I just installed Symantec Backup Exec 11d and was somewhat surprised that there are no major changes to the core product, the good old backup tool that copies your files to tapes. Then, why did Symantec release a new version? The major changes come with Continuous Protection Server (CPS), which was originally planned as a stand-alone product. Since version 10d, CPS has become a component of Backup Exec. It seems that Symantec focuses now on Continuous Data Protection (CDP) . This raises the question, whether conventional backup tools will soon vanish from our server rooms.
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With "conventional backup tool", I mean, software that scans disks searching for files with a changed archive bit. Depending on the backup method, i.e. normal, differential or incremental, it will reset the archive bit after the files have been secured.
In a CDP system, you can forget about the archive bit, you don't have to worry about different backup methods and backup strategies like the famous grandfather-father-son strategy being replaced by new concepts.
When I first read about CDP systems, I was already convinced that this technology will sooner or later replace conventional backup systems. The fact that you always have an up-to-date copy of your data is already a killer feature. Moreover, you don't have to worry anymore about backup windows or overloaded servers during the backup process. Another advantage is that setting up a backup system is much easier.
There is no alternative to tape-based backups when it comes to long term archiving. This is where the good old Backup Exec comes in. The question is, whether you need such a complex tool like Backup Exec to copy the data of your CDP system to tapes. Maybe it makes more sense to integrate tape support in a CDP tool like Microsoft's DPM v2 .
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I'll test the Continuous Protection Sever of Backup Exec 11d these days and report about it here. I am seriously considering giving up Backup Exec and moving to Microsoft's Backup solution. So I am quite curious to know if Symantec's CDP solution is still better than Microsoft's DPM.