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-- by Joseph C. Panettieri
If you want to protect your Windows NT applications from natural disasters, sabotage or just plain corruption, then get yourself some secret agents-as in backup and antivirus software agents for Windows NT Server.
Dozens of companies, including Cheyenne, IBM, Legato, McAfee, Seagate and St. Bernard Software, offer backup agents for most popular NT Server applications, including Lotus Notes/Domino, Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange Server, Novell GroupWise, Oracle7 and SAP R/3. Best of all, the applications can remain online during the backup process, a critical requirement for companies that can't afford to shut down their network at any hour.
For example, Seagate's Backup Exec Agent for Exchange Server lets you send Exchange Directory Services and Information Stores data to multiple tape devices for simultaneous, concurrent Exchange backups. It also supports full, incremental, copy or differential backups of your Exchange Server data while it's online.
Similar agent work is underway in the antivirus arena, where Cheyenne and McAfee are both delivering agents for NT-based groupware and Internet applications, including Exchange Server, GroupWise, Notes and various firewall products.
McAfee's GroupScan and GroupShield for Lotus Notes can, for instance, scan encrypted Notes files, and protect against macro viruses, mail bombs, button bombs and Trojan horse viruses. (Visit McAfee's Web site at http://www.mcafee.com/prod/av/groupware.html for more details.) McAfee is also working to integrate its antivirus technology with Seagate's NT backup software.
The fine print
Of course, backup and antivirus agents come with an expensive catch: To use them, you'll likely need to buy additional products. For example, Cheyenne's backup agents (http://www.cheyenne.com/Product-Info/windowsnt/as6/as6ntstorage.html#data) require the company's ARCserve for Windows NT (from $795 per server) storage management platform. The backup agents will cost you about $1,000 over and above ARCserve's price.
Still, an impressive list of organizations-including Standard Microsystems Corp. (McAfee), the Social Security Administration (Cheyenne) and Microsoft (Legato)-are buying these NT software agents, rather than risking a data disaster.