Backup Exec woes force pickle company to switch vendor

Mt. Olive Pickle Company switched to Legato Networker when Veritas' Backup Exec failed to restore lost data from tape.

Backup software problems at Mt. Olive Pickle Company eventually drove the company to switch out Veritas Software Inc.'s Backup Exec and go with Legato Networker from EMC Corp.

The Mount Olive, N.C.-based pickle maker was getting by backing up its servers to a 330 GB tape drive from Exabyte Corp. But the company was burdened by a backup window that was 13 hours long, according to Mt. Olive network engineer Stephen Price.

The final straw came earlier this year when Price tried to restore lost data from tape. Backup Exec was taking 30 minutes to two hours to catalogue a single tape, and when it found a tape, it couldn't read it. Price tried the tape backups from the previous night -- same deal. He had to wind back six days to get full access to a tape.

Veritas was not available to make a comment before this story's deadline.

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Price called Veritas and he said they told him to change a few modes in Backup Exec to read the tape catalogues better. This took a few hours and Price was able to restore some tapes from three days before. Eventually, the company recovered fully, but it took 17 days from the initial failure, Price said.

Time to make some changes

Once this storm was over, Mt. Olive executives agreed that the company needed new technology. It wasn't hard for Price to sell them on the idea of a storage area network (SAN) and he quickly narrowed his search down to EMC Corp. and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). With help from MTI Technology Corp., a reseller based in Tustin, Calif., Price picked EMC's Clariion CX300 array.

Interestingly, MTI also sells Veritas, but with its confidence in Backup Exec shaken, Mt. Olive purchased EMC's Legato Networker backup software.

The ability to back up the same data to two sets of tapes was particularly appealing to Price. "One set stays in the library and the other set of tapes go off site." Mt. Olive added a MI500 robotic tape library from Quantum Corp. to complete the SAN.

The SAN has been in place since April and the entire package cost $125,000. With the new system, Mt. Olive's backup window has been cut to seven hours. Price did a restore recently of a database server and it took two minutes. "It took me more time to set it up than to do the actual restore."

One complaint Price had about Legato is Networker's high price tag: "I don't like how their backup-to-disk price is based on storage capacity. If you exceed the capacity they set, you need to buy an additional license."

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