Workgroup has announced the availability of a new version of Symantec's Backup Exec Windows data protection software that effectively changes the focus of the product from backup to recovery.

The latest edition, called Backup Exec 11d, offers CDP (continuous data protection) for Microsoft Exchange, allowing users to recover critical data within seconds.

So says Tyron Silk, pre-sales/technical manager: storage & security at Workgroup, who adds that this version allows IT users to get back individual Exchange messages, folders and mailboxes granularly, but without mailbox backup.

"Usually, getting that level of granular recovery down to a single item meant users had to do a full database backup and then a bulk mailbox backup. This way there is no mailbox backup, and Backup Exec 11d tracks the entire transaction log."

The cumbersome process of backing up to and restoring from tape was replaced with a streamlined backup/recovery process that happens continuously as users write to systems equipped with a continuous protection agent. This eliminates the concept of the 'backup window' and makes recovery easier.

The new edition also allows IT administrators to recover individual documents from Microsoft SharePoint and Active Directory components, as well as from SQL 2005 snapshots, via standard backup.

"Enabling this type of granular recovery is possible because of a new feature Symantec recently developed-the patent-pending Granular Recovery Technology, which allows users to perform standard backups while retrieving individual items," says Silk.

"Think of it as a reader," he explains. "It looks at the full backup and presents back to the user all of the things inside databases, especially SharePoint, Exchange and Active Directory. For SharePoint, it shows them individual documents, for Active Directory, all of the properties and users. Then it offers quick random access to get anything they want, instead of bringing everything back."

The newest version of Backup Exec also incorporates 128- and 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption.

Encryption is one of those things customers really want, but it can have a potential performance impact on their servers, says Silk.

"So, Symantec has given them the option. If they want to encrypt the data on their production servers or if they are backing up to disk, they can encrypt it on the media server before it goes to tape. It moves the encryption process away from impacting their servers."

He adds that some backup libraries, like Spectralogic, also have the facility to encrypt the data streaming to tape built-into the library, thus removing the encryption overhead from the server.

Other new features for Backup Exec 11d include support for x64-bit Windows environments, as well as NDMP (Network Data Management Protocol) support, which allows the product to protect NetApp Filer and support products such as Oracle RMAN/RAC, IBM DB2, Mac OS X, HP-UX, Solaris 10 and SUSE 10 clients.

"Symantec is going all about recovery," Silk concludes. "Moving forward with Backup Exec, you'll see a lot of focus on recovery, and you'll see more integration across all of the products, and within the product."