This article originally appeared in TechRepublic’s Enterprise Storage Space e-newsletter.
In March 2003, Veritas released a Feature Pack for NetBackup 4.5. To help you decide whether it’s worth the cost, here's a brief look at the enhancements that are included in this software package.
One of Feature Pack's main benefits is the ability to restore data from a local disk. This point-in-time snapshot rollback is similar to Network Appliance's SnapCopy. When data is written to the hard disk, it's also written to a transaction log. By using the transaction log, you can restore back to any transaction that was written to a disk. With NetBackup 4.5, this is possible only when you're running the Veritas file system—on UNIX servers—to capture the transactions written to the disk. You can now manage the transaction log to move your system back in time to the last known good configuration, without using a tape restore and decreasing the system's recovery time.
Another benefit of the Feature Pack is that there's better support for Exchange mailboxes. The enhanced Exchange client now integrates more smoothly with Exchange 2000 and 2003. It also has the intelligence to back up only one copy of an attachment throughout the organization and not per mailbox.
In addition, the Feature Pack allows you to use Global Data Manager to manage Backup Exec clients. According to a rumor I recently heard, there won't be a release after Backup Exec 9.0, so NetBackup may someday become the only storage solution for disaster recovery. This is hard to believe, considering that Backup Exec is the best fit for two or three servers, not to mention the fact that NetBackup requires a stand-alone media server just to complete a backup. Perhaps the version following Backup Exec 9.0 will be NetBackup Lite. Whatever is in store, the upgrade shouldn't be too difficult.
The backup marketplace
Veritas owns more than 50 percent of the backup market today, mostly due to the success of Backup Exec for NT and NetBackup in the UNIX world. With a bagful of storage acronyms listed on its spec sheet, including SAN, NAS, and NDMP, it's now trying to move NetBackup into the NT world and leave Backup Exec behind. However, there are products from Arkeia, Computer Associates, and Legato that are more cost-effective and easier to install and manage. NetBackup already comes with a hefty price tag, and the Feature Pack costs an additional $5,000 for NT or $10,000 for UNIX.
If you have NetBackup but don't purchase the Feature Pack, Veritas may very well require it with its next release. Personally, I don’t see the value in this add-on because these features should be included with the original product to compete with other products that are already on the market. If you're considering a NetBackup installation, make sure you get the Feature Pack as part of your initial rollout.
We want your feedback
Tell us what you think about Dave Mays' column concerning Veritas' NetBackup 4.5 Feature Pack. If you've already purchased the Feature Pack, is it worth the cost? Perhaps you're using an alternative that you think will benefit your IT peers. Share your comments in our discussion forum or send us an e-mail.