This article is part of a series about my experience during my trial of Backup Exec 11d and Continuous Protection Server (CPS), Symantec's CDP tools. I will discuss CPS, how Backup Exec and CPS interact, and how continuous protection of Microsoft Exchange works. Today, I will start with CPS.
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You can only buy CPS together with Backup Exec 11d, but CPS is an independent CDP tool that also works without Backup Exec. This means, you have to install both tools separately and deploy two different agents.
The Push Install CPS Components Wizard allows you deploy the CPS agent together with the Backup Exec agent for Windows servers. You can also use it to install the CPS Administration Console. This way you can manage CPS from every server where you installed its agent.
CPS uses Windows folders as backup destinations. So you don't have to reserve a complete volume like in Microsoft's DPM. However, you can only create one backup destination on a logical drive. It is interesting to note, however, that CPS doesn't reserve space for a backup destination. Thus, you always have to keep an eye on the space available. Backup destinations can be accessed on all CPS systems in your network, i.e. you can configure a backup job on one server and use the backup destination of another CPS.
It is possible to use the same backup destination for multiple backup jobs. Backup jobs run according to a schedule, like in conventional backup tools, or continuously. The latter option is its default setting. The filter driver of the CPS agent captures the changed bytes whenever an application saves a file to disk. Only these changes will be copied to the backup destination after the first full backup.
Sysops restore data using the CPS Administration console. Users can restore their files with the so-called Backup Exec Retrieve web interface. Backup Exec Retrieve is optimized for Internet Explorer 6, but the manual says that other Web browsers work, too. I wonder if you get support if you use another browser.
Since CPS secures files continuously, you can always restore the latest version of a file. It is possible to restore older versions, however, you can't restore a file to a state on an arbitrary point in time. More sophisticated CDP tools have this feature. CPS creates snapshots of the back-up data according to its configured schedule. The shortest interval between snapshots is an hour. Hence, you have the latest version of a certain file plus the versions of the hourly snapshots.
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In the next post of this series I will explain how Symantec Backup 11d interacts with CPS.