Virtual tape system adds security

Neartek, a maker of virtual tape library systems, says the latest version of its appliance works better across remote sites and provides improved data security.

Like earlier models, Version 3 of the Linux-based Virtual Storage Engine sits between backup servers and storage arrays. It receives data from the backup server and saves it to disk rather than to tape. The software emulates writing data to tape and catalogs backups as individual virtual tape cartridges.

New in Version 3 is support for remote vaulting. This enables customers to divvy up data into large chunks and then replicate or stripe it asynchronously over IP to a Neartek appliance at a remote site.

The appliance, now encryption-enabled, will work with Network Appliance's Decru DataFort, NeoScale Systems' CryptoStor appliance or Kasten Chase's Assurency SecureData appliances.

"Encryption of tapes that are sent off-site is a big need for customers," says Diane McAdam, senior analyst at Data Mobility Group. "There is also a need to encrypt the backups that are resident on disk [such as in the case with the Neartek offering] to prevent [unauthorized] internal personnel from being able to access sensitive information."

The upgraded system can be used to compress data by factors of two or three times. This feature is available via a PCI-X adapter that fits into the appliance.

Another new feature enables customers to more consistently categorize storage media.

"The backup application needs to know what the volume serial number of the tape cartridge [being emulated] is so that it can call for the right tape when a restore is required," McAdam says.

Neartek, founded in 1994, also has a version of its virtual tape library technology for HP NonStop, HP e3000 and Bull mainframe environments. The Virtual Storage Engine competes with products such as EMC's Clariion Disk Library, Sepaton's S2100 Virtual Tape Library System and Diligent's VTF Open. Unlike those products, Neartek's appliance is storage-agnostic.

The Virtual Storage Engine is priced by the size of the disk to which data is backed up. A 2TB configuration, including the disk, appliance and software, is US$25,000. The remote replication option costs US$10,000 and requires a second VSE at the remote location. The compression option costs US$5,000.

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