This past week, I had the pleasure of keynoting a series of technical lunch seminars throughout the Carolinas on the topic of data protection and Symantec Veritas NetBackup™ 7. More closely resembling working technical sessions, these seminars were attended by some 40-50 IT practitioners, all of whom are very active and up-to-date with their data protection strategies. They had come not only for the promise of fine steak and NY-style cheesecake, but to exchange ideas and thoughts on implementing NetBackup 7 to enhance data protection capabilities within their organizations. What we all pleasantly learned while expanding our waistlines, is that real-world experience upgrading to NetBackup 7.0 seems to be largely in line with the positive pre-release spin from Symantec.
Our attending IT practitioners were aligned in their interests in NetBackup 7 promises and prioritized them as:
- Improved ability to backup VMware or Hyper-V environments, particularly Vsphere4
- The advancement and enhancement of data de-duplication via the integration of Puredisk
- Improvements to the NetBackup platform to support disaster recovery, also through the integration of Puredisk
- Enhancements to reporting and management
Moving from the cordiality of hors d’ouevres to the more substantial main course, it became clear that these interests were not purely altruistic. Yes, the current Puredisk implementation in NetBackup 6 is not without its challenges, especially if the NetBackup and PDDO job schedulers overlap somewhat; yes, VMware Consolidated Backups via a proxy server are often a kludge requiring multiple steps to backup and recover data; and yes, oh yes, the upgrade from NetBackup 5.x to 6.x left some serious, residual scar tissue.
By the time we reached the dessert course, we had heard from several practitioners the good news: they had performed the NetBackup 7 upgrade already, some in production and some in lab environments. Without exception, it did go very smoothly, as promised. Not only that, the integration of NetBackup 7 wth VMware’s vSphere 4 vStorage API’s was reported to be a vast improvement over VCB, one that works very well indeed. At least one practitioner encouraged his peers to move to NetBackup 7.0 for this reason alone.
Finishing up over coffee, the discussion turned to what gaps still exist in the NetBackup 7 promise-sphere. True, Puredisk cannot yet do global data deduplication across separate Media Server de-duplication storage pools. And true, one cannot browse Linux VM backup images in the NetBackup browser…yet. But Symantec is highly attuned to these desires and hopes to address many such needs in its forthcoming 7.0.1 release, sometime midyear.
The real takeaway, besides a few unwanted pounds, is that real world IT shops are quickly realizing the promises of NetBackup 7 features and functionality. Whether you are an internal IT shop or a managed services provider using NetBackup 6, there are compelling reasons to make the move today. The proof is in the cheesecake.
Chief Technology Officer