to comment about NetBackup 5.0.

Veritas is accepting beta registrations now.

NetBackup 5.0 highlights

  • Auto-resumption of failed backups

  • New security application

  • Faster restoration via synthetic backups

  • Consolidated GUI and help

  • Disk-to-tape staging

  • Easier licensing

  • Rocket Fuel