From its origins, the protection of information in companies has been a fundamental requirement, since the consequences of losing it may directly affect the functionality and operation of an organization.
This protection goes beyond equipment and technology resources, and includes documents, manuals and writings, legal, operational, technical and others, and usually makes up a company’s entire digital platform.
In terms of technology, this not only covers the use of a tool to perform the backups, but the application of and compliance with standards and recommendations (in terms of security, protection and physical provision) for users to follow for the protection and assurance of data.
These solutions can be as simple as those provided by the tools of the computers and servers operating systems’, which may allow copying the information in storage devices. These tools should preferably have adequate security and protection measures; and those that are more complex and elaborate (for example those that keep the information backed up in varied devices and in different places) should be easy to administrate and guarantee the integrity of the volumes that contain the backups.
Similarly, many manufacturers of storage solutions and servers have developed their applications for backup and included them as an additional element of their capabilities. This is one contributory reason why some ‘legacy’ backup solutions became proprietary and expensive over time.
Over the years and due to the appearance of new technologies, approaches, models and paradigms, new products and applications appeared, focused mainly on providing secure and reliable backup of information and data in organizations.
One of these backup software products is Veritas NetBackup (formerly Symantec NetBackup, now from Veritas Technologies), which allows users to manage and configure backups to and from different platforms, such as virtual, physical and cloud environments. It can be used with common storage devices, such as disk, tape and the cloud, all from a centralized administration and configuration console.
Among the features that Veritas NetBackup from Veritas technologies has are:
- Backup of equipment and servers to different types of storage.
- Backup and recovery of virtual machines.
- Handling snapshots and archiving.
- Implementation of deduplication algorithms for the execution of backups.
- Integrated bare metal recovery.
- Cipher and encryption of backups and data volumes.
- Use of Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) in cases of having the appropriate hardware.
- Support for backup to cloud.
- Functionalities for implementation in disaster recovery environments.
- Centralized console for administration and configuration of jobs and backup policies in companies.
Over time, the emergence of new trends and technologies such as open source, together with a reduction in hardware and storage costs has encouraged the appearance of Veritas competitors applications with similar or even more functionalities. Additionally, these technologies are easily integrated to those already established, both in the backup area (snapshot, deduplication, NDMP, bare metal, virtual machines, disaster recovery, among others) and in hardware and storage (NAS, SAN, cloud, etc.).
Among the properties and characteristics presented by Veritas competitors, which have made possible their growth and diversification are:
- Simple and friendly administration, which offers operation and administration functionalities to users with different levels of expertise in the technology, for example a management or analytics user typically does not handle the same terms and concepts as the platform backup administrator of the organization.
- Reliability to guarantee that the activities executed during the management of the backup are performed in an integrated and complete manner, without loss or inconsistencies in the data and information.
- Adaptability to heterogeneous operation environments: this includes servers, storage devices, local and remote resources, etc. Alternative competitor solutions to Veritas should take advantage of all existing resources in a company, and use them according to its needs and requirements.
- Ability to grow in conjunction with the company, adapting to the new requirements of information and operation of the processes, as well as those generated by users.
- Easy integration to the technology platform of the organization, such as network operation features, notification notifications and repositories of management information, among others.
- The possibility of making backups of different levels that readily accommodate the policies and operational needs of a company. Besides its traditional competitors, Veritas alternative should create and make use of new technical and management approaches in it departments that further optimize the configuration and execution of backups.
- Streamlining the configuration activities of the different levels of backups in the organization, not only at the moment of their creation, but as changes occur due to new requirements or some adjustment in the operation and execution of the same. Although it is an activity commonly used in backup solutions, Veritas competitors should facilitate both their configuration and their implementation into a production environment.
- Feasibility to store historical backup data in different repositories in an easily accessible manner with appropriate levels of security and access, so that it can be used for various purposes, such as:
- Restoring data and information.
- Meeting legal regulations.
- Compliance with standards, such as ISO, or operational methodologies, such as ITIL, or some other legal or management instrument.
