Symantec has unveiled a disk-to-disk data backup system that makes it easier for organizations to protect Windows desktop machines.
The new product, called LiveState Recovery Manager 3.0 to align the version number with LiveState Recovery, is based on Symantec Corp.s disk-based system recovery product for enterprise servers and workstations.
LiveState Recovery Manager allows IT administrators to centrally monitor, deploy and configure backup status on remote systems, quickly resolve problems via centralized access to detailed storage, and automatically download and install maintenance updates.
The product also enhances information availability by consolidating view of enterprise-wide backups, provides detailed storage information, and has the unique ability to remotely verify backup integrity, said Steve Fairbanks, director of product management for enterprise administration at the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.
“Think of it as being between mirroring and backup,” said Jon Oltsik, senior analyst for information security at Enterprise Strategy Group of Milford, Mass. “There are expensive remote mirroring packages that do mirroring on a transaction by transaction basis, and there is backup you might do once a day. With this you can schedule incremental backups on an hourly basis if you want.”
Because the product relies on disk-to-disk backup, it is able to back up a system image as a file. And because its a complete system image that includes applications, registry settings, anti-virus updates and other up-to-the-minute settings, it allows an administrator to quickly perform a full system restore. In the case of a file restore, users can still mount the volume as a file and find that file because its all stored on disk.
“Its a good strategy for desktop backup, because its efficient and doesnt use a lot of bandwidth,” Oltsik said. Its also cost-effective, he noted, “because you can take old servers as disks and use them as your LiveState server, and thats good enough.”
One of LiveState Recovery Managers most important functions is acting as a centralized policy engine for managing remote locations, Fairbanks said. The product can monitor thousands of remote systems from a central console, remotely verify backup integrity, and facilitate rapid recovery of remote systems.
With its remote location features, system administrators can set policies that specify how the system should back up systems when they connect to the network and instruct the system to back up confidential data every time users log on. Administrators also can specify bandwidth parameters, preventing the system from using too much of the networks bandwidth.
LiveState Recovery Manager also eases regulatory compliance, Fairbanks noted, because the system auto-discovers systems that arent backed up regularly, provides graphical views of backup status, and consolidates audit history information.
Symantec also has integrated some of its security capabilities into the product. If any of Symantecs security products detect a specific threat, for example, the system will initiate an immediate backup or alert an administrator to start a backup.
But the most important feature of all, Oltsik believes, is ease of use, because it will encourage companies to back up desktop machines. His assertion is backed up by the latest ESG research, which notes that only about 50 percent of companies back up desktop machines with any regularity.
“Given regulatory issues, security issues and the mobility of users today, they need to back up desktops but are struggling with how to do that in an operationally efficient way,” Oltsik said. LiveState Recovery Manager helps companies achieve that goal, he said.
The next logical step, Oltsik said, is to add the capabilities of LiveState Recovery Manager to applicable Veritas Software Corp. products.
“Ultimately, its about establishing layers of protection for data. You may back up some of your data to disk for rapid restore and other data to tape. Its about tiering that hierarchy,” he said.