Symantec unveils first hosted backup services

Online offering plugs into BackupExec to provide disaster recovery management

Symantec unveiled Symantec Online Backup and Symantec Online Storage for Backup Exec, a set of encrypted services designed to provide hosted data storage and disaster recovery services for small and midsize businesses.

The usage-based backup and recovery services are part of the company's new Symantec Protection Network family of hosted software, the vendor's first line of hosted software. The hosted backup offerings are currently available from Symantec and its resellers.

Company officials declined to identify products that will be added to the line later.

The service will carry monthly or annual fees based on the aggregate amount of data consumed and length of data retention. If a customer goes over its storage allotment plan, it will have to pay an extra price-per-gigabyte fee, noted Pat Hanavan, vice president of product management at Symantec. Users can choose to have stored data retained for 30 days, one year or seven years.

Pricing for begins at US$25 per month for 5GB of capacity. The cost of Symantec Online Storage for Backup Exec, which can plug directly into Backup Exec 12 software, costs US$38 per month for 10GB, said Hanavan.

Hanavan suggested that Symantec's online backup services can dramatically cut costs associated with physical tape media by using a browser-based interface to schedule, activate and move backup jobs off-site. Once data is backed up, the service compresses and encrypts it before sending it to a data center for storage. Hanavan said Symantec personnel cannot access customer data stored on its servers.

Symantec joins a growing field of vendors looking to quickly add online backup technology to product repertoires as business and IT managers evaluate the promised simplified management and security benefits. EMC, IBM and Dell have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent months to buy hosted storage technologies.

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