Choosing the right backup software requires striking a delicate balance between what your company needs now – and what it will need in the future. In order to do this, you’ll need to find a solution that offers customizable management and reporting features, as well as a number of other functions that can grow with your organization as your needs change.
Although each company has its own list of wants and priorities, in today’s business environment, there are some universal imperatives that your backup software should include, such as:
- Physical and Virtual protection: Most companies have a mixed physical/virtual environment – it makes sense to protect your entire infrastructure with a single platform, rather than with several tools across your company.
- Bare metal restore. Whether it’s offered natively or as an add-on, if you choose a backup software solution that allows for bare metal restore, it can help your business save time and effort when restoring a system after a failure. For even more ease, look for a solution that provides hardware-independent disaster recovery and/or “no-hardware disaster recovery” in a virtual environment.
- Fast, simple recovery. The main objective of backup software is to ensure your ability to recover data. Recovery should include not just files and folders, but virtual machines, applications, and application data, even when those applications are virtualized.
- Scalability. Because businesses aren’t static entities, consider solutions that provide room for growth via upgrades or plug-ins that will give your system additional functionality without the need to invest in entirely new software.
- Streamlined administration console. A clear, intuitive administration or management console will make it easier for your admin team to schedule backups, manage backup policies, perform disaster recoveries, and convert backups of servers to virtual machines for instant disaster recovery.
- Detailed reporting. Comprehensive reports of each backup job offer invaluable insights, but they may not always be viewable from remote locations – so look for a backup software solution that provides users with HTML-based reports that are viewable with any Web browser and/or send executive summaries of backups via e-mail.
- Encryption of backed-up data. To keep your backup files secure, look for a solution that not only encrypts the data on the backup medium, but protects it while in transit.
- Appliance Form Factor. Many organizations are turning to the integrated backup appliance, which can deliver everything above and more in a plug-n-play package – a must for companies that don’t have the technical resources to run a complicated backup operation or for those who have a priority to reduce operational expenses.
In addition to backing up your company’s servers, look for a solution that allows you to back up your staff’s desktop and laptop computers. This way, if your team doesn’t save work to the system – or just hasn’t had time to move their files from their computers to the server – their work is protected. To ensure seamless, unobtrusive backup, many enterprise backup software solutions provide a client-side agent that automatically backs up data from the client systems.
Alex Sakaguchi is a Product Marketing Manager for Symantec NetBackup and was a key contributor for the most recent Better Backup For All campaign that launched NetBackup 7.5 in early 2012. Alex spends much of his time on the road meeting with customers and partners alike to better understand the challenges of the market and how Symantec solutions can better address them.