Review: Symantec, Zantaz ease large-scale backups

Review: Symantec, Zantaz ease large-scale backups

Archiving products allow administrators to store old files and e-mail messages

Administrators often battle with end users over the amount of space they use on mail and file servers. Users would like to keep everything they might need, while administrators would like to avoid buying more disks and upgrading servers to handle huge inboxes and home directories.

Two archiving products, Symantec Veritas EV (Enterprise Vault) 6.0 and Zantaz EAS (Enterprise Archive Solution) offer solutions. Both allow administrators to archive files and e-mail messages that haven't recently been opened to secondary storage -- usually lower-cost disk arrays, but also to tape. Users can then transparently and easily retrieve an archived file or message with the traditional double-click, and the message or file is retrieved from the archive store as if it were still on the server.

The similarities between these two solutions are numerous. Both are multitier, supporting multiple sites, data collection servers, and storage systems. Both also offer full enterprise-class administration of the overall system.

Moreover, both offer single-instance storage, so companies can realize enormous savings for archived files. For instance, if a 15MB PowerPoint presentation is e-mailed to 20 people as an attachment, only one copy is stored (unless someone modifies his or her copy).

Both of them provide additional functionality, including the capability to archive files from SharePoint and Windows file servers. Both can also locate and archive .pst files (locally stored e-mail saved by an Outlook user).

The differences between the two are relatively minor and lie within details such as methods of indexing archived messages and integrating with Exchange. Price will probably be the biggest determining factor for most customers.

Symantec Veritas Enterprise Vault 6.0

Part of the suite of Veritas backup and data management products, Symantec Veritas EV can take advantage of Backup Exec for migration to tape, as well as Storage Foundation and Replication Exec for additional redundancy and fault tolerance.

EV can archive Exchange, Windows-file, SharePoint, and Lotus Domino servers. One difference from EAS: EV doesn't require a plug-in or service running on the Exchange server; rather, it uses the built-in Windows journalling service to track e-mail as it is received, changed, or moved to different folders.

EV requires an MS SQL Server database for storing configuration information and metadata on messages archived. The actual messages and attachments are stored on a separate data store, not the database. EV supports EMC Centera and NetApp storage systems as well as local NTFS partitions or network file shares.

A storage server on the Vault Server creates HTML or text versions of each archived file for indexing via the AltaVista search engine. Logging is done through the Windows Event Viewer, rather than a separate application.

When installing EV, you'll need to be certain that your MS SQL Server is case-insensitive. You will also need to create a service account for EV. The installation program will then create the necessary databases. IIS server is required, as is an Exchange Server, Active Directory, and a Microsoft Message Queue Server. You must also add extensions to permit users to see archived items through Outlook Web Access, if you use it.

As you would expect with all these components, the complete installation process is necessarily complex, but it is well-documented and should be straightforward for experienced Windows administrators. When all is said and done, you'll have a management console for EV and a Web portal for users to search and access archived items and do their own restores if necessary.

For users, accessing archived items will be just like accessing items normally from Outlook: they will simply click on an item, and it will be recalled and made available. If users delete items from their mailboxes, they can go to the EV Web portal to find the items and restore them from the archive. EV offers granular administrative roles for searching or restoring mail and other archived items. Roles can be defined for auditors, who can only view archives, or view and copy messages, and so forth; access can be limited to specific users or groups. Oversight of auditors can also be configured so that the administrator (or HR department) can track what messages the auditor accesses.

There's also a Compliance Accelerator at an additional cost. This speeds up searches of the archived data store for messages that meet particular criteria.

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