For a technology that’s the bedrock of a Windows environment, Active Directory (AD) seems just a tad, well, shaky. AD objects can be modified or deleted unintentionally and corruption from hardware failure can send seismic waves across an organization. The ensuing chain reaction as your upper executives realize Exchange is down might make you want to duck and cover under your desk.

But of course you can’t. “You have to go to a backup, restore over to another area, try to get the pieces, do reboots of DCs, and it’s just impactful and invasive of the environment,” says Symantec’s Pat Hanavan.

You might have four or five different reboots—and it gets even worse for Microsoft Exchange: “The number of times an IT pro has to do AD backup and recovery are probably a lot lower than in Exchange,” says Hanavan, who is VP of product management for Backup Exec at Symantec.

“Admins have done two styles of backup: database level, which is the entire thing—one big blob—and brick level,” mailbox by mailbox. “It’s totally redundant but they had to do it to restore part of what was in Exchange.”

With Backup Exec, Symantec offers its concept of granular recovery technology: “You do a database-style backup, crack open the backup, and reach in and extract parts of it.” Symantec is taking that concept and applying it to AD, SharePoint, and beyond, into virtual environments.

Backup Exec’s latest agent for SharePoint is able to coordinate backup across multiple systems, do database-level backup as well as recover an individual server, site, or document. If you agree with Hanavan that SharePoint is where email was at its beginning, with adoption at first a trickle, and now becoming a tsunami (actually, my extension of the metaphor, not his), you might find SharePoint nearly as mission-critical as AD and Exchange.

Enough flogging of the earthquake metaphors: To learn more, go to Symantec’s Backup Exec website 

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