My company uses server-based home directories for storing users' business data. We redirect the My Documents folder to the server and use offline folder synchronization to make the data available offline. This approach worked well when the company was small, but as it's grown, we've started to run into scalability problems. I don't want to back up each system to tape because doing so would significantly increase our backup window and maintenance requirements. Several vendors, such as VERITAS Software, offer notebook- and desktop-type backup solutions. Do you have any experience with these products?

Yes; I use a VERITAS NetBackup Desktop and Laptop Option (DLO) server to back up client data on the network. Although VERITAS lists DLO as an agent for NetBackup, DLO operates as a separate, autonomous solution. VERITAS DLO is easy to install and use. The software lets you create system backup policies (aka Profiles) and specify the user accounts to which they apply. A Profile includes directories to be backed up, synchronization and backup policies, bandwidth throttling, and storage locations. You must create various storage locations (local or remote) to which to back up user data. To provide directory security, you assign Creator Owner NTFS Change permissions and set them to propagate to subdirectories.

Installing the Desktop agent on the client is straightforward. DLO includes an .msi file, and you can push out the program through Group Policy or a remote installation utility. You can also install it from the desktop.

Overall, VERITAS DLO is a good product. It vastly simplifies archiving crucial business data that's distributed over the network.