REVIEWER: James Dean, director of enterprise backup for USinternetworking Inc.
BACKGROUND: USinternetworking Inc. (USi) is an application service provider. The company's iMAP (Internet Managed Application Provider) portfolio of service offerings delivers the functionality of leading software from Ariba, BroadVision, Lawson, Microsoft, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Plumtree and Siebel as a continuously supported, flat-rate monthly service via an advanced, secure, global data-center network. Additionally, USi's AppHost for managed application hosting provides the most advanced solutions for enterprises, software companies, marketplaces and system integrators that are seeking a better way to deliver solutions over the Internet to their customers and end users.
PLATFORMS: USi runs its backup systems primarily on Sun hardware running Solaris OS.
PROBLEM SOLVED: When USi started in January 1998, we had one data center in Annapolis, Maryland, and 50 employees. Today, USi has more than 450 employees and two data centers in North America. Through the years, as USi moved to a storage area network (SAN) environment, we began to realize that our existing backup solution was not going to be able to grow with it. Choosing VERITAS NetBackup DataCenter allowed us to maintain and protect every bit of data that we have.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: With the addition of VERITAS NetBackup DataCenter, USi is able to perform live snapshot backups of non- database files with the VERITAS NetBackup FlashBackup agent and experience zero- downtime Oracle backups using VERITAS NetBackup for Oracle Advanced BLI Agent. Larger clients, who typically use more than 500GB of storage, have the option of backing up their data using VERITAS NetBackup FlashBackup and VERITAS NetBackup for Oracle Advanced BLI Agent to perform snapshot backups. Using these advanced backup tools, combined with the integration of VERITAS NetBackup DataCenter and VERITAS File System, allows us to perform zero- downtime backup for large data sizes.
STRENGTHS: We're getting four to five times the backup speed with VERITAS NetBackup DataCenter compared to our previous solution. USi is also able to restore any server or packaged application completely from the ground up. Another key benefit is the system's integration with other hardware and software components. The best part of working with VERITAS Software as an xSP partner is that it allows us to construct a leading-edge infrastructure that will translate into better system performance and information protection for our customers.
WEAKNESSES: In the first version of NetBackup that we deployed at USi, we wanted improvements made to the options surrounding full server recovery, backup scheduling and exchange backups. VERITAS addressed these shortfalls in release 4.5.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose VERITAS NetBackup DataCenter on the basis of four major criteria. First, it integrates with VERITAS File System, which was already installed at USi. Second, VERITAS Software works with all the storage vendors we use here. Third, scalability was important. Fourth, we were concerned about manageability of the software. Our existing system didn't have the usability that VERITAS Software did and needed twice as many people to manage the system.
DELIVERABLES: One of the tools developed by VERITAS Enterprise Consulting Services and USi was a customized Web reporting feature that allows the USi Client Care team to have a historical view of each server's backup. Through the reports, the Client Care team has the ability to view each server indexed by client name, server name and mount point.
VENDOR SUPPORT: After we chose VERITAS NetBackup DataCenter, VERITAS Enterprise Consulting Services came in to work with USi on the system design. They were instrumental in helping us develop the perfect solution that gave us the functionality our enterprise clients demand. Whenever we have a problem, VERITAS Enterprise Consulting Services respond swiftly and are extremely helpful. No question ever goes unanswered.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is a very good reference point for general troubleshooting. Because VERITAS NetBackup is an enterprise-level solution that requires technical expertise, I would not be able to implement the large-scale system just using the manual. However, with the documentation in its current form, technical support, the consulting services group and independent users groups, I don't see how anybody couldn't be successful implementing VERITAS in any environment.
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