First ImpressionsBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2008-06-03 Email Print
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New Symantec Protection Network aims to transform fat backup clients into thin-client, Web-based, e-vault hosted storage solutions.
Our first impression (after creating a user and system account) is that the portal seems very slow, especially when compared to traditional fat client backup agents or backup application software. The slow speed of the portal becomes apparent once you begin browsing for files to tag from your backup source. The file browser uses a split pane approach with the folders on the left of the divider and the files on the right. One big nit to pick is when you drill down in the files pane there is no "up arrow" to return to the parent folder. That forces users to find the original folder by navigating through the folder view pane. In short, navigating the portal interface can be a pain!
For our initial backup test, we selected 3.2GB of data in 69 files. The selected files and amount of data was based upon actual and typical usage for one of Furey’s staffers. The time to complete the backup was hard to judge, as that portal offers no real-time monitoring of file transfer, job progress or projected estimate of a job runtime estimate! Here a performance gauge would be a welcome, if not expected, feature! The only way to check on the progress of a job is to manually refresh the screen using a "Refresh Screen" link, but until a fair amount of data is transferred to the portal, the refresh only offered useless statistics and estimates.
On the plus side, the product did back up all of our test files and was able to restore those files without any issues. The data is effectively protected via encryption and is located at a secure data center, which should meet the needs of most any user, even those driven by compliance requirements.
Even though it is far from perfect, Symantec’s use of a Web portal is a welcome enhancement to hosted backup services. The ability to manage and execute backup jobs from most anywhere using a Web browser will serve administrators and solution providers quite well by decoupling backup management from the desktop. Add to that the integration capabilities offered with Backup Exec, SPN becomes a worthwhile consideration for those looking to add offsite backup capabilities to a traditional backup application.
If Symantec can overcome some of the operational problems, such as a slow portal and lethargic navigation, SPN could become real competition for some of the well-established SAAS storage vendors on the market.
EDITORS NOTE: This story was edited to include updated pricing from the vendor.
Christopher A. Furey, managing director of Imaginamics, contributed to this story:
Imaginamics specializes in helping MSPs and IT service providers minimize their operational risk and increase their recurring revenue by focusing on areas like DR and Operational Assurance which are areas where most service providers fear to tread.