Business Continuity Dominates at Storage Decisions

By Brian Fonseca

Business Continuity Dominates at Storage Decisions

A new wave of business continuity technology debuting at the Storage Decisions Conference this week will help customers dramatically enhance performance and speed up recovery and snapshot capabilities.

Expected to make the biggest splash at the New York-based Storage Decisions Conference is Microsoft Corp.'s long-awaited launch of its Microsoft System Center DPM (Data Protection Manager) 2006 offering.

Designed to back up and recover Microsoft file servers, DPM is integrated with Active Directory and a host of Microsoft platforms.

A number of third-party storage software and hardware vendors will announce DSM support and integration at Storage Decisions.

For example, Quantum Corp. will announce a disk-based appliance that builds upon Microsoft DPM with capabilities such as integrated data migration to tape, according to sources.

This week, iSCSI SAN (storage area network) provider EqualLogic Inc, based in Nashua, N.H., will introduce the PS300E—the first member of its PS Series family to feature 500GB SATA II drives.

Read details here about Oracle's Database 10g R2.

Available Oct. 1, the box offers 7TB per array, has multi-array configurations, including the PS200E and PS2400 E, and new Native Command Queuing support allowing disk drives to accept commands, said EqualLogic officials.

The PS300E offers a scalable SAN for DPM backup and snapshots extending the technology into multi-off-site remote replication and restoration, removing the need for tape.

Awaiting the shipment of EqualLogic's PS300E, James Tarala, CIO/chief technology officer of Schenck Business Solutions in Appleton, Wis., said he plans to replace his current installation of NSI Software Inc.'s Double-Take with DPM to replicate his data.

Tarala said that by working together the two products will help him add additional recovery muscle, have more space to keep growing snapshots and accelerate site-to-site replication.

"It's with this current wave of [storage] technology coming out that I've really been able to accomplish what I wanted to do and do it within realistic budget constraints," Tarala said. "Now the tools are finally starting to roll out, I can actually have multiple snaps of all of my major systems online and available for instant recovery while you're on the phone with end user. I'm excited about that."

Click here to read about EMC's enhancements to its file replication software, RepliStor.

NSI Software, based in Hoboken, N.J., will be a launch partner of Microsoft DPM 2006 at Storage Decisions. NSI is currently working with Microsoft on joint solutions for Double-Take to address areas DPM cannot, according to Jason Buffington, director of Business Continuity for NSI Software.

Currently, DPM cannot run on domain controllers, is unable to replicate encrypted files or open files, and—arguably its biggest weakness—is lacking application-level backup to critical parts of Microsoft technology, including Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server.

Buffington said DPM is best suited as a short-term restoration tool and should not be seen as a substitute for tape backup operations.

"Honestly, I get concerned about customers that say they are already considering switching from their previous data protection solutions to DPM. Most of the time, that implies that they are leaving tape backup, which is a scary proposition. DPM can only hold so much data, based on size of disk," Buffington said.

"DPM only addresses files, not applications—forcing customers to use different data protection solutions for each service offering under their Windows umbrella, one for file, one for mail, one for each database, and [customers are] left exposed for less common or custom applications."

Next Page: Data retrieval and "storage-agnostic" recovery round out the show.

Data Retrieval and

'Storage-Agnostic' Recovery Round Out the Show">

Enabling IT organizations to retrieve data more easily, this week Mendocino Software, based in Fremont, Calif., will introduce RecoveryOne, its new CDP (continuous data protection) and time-addressable storage offering running on a network-based appliance.

RecoveryOne software features a configurable policy engine which dots the CDP timeline with information surrounding application and business processes.

The timeline can feature marked events, including pre- and post-patch points and beginning and end of long-running processes, helping administrators to shorten manual recovery efforts, Mendocino officials said.

RecoveryOne supports heterogeneous storage systems and will be distributed through a network of enterprise storage vendor partners. Those partners will begin shipping RecoveryOne-based recovery management solutions in Q4 this year.

Onaro Inc. this week will introduce SANScreen Business Continuity. The software provides real-time analysis and monitoring of an IT environment's replication data paths and application recoverability in line with set policies, said officials of Boston-based Onaro.

After any change occurs within a system, SANScreen Business Continuity will run a validation scenario and report upon service levels to identify the root cause of a problem. The agentless product is currently available and is priced at $35,000.

Meanwhile, Asempra Technologies Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., this week will unveil its new byte-level data collection Asempra Business Continuity Server. Available in Q4, the hardware is designed to help data centers better manage the recoverability process.

The new storage-agnostic box offers instant point-in-time application recoverability and data protection associated with disaster recovery infrastructure, Asempra officials said.

David Kronick, vice president and CIO of CD& L Inc. in Hackensack, N.J., is currently deploying the Asempra Business Continuity Server for his transportation logistics company. He said the product's "TiVo-like" recovery functionality has been a boon for combating shrinking tape backup windows.

"Tape windows are always a problem, especially as the more data you get the bigger problem it becomes," Kronick said. "This reduces the complexity of backup and shortens my downtime to virtually nothing. We run a 24x7 same-day delivery shop, so recovery issues are very big for us."

Kronick said he eventually hopes to have Asempra Business Continuity Server in his primary site and mirror that data to CD&L's alternative site.

3ParData and OnStor develop a unique twist on SAN/NAS services. Click here to read more.

Also at Storage Decisions, 3PARData Inc., will unveil 3PAR Recovery Manager for Microsoft Exchange 2003. Featuring a simplified GUI, the new product will be integrated with Microsoft VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) and work in tandem with 3PAR Virtual Copy to offer CDP and immediate recovery of Microsoft Exchange databases from a host of recovery points, said officials of 3PAR, based in Fremont, Calif.

3PAR Recovery Manager for Exchange 2003 requires 3PAR Virtual Copy v.2.2. and is currently available. Pricing starts under $3,000 for an entry-level configuration.

Check out eWEEK.com's for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

This article was originally published on 09-26-2005