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Altiris to update backup and recovery software

Altiris puts newly-acquired technologies to good use, analyst says. Backup and recovery capabilities set new client recovery product apart.

The new version of Altiris Client Recovery Solution (CRS), set to ship in January, promises to help IT managers...

gain better control of remote workstations. CRS 5.1 is largely the result of an acquisition Altiris made last summer.

The backup and recovery technology is another "arrow in Altiris' quiver," said Fred Broussard, senior research analyst at International Data Corp.

The newest version of Client Recovery Solution, version 5.1, will add a "silent snapshot" option for IT pros to scan workstation data without users knowing, said Jim Barker, product manager for Salt Lake City, Ut.-based Altiris. This feature eliminates the need to bother users with pop-up windows announcing backup procedures. The new version also will include Check Point Recovery, a feature that continues backing up data where the software left off when an Internet connection is dropped and resumed. Also, the software's client-side self-help programs will be available in French and German, in addition to English.

In June, Altiris purchased data backup and recovery technology from Previo of San Diego. The acquisition aided Altiris' effort to expand a product line from one that enabled IT administrators to deploy, migrate and manage their networks to one that also offers remote data backup and recovery on laptops and desktops.


The acquisition of Previo's technology moved Altiris into the relatively small market of PC backup technology, where companies like Veritas Software, Storactive and Connected play, Broussard said. Altiris CRS 5.1 also competes with Microsoft System Management Server (SMS). Both friend and foe, Altiris is a Microsoft partner that has products that work with SMS, Barker said.

The PC data recovery market is small and has room for several competitors, Broussard said. The market totaled $50-$60 million in 2001 with slight growth in 2002.


Previo developed good compression technology to allow IT administrators to perform backup and recovery tasks in the background without hogging bandwidth and interrupting users, Broussard said. The technology allows IT pros to take snapshots of workstations without users' knowledge.

The software takes data snapshots by scanning the entire hard drive of remote computers and then stores the snapshots on a central file server, Barker said. The software compares new data snapshots with the old and only updates only new or changed files, allowing computers to still function.

The advantage for IT pros is the backup technology doesn't commandeer desktops and interfere with employee productivity, Barker said.

"CPU utilization never gets above 10 percent," he said. "Previo did an excellent job in creating the technology."


At least one customer is looking forward to the new version.

Steve Jordan, lead technician in the IT department at Augusta, Ga.-based media company Morris Communications, said if Client Recovery Solution stays true to Previo's technology, it will continue to "save lives." Well, at least it will reduce trauma for users who lose data. "We're itching to get it," he said.

Just two weeks ago, a Morris employee mistakenly erased a project he'd worked on for six months. Because the laptop's data was routinely backed up to disc with Previo's technology, Jordan was able to recover the file.

"A recovery that big happens every three or four months," Jordan said.


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