BESR 8.5 What’s Old:

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.

Of course, Symantec has not eliminated any of the features that previous versions of BESR were known for. Purchasers (or upgraders) will still find features such as "Restore Anywhere," which allows a backup to be restored to dissimilar hardware, while eliminating most of the problems created by Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) changes.

Other returning features include the ability to create customized recovery disks, which can store all of the drivers and other custom information that is needed to restore a system from a backup. The idea here is to create a CD with all of the necessary drivers and a rudimentary OS that can boot a repaired system into a state where it is ready to restore the complete backup. That eliminates the tedious task of reinstalling an operating system and drivers before being able to restore the system from a backup.

Environments that are subject to frequent malware attacks will benefit from Symantec ThreatCon Integration – which uses a global "Threatcon"  rating (determined by Symantec) to trigger automatic backups. That could prove to be a life-saver during a rampant virus outbreak or coordinated malware infestation. Backup triggering is not only unique to Threatcon, administrators can also define numerous events that can trigger the creation of a restore point (backup event), ranging from detection of a new application installation, to the deployment of a patch or even based upon a physical event, such as a shutdown or reboot. Properly defining those triggers can help to alleviate some of the stress created by common system changes, allowing administrators to quickly roll back a system if the change misbehaves.

A major feature of the product, "Granular Restore," has been enhanced to support more Windows applications. Administrators can use that feature to restore esoteric items such as individual exchange e-mails, accounts or attachments. The granular capability extends to SharePoint and SQL server also, allowing selective restores to be done for troubleshooting, forensics or e-discovery tasks. Deployed properly, BESR 8.5 can be used as a replacement for expensive dedicated archiving utilities that are typically required by sites performing frequent e-discovery or auditing chores.

BESR offers a "lights-out" capability that can be used to remotely restore a failed system. Although a little complicated to set up and manage, the "lights-out" portion of the product allows a solution provider to access a system remotely and perform a complete restore, even if the system cannot boot to its native OS. A handy feature for solution providers looking to offer MSP-style solutions for disaster recovery.



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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