BESR 8.5 What’s New:

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 may just be what the doctored ordered for solution providers looking to serve the disaster recovery and business continuity markets.

For administrators looking for fast system recovery following a disaster, two new capabilities of the product really stand out; the physical to virtual conversion capabilities and the Offsite Backup Copy feature.

The Physical to Virtual conversion capability allows administrators to automate and schedule a process that converts physical recovery points (backups) to VMDK or VHD files that are compatible with either Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology or VMware’s ESX servers. That allows administrators to create "warm failover" environments.

Simply put, if the physical server fails, a virtual version of that server can be booted quickly using the converted virtual drive. The advantages of using a virtual replacement server include support for a variety of hardware platforms, portability of the data and immediate system recovery.

Each of those advantages is fueled by the fact that Backup Exec can automatically store the converted system virtual hard disk to a remote virtual server, eliminating the need to copy or transfer the virtual disk from one system to another.

BESR's off-site backup copy feature adds another layer of protection for those sites building a disaster recovery plan. Off-site backup copy allows administrators to define remote storage points that can then be accessed automatically during the backup process.

While the off-site backup does handle the prerequisite external and remote hard drives, solution providers will find the addition of FTP support most interesting. A solution provider can set up a secure FTP server at a remote location and have Backup Exec use that remote FTP server as a storage device.

Even more intriguing is how solution providers can choose to host the FTP server and then offer storage space as a service for a monthly fee. That enables a company to meet offsite storage needs without having to invest in additional hardware. It also locates critical backup data at a solution provider’s facilities, where that data could be restored to a server and then sent out to replace a failed unit, perhaps smoothing the disaster recovery process and saving time.

Of course, it is no coincidence that Symantec is now touting its hosted storage solution, named "Symantec Online Storage for Backup Exec," and solution providers will need to keep that in mind when offering hosted storage to their customers. Solution providers will need to build up the benefits associated with their own storage services, such as fast recovery, to compete with Symantec’s own solution, or choose to resell Symantec’s services. Either way, there is still an opportunity for a solution provider to garner ongoing revenue from Backup Exec.

While backup and recovery is truly the realm of Backup Exec System Recovery, there are some additional features that create additional opportunities. The product now supports a pre-boot backup environment, which allows administrators to back up a system hard drive, without booting up the OS. That feature will lend itself well to data forensics, e-discovery and other auditing or investigative tasks.

The pre-boot backup environment proves handy when it comes to fixing a system or recovering data from a crashed system. Administrators can use the feature to backup the subject system, then access the backup set to retrieve important files granularly. For businesses that need to meet compliance requirements, the mix of new features will surely come in handy. The ability to perform offsite backups, backup virtual servers, convert physical servers to virtual servers and back up "locked down" systems via the agent-less pre-boot capability all help businesses to meet several goals set by compliance requirements.


Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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