Recommandation for a backup product

Hi guys,

One of our customer wants to purchase a backup software with the following capabilities:

The back-up solution must ensure:
•         An easy installation and configuration by using certain process dedicated wizards;
•         The intuitive graphical interface for administrating operations; this must be able to interface with CLI (command line interface) for customized jobs.
•         All the back-up/restoration models (full, incremental, differential) as well as a consolidating function of the incremental back-ups.
•         A modular architecture to ensure its development in time, by adding new components. These must be easily integrated so the result to be the extension of their functions.
•         The solution should allow a high level of scale capacity.
•         The solution should offer a high flexibility within the licensing model:
•         Standard licensing on the server, clients, devices, modules, etc.;
•         Volume licensing of the data to be protected.
•         The solution must allow the usage of bands libraries and, for this purpose, a compatibility list should be presented.
•         The solution will provide back-up solutions type disk-to-disk (VTL or other technology).
•         The solution will provide advanced and configurable mechanisms of data compression.
•         The proposed solution must have available an elimination function of the data redundancy (duplication). The duplication should preferable be in off-line mode (configurable outside the back-up line) and at a maximum level of its efficiency – bit/variable block.
•         The solution must ensure SAN efficiency usage scenarios and for the interface with Network Attached Storage, as well as NDMP compatibility (Network Data Management Protocol). The user must have the capacity to initiate a compression process of the data transfer within the network.
•         The back-up solution must ensure the encoding of certain jobs, the user can select. The encoding will be carried out according to the following standards: CAST-128, AES-256 and CAST-256.
•         The solution will take into consideration the optimization and decrease of the back-up windows, through automation, planning and execution specific techniques, for the necessary tasks.
•         The solution must ensure specific back-up functions for all types of information: statistics, critical data and information.
•         The solution must generate reports regarding the saving/repair operations;
•         The back-up solution will have specialized back-up/recovery modules Bare Metal of Linux or Windows servers. The back-up process must be executed in a transparent way for the user, without requiring shutting-off the servers (hot/live back-up).
•         The solution will allow duplication for the disaster recovery type events, at the job level.
•         The solution will ensure dedicated modules for protecting the virtual infrastructure (VMWare and HyperV).
For the working stations containing critical data for the company, a protection solution will be presented that will be integrated in the back-up solution. The system must allow creating versions of the protected files on the working station during the retention period. The recovery of the information on the working stations must minimize the administrators interventions and to facilitate this action to the final user.
The total data volume which needs to be protected by the proposed solution is about 7 TB.

Now, since we're not sure how many end-points will be backed-up with this software, we must have a solution which is robust enough (which can comply with all the customer needs) yet in terms of price/performance will make sense and will be modular (per-agent, per TB etc...).

Huge Thanks in advance
Who is Participating?
Duncan MeyersConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You're probably best off with Data Protector. Much as I dislike the product, it has enterprise features that Backup Exec and Arcserve lack.

Before you make a final decision, make sure you cost out the total backup solution, not just the software. You have to make sure you get the number of backup devices right (tapes or disk), network connectivity (server and core/edge switching), backup media servers spec'd appropriately and so on.

Here's an example to get you thinking about what you might need:
You have 10TB to back up
Your backup window is prbably about 8 hours
That's 1.25TB per hour
If you're running LTO-6 tapes, they run at 160MB/sec flat-out, or 576GB/hr. That's if you can drive them that hard which is highly unlikely, so you'll probably need 4 tape drives.
Remember that for BackupExec and Arcserve, one backup device = one client, so that's a *maximum* of four concurrent backups. HP data protector lets you multi-stream, so you can run multiple clients at once, so you get better efficiency
For your network switching, 1Gb will give you a theoretical maximum of 360GB/her, but again, it's unlikely you can drive them that hard, so I use 180GB/hr per network port, so that's 7 ports in your media server and seven network ports. If you're runnign 10Gb, then a single 10Gb port in your server and switch will do the job. If you have big file servers or big database servers that you need to back up, you'll need to perform a similar calculation to make sure you can get the data out of the server
The backup master server needs to have reasonable disk performance behind it and plenty of RAM. Remember it's updating catalogues and doing other housekeeping tasks as your backups run, so a poorly configured master server can kill backup performance.
If  you're using software based deduplication, then you'll need a ton of RAM, plenty of processor grunt and disk performance behind the server doing the dedupe - a properly configured dedupe server in a CommVault environment, for example, will set you back around $25 - $30K.

So plenty you've got to think about besides the backup software bottom line. Bear in mind that most people selling the backup software don't know or don't care about getting the rest of the environment right, so that's up to you - unless you've hired a backup specialist or integrator that *really* knows their beans. And their rare, because backup isn't glamorous and is typically poorly understood. You should consider an appropriately sized dedupe appliance like EMC DataDomain, Quantum DXi or HP StorSomething-or-other as this is often a more economical way of building your backup environment than building your software based dedupe properly to the point that it works.

Bottom like is that the true cost of your backup environment could be 100% greater  or more than the cost of the software licenses
Iradat SiddiquiCommented:
IBM Tivoli is the best option and somewhat expensive. 

If you are looking for a comparing inexpensive solutions I prefer Symantec  Backup Exec , you can even try for a 60 days trial of the same from the below link.
We use backup exec and is a very good product. Check out the Vray edition
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How about EMC Networker?
Or Symantec Netbackup
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
other Backup Products to consider also

AppAssure - Number 1 Backup and VMs and Cloud

Unitrends - a good vRecovery Backup Appliance.

Symantec Backup Exec V-Ray Edition - Unmatched backup and recovery designed for virtual and physical environments

VM Explorer - Simply, cost effective and it works.

Acronis Backup & Recovery® 11 Virtual Edition - simple but effective

StorageCraft ShadowProtect Server  - amazing but can be expensive

NAKIVO Backup & Replication for VMware - current testing proves very postiive

vBackup - in Beta
IT_Group1Author Commented:
Thanks you very much for the detailed responses!
Since there are so many alternatives, can you kindly assure me that a certain (1 or more) is fully compliant with the customer's needs?

BTW, all the jobs has to be managed via a unified console, so products with unique abilities for virtual environments which lacks physical backup abilities, are out of scope.

Thanks again
Iradat SiddiquiCommented:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would look at

Symantec, Unitrends and AppAsure.
Stay away from Symantec Backup Exec.
It is buggy and poorly supported.
The CEO lost his job because of it.

The Netbackup product is better supported,but is expensive.
From the list of requirements, it sounds like a serious project. You should call the different backup vendors and have each one come do a presentation on what their systems can each do.
No offense, but this comment of yours, "can you kindly assure me that a certain (1 or more) is fully compliant with the customer's needs?" says that you are not an internal employee trying to get help but you're consulting on some project. I suggest instead of searching web forums that you get additional professional help. Backup system vendors will be happy to send a sales rep to help.
Don't know how long you've been in the biz,but some of the most buggy,miserable code ever written,is backup software.

Only virus scan software programs can come any where close making ones IT life more lousy.

From experience,do not take the word of any sales person as gospel.

The list of horror stories about mainstream backup software is a very long one.

Been there ,done that.
IT_Group1Author Commented:
Thank you all.
magarity - I'm am an internal employee who's looking for advise from professionals like i did in the past. Sometime the vendors won't tell the whole story, and one can find himself rely on fancy PDF's and promises.

Currently our 2 alternatives are:
- CA ARCserve r16.5 - prices per-socket with all features and agents unlocked
- Symantec Backup Exec 2012 V-Ray Edition - which's also priced per-socket, and will backup both VM's and physical servers.

Is anyone experiencing with those products?

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We do not recommend CA or use their products any more, because we moved over to Symantec products since there purchase of Veritas many years ago.

We use Symantec Backup Exec 2012 V-Ray Edition, to backup physical and virtual servers, and if you want to use NDMP, you just purchase an Agent, which we use for our NetApp filers to backup SAN Snapshots.

but we also use NetBackup, in a multi-site, multi-OS enterprise environment.!

if you are using also in a Non-Windows environment, you may also want to consider Netbackup, as Backup Exec is designed around Windows.
Thomas RushConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Don't forget to take a look at HP's Data Protector ( ).
It seems to do everything in your list.  It's much less expensive than either Netbackup or Tivoli, and much less complicated to administer than Tivoli.  It has a solution for the backup admin's thorn-in-the-side, full backups that don't fit into your backup window.  it scales from a couple of servers to truly world-wide implementations (with optional Manager-of-Managers add-in).  At the link above, you can get white papers on various aspects, and download a free 60-day trial.
Duncan MeyersCommented:
Your capabilities list looks like it was written with CommVault Simpana in mind:

Excellent alternatives include Symantec NetBackup and EMC Networker

Symantec is also great if you like not knowing why jobs failed, and browsing support forums.  Many of my clients use it, its affordable, and works great approximately 80% of the time.
Thomas RushCommented:
> Symantec is also great if you like not knowing why jobs failed,
> and browsing support forums.  Many of my clients use it, its
> affordable, and works great approximately 80% of the time.

My nomination for Funniest Post of the Year on Experts-Exchange.
I'm sure Enrique Salem would have a chuckle.
IT_Group1Author Commented:
Ok guys,  we're at the finishing line.
I've received quotes (all for 10TB unlimited features/agents etc..) from:

1. Symantec BackupExec 2012 capacity ed
2. CA ARCserve r16.5 RPO Managed Capacity - ARCserve Backup and ARCserve D2D and ARCserve Replication-File Only
3. HP Data Protector 8.0 - Capacity-Based License  

Symantec BE is the cheapest of the gang, while CA is in the middle and HP DP is the most expensive.
Which tool would you recommand for 10TB unlimited backup with the above customer spec?

Thanks in advance
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If budget is an issue - Symantec BackupExec 2012 otherwise HP Data Protector 8.0 - Capacity-Based License  (but make sure you use it on HP equipment, otherwise you'll have fun with support trying to get to work with Overland equipment, which can be cheaper as well!)
Thomas RushCommented:
Meyersd's comments are spot on -- one of the most complete and understandable discussions of the issues that I've seen.   (Except that the HP dedupe appliances are properly called "StoreOnce"  :)  )

If your backup windows are an issue, Data Protector's Incremental Forever backup type is a life-saver; I don't believe BE or CA offer anything equivalent.
Duncan MeyersCommented:
Thanks!   :-)
IT_Group1Author Commented:
I actually pretty amazed how popular this topic became..
But now I have a different dilemma - how to split the points :) ?
I've used Backup Exec for years and I would avoid it like the plague.  Money is tight right now or I would have switched myself.  It is EXTREMELY buggy and the only advice they offer that consistently works is to completely uninstall and reinstall.  If you have time to do that monthly then it might work OK for you.
IT_Group1Author Commented:
Great post guys. I wish I had more points to spread.
Duncan MeyersCommented:
Thanks! Glad I could help.
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