Symantec has introduced a new companywide business initiative called Storage United, designed to fix the root problems behind increasingly complex enterprise storage systems by working hand in hand with all hardware vendors.
The Storage United strategy, unveiled June 12 at the Symantec Vision partner-customer conference here, aims to enable even the largest, most diversified data center environments to unite their storage platforms, unite their isolated islands of storage administration and unite storage operations with the business by delivering storage as a service, said Kris Hagerman, director of Data Center Management for Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif.
"Were doing this by introducing a single layer of software—a software approach, rather than with hardware—that allows an enterprise to run this software and support everything it has in its storage environment, across the board," Hagerman said.
"Were talking about every operating system, every storage platform—to unite the administration by giving their administrators the ability not just to passively monitor but to actively manage it across their data center. Yes, we are [neutral like] Switzerland, in a way."
Laura Dubois, an analyst with IDC, noted that storage needs continue to grow at an alarming rate while available floor space, power and cooling, funding, and skilled staff are becoming "troublingly scarce."
A core element of Symantecs Storage United initiative is to provide a comprehensive layer of data protection, storage management and archiving software that supports every major server and storage system in the data center.
The first major product release designed specifically for this new initiative is Symantecs Veritas NetBackup 6.5, which became generally available June 12. It is the first major revision of the product since Version 6.0 was released in the fall of 2005.
Hagerman told eWEEK he believes Veritas NetBackup is the only platform that can unite next-generation data protection offerings—including tape, VTLs (virtual tape libraries), disk backup, data deduplication, CDP (continuous data protection), snapshots and replication—across all major vendors.
NetBackup 6.5 includes a host of new features and enhancements, including native disk-based backup, data deduplication, deep integration with intelligent backup appliances and VTLs, heterogeneous snapshot management, and granular recovery for critical applications and virtual machines, Hagerman said.
"Because Symantec has no hardware agenda, customers have control over their storage and server architectures and hardware purchases," he said.
NetBackup 6.5 features four new capabilities for disk-based data protection: Native data deduplication that can be used by the entire NetBackup environment, extending from desktops and laptops to remote office servers and to enterprise data centers; native disk backup capabilities, which allow pooling, sharing and backup over the SAN to a large pool of shared disk; deep integration with intelligent backup appliances and VTLs; and heterogeneous snapshot and CDP management.
"NetBackup 6.5 can even be set to do individual document backup and access," Hagerman said. "It can get as granular as it needs to be."
Another key feature in Version 6.5 is that it is equipped to back up virtual machine environments, Hagerman said.
The tool works with VMware VCB (VMware Consolidated Backup) to provide backup, granular file-level and image-level recovery from a single backup, and deduplication for VMware backups, Hagerman said.
"The trouble with backup for virtual machines is that you have to put a client on every single one of the virtual machines, [so] you get an enormous amount of overhead," Hagerman said. "What VMware has come out with is something called VCB, which allows any backup software to take a single image backup of an entire virtual machine."
The current release of NetBackup utilizes the features and functionality of VMware Consolidated Backup as part of an overall backup framework for VMware environments to help provide customers with a comprehensive data protection strategy, he said.
The tool also provides the foundation for delivering storage as a service, Hagerman said, because it allows organizations to gain visibility across the entire storage environment through one console, implement storage utilization improvement processes, create a storage operations practice and align storage service delivery to business requirements.
In addition to a broad set of technology and process best practices to support storage service management, Symantec also provides advanced business reporting capabilities that "empower enterprise storage teams to manage storage as a business, and to communicate with their business colleagues on the basis of costs and service levels rather than technology," Hagerman said.
NetBackup 6.5 also goes a step further by enabling a single image-level backup to deliver both full-image or granular file-level recovery, Hagerman said. Finally, VMware backups can be performed to tape or disk, and can apply the new PureDisk Deduplication Option for deduplication and replication of VMware backups.
"Data protection environments require rapid image and file-level recovery for growing data volumes," said Brian Byun, VMwares vice president of Global Partners and Solutions.
Pricing information for NetBackup 6.5 is available on the companys Web site.