- The access and use of backup data repositories, through various tools and utilities, allows this information to be used in companies for different activities and with varied and specific objectives, such as data management, capacity planning, functional indicators and balance scorecards, among others.
- Integration and use in mobile devices; not only for the revision of notifications and monitoring of the backup solution, but also to facilitate proactive management that allows streamlining of processes.
- Ease of use and management of resources in the cloud. Although Veritas NetBackup supports the use of the cloud as a destination of backups in different environments including hybrids, some Veritas competitors allow especially advanced cloud backup and recovery management abilities. The use of containers is another available option.
Consequently, although Veritas NetBackup and its competitors share many functions in terms of configuration, administration and operation, there are differences that distinguish the latter which has encouraged their increased use today. Among these are:
- Use of open source as an emerging technology, which allows not only access to state-of-the-art technology in constant growth, but also to be part of a community committed to participate and be part of projects, especially when these are oriented to offer solutions to diverse needs. There is typically an active and relevant engineering road-map, as well as proposing new ideas and improvement in functionality. Access to source code is often possible, an element that is highly re-assuring to some organizations that need to know exactly what they are using.
- Cost savings in terms of defining and using the elements that make up the backup solution, such as those that control and manage resources and storage devices, both local and remote. A clear example would be the availability of subscription-based licensing, and not charging the users by data volume. These modern approaches can have an extremely beneficial effect to companies regarding cost savings.
- The existence of multiple management tools and data repositories for managing an organization’s data backup. It is worth mentioning at this point that some applications use databases from a number of different manufacturers as data repositories, such as SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, etc., known as catalogs, which can be managed using their own utilities.
- Simpler growth according to the requirements and needs of the company, derived from the companies’ operating processes or their users.
- More simple estimation of resources, not only in the technology but also for the different organizational processes of planning and management.
- Although mentioned before, the use of resources in the cloud has undoubtedly allowed Veritas competitors to emerge, due to the multiple functionalities and benefits it offers, such as:
- Storage of the volumes that contain the backups in remote sites, configured mostly in environments of high availability and redundancy.
- Different providers to choose from among those offering cloud storage services, such as Amazon and Azure, and those that offer their solutions online in specific platforms managed by themselves.
- Access from different sites and places and from any platform.
- More adaptability and openness to agility in the operation and information requirements of organizations.
- The measurement of resources used considering the disk space used, facilitating with this the estimation of costs that allow better resource planning of information technologies, also known as capacity planning.
- A shared and safe environment
- Encryption of the data, both in the process of copying the information, as well as in the volumes that contain the backups of the computers and servers.
- Savings in operation and maintenance costs, in terms of technology management.
- Scheme for the management of the licenses in a simpler and less complicated way. This is often with the higher levels of quality and support regarding the attention and response time to clients, in the case of a professional open source based solution. In case of using a pure open source solution, the support and the help of a wide community constitutes the fundamental reference, and in the majority of cases helps in the identification of bugs and offers suggestions and new recommendations that generally, are adapted for future versions or releases.
In such a diverse scenario, it is not difficult to suppose that Veritas alternative applications will continue to emerge and those that exist will maintain their tendency to grow, making use of existing technological resources and new ones that are incorporated, especially in relation to:
- Cloud storage solutions.
- Improvements in the performance of tools such as Deduplication, and their architecture and management. Improvements and creation of new algorithms for encryption and protection of the information and the transmission channel, both for local and/or remote localities.
- Implementation of new methodologies for the execution of backups that optimize the use of resources, for storage, CPU, bandwidth, etc., and reduce the execution times of backup and recovery operations in companies.
- Implementation of hybrid environments in organizations, not only for the daily execution of operations but also for more freedom in the execution of projects, such as massive data migrations, environments for disaster recovery, alternate data centers, among others.
Bacula Enterprise Edition as a Veritas alternative which allows companies to significantly save costs especially in the implementation, operation and support of backup and recovery management. This is achieved using the latest technologies available combined with particularly stable code, and no charges based on data volume. Its subscription based licensing also ensures support quality which is one of the highest in the industry.