Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My! - Thoughts on NetVault Backup

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My! Ah, the famous lines from The Wizard of Oz. Of course, these are the lines uttered by Dorothy just before she meets the Cowardly Lion. This helps to illustrate her fear of the forest and the creatures that they may encounter. Fast forward a few seconds and in comes the ferocious (hmmm) lion - king of the jungle, ruler of the plains. Now as most of you know, he turns out to be a coward, however it is the fear of the unknown that lead Dorothy, the tin Man, and the Scarecrow to be afraid of the lion.

This is much like backups and data protection; while we may not “fear” them, most people certainly don’t love them. What I mean by this is that often times administrators have a certain tolerance for backups. They tend to be error prone and the slightest change can cause errors that can snowball into a cataclysmic situation of missed backups, failed restores and even an RGE (Resume Generating Event).

I usually describe backup like owning a car; when you first buy the car, everything is great, the tires are good, the fluids are filled, and the alignment is perfect. You could literally take your hands off the wheel and the car would continue to go straight down the road (not something I suggest, but I think you get what I am saying). The problem comes as time passes; the tires start to get worn, you drive over bumps and potholes, and the “new car smell” dissipates. Now you would not dare take your hands of the wheel for fear that the car would suddenly become possessed like Christine and decide to jump across 3 lanes of traffic and smash into the nearest obstacle.

I see backups as being similar to that. When you first get it installed, things work great (or at least they should); however, since no one I have ever met works in a static environment, things change. As the environment changes, more data is added, network configurations change, new applications are installed, some are removed. All of these changes can lead to an evil vortex intent on wreaking havoc with your backup environment.

Now you may be asking yourself, “Why is he giving us these analogies? What good does it do us?” Well the reason that I bring this up is because, as your environment changes and grows and becomes decidedly more complex, you need to ensure that your backup environment is keeping pace. Now most administrators that I know do not have an overabundance of time to dedicate to reviewing and keeping up with a complex and monolithic backup environments. After all, while it is a necessary evil, it typically is not the core business.

Due to this paradox of backups I believe that the backup solution you use needs to not only have the features and functionality that you require, but also needs to be a solution that is easy to use and configure. Too many times I have seen customers buy into a solution and buy into features, only to discover that the implementation and the configuration as well as the daily management just take too long. Basically, they end up having to have what I call the proverbial PhD in the solution. While it is always good to know as much as possible about a solution you are using, I do not believe that you should have to take weeks or even months to be able to understand and manage the solution.

NetVault Backup is a backup and recovery solution that is designed to be feature rich and expandable, it is designed to be simple and easy to use. I have seen customers that have been able to get NetVault Backup up and running  in as little as 30 minutes (mileage varies of course), but what I believe is the true testament to NetVault Backup is that most customers see a reduction in the time it takes for the daily management task with NetVault.

NetVault Backup allows you to protect data in diverse IT environments — from one intuitive console -- in this scalable backup and recovery solution. NetVault Backup supports multiple server and application platforms in both physical and virtual environments. That means you can ensure availability of business-critical applications, including Oracle, Exchange, MySQL, SQL Server, DB2, and SAP.

With NetVault Backup, you can safeguard information stored on network-attached storage (NAS) devices. It also allows you to back up to tape or disk, as well as leverage data deduplication to minimize your storage footprint.

What this means is that you get a backup solution that is expandable, supports multiple operating systems from AIX to Unix, Windows (as well as a number of others), supports various applications like Exchange, SQL, Sybase, Informix, SAP (and many more), allows you to reduce storage consumption though deduplication, but also allows you to get back to the business of doing business and not the business of managing backups. 

So in conclusion, there are certain situations where you cannot afford to be worried about the “Lions and Tigers and Bears,” and so you must be willing to look behind the curtain to reveal how a given solution works. You never know, it might just indeed take you somewhere over the rainbow. I challenge you to take a look at NetVault Backup and download a fully functional free trial version to see if you are still in Kansas.

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