You look through Windows to see the world, but you don't notice the clear glass in front of you.
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According to Veritas Software Corp., the latest version of its backup software, is a little like that -- transparent to the user.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company on Wednesday presented Backup Exec 9.0 for Windows Servers, the latest incarnation of its flagship backup and recovery software for small to medium-sized businesses.
The new release is designed to back up Microsoft Exchange e-mail servers and was integrated into Microsoft's upcoming Windows Server 2003 operating system.
"We recognize that Exchange environments are becoming a pretty big opportunity for backup," said Jeremy Burton, Veritas' chief marketing officer. "We're looking to get our fair share of Exchange.
"We can take it right down to an individual user's mailbox, so [administrators] don't have to go through an entire Exchange restart."
Burton said the focus on Exchange revolves around its customers' plans to migrate to the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server (5.5) next year.
The company claims that Veritas Backup Exec 9.0 offers an 88% performance improvement over the previous version when backing up and recovering Exchange environments. It also allows restoration of individual public folders and attachments.
Surprisingly, Burton said competition in the backup software market is getting weaker.
He said Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) has made a push during the past two years, but Veritas continues to pull in the customers. He added that, other than CA, Veritas only competes against CommVault and IBM's Tivoli unit.
Steve Kenniston, technology analyst for the Enterprise Storage Group Inc., Milford, Mass., said that the number of vendors offering reliable products for small to medium-sized businesses is narrowing to a field of four or five key players, but that's not because of declining product quality.
"The reason is, IT professionals are looking to see what is on the horizon for backup, such as disk-to-disk backup technologies and technologies that help to manage the information life cycle," Kenniston said.
However, Kenniston said, Veritas is a step behind when it comes to targeting Exchange users.
"Companies like KVS, Persist, Xios, Educom and the like are well down the road with software and hardware technologies specifically designed to take on the Exchange challenge, and they do it very well," he said. "Veritas doesn't have the technology that these folks currently have to get them to the same level of e-mail management."
Kenniston added that despite Veritas being late to the game, they can still grab a chunk of Exchange customers with the right marketing effort and support services. "It's still anyone's market," he said.
In the current economy, IT has become extremely conservative in their purchasing decisions and often look to the full-feature vendors who have a long track record and can provide solutions for a variety of environments, according to Enterprise Management Associate's analyst Anne Skamarock. "Due to this conservative stance, smaller backup software companies are having difficulty gaining traction on a broad scale."
Skamarock said Microsoft Exchange is the bane of many an IT administrator's existence.
"It is being used as an information management system, [which] something it was never designed to do. As well, many companies are finding that the data stored in the Exchange environment is growing significantly," she said.
She also agreed that Veritas' move into Exchange is a case of playing catch-up. "Legato has been able to provide this functionality for over a year. I see Veritas' added functionality to BackupExec as simply responding to their customer's cries as well as responding to rumors that they were dropping support for BackupExec, rather than a play to dominate a niche market, unless, of course, you consider data protection a niche market," she said.
Backup Exec Version 9.0 features wizards and automation technology for quicker installation and an "Anywhere Internet Interface," a Web-based console for remote monitoring and management of backup and recovery jobs.
The price tag for Backup Exec 9.0 for Windows Servers is $795. Veritas is offering add-on options and agents for application integration and disaster recovery requirements. It supports all Microsoft server platforms.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:Veritas buys two firms, takes on apps management Veritas buys startup's reporting software, bolsters SANPoint Control SearchStorage.com's Products of the Year: Veritas SANPoint Control 3.5 Let us know what you think of this story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer