HP, others tackle data replication, recovery

A slew of new products and services are rolling out that let customers automate and implement a replication and recovery process for their most important data applications. The announcements include:

  • Hewlett-Packard rolling out replication software this week for Windows and HP-UX networks that lets IT administrators copy data across metropolitan, regional and national areas.
  • New LiveVault unveiling software and services -- InControl, InSync and TurboRestore -- for recovery and protection of data in remote offices, and small to midsize businesses.
  • MessageOne Inc., a maker of business continuity software for messaging applications, launching OneSwitch, a data replication and recovery service for Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and Internet Information Server users.

"The industry has rapidly been making the transition from tape-based backup to disk, but getting the data off-site is still a problem, particularly for remote offices or small and midsize businesses that lack IT staff," says Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. He estimates that only 1% of organizations have implemented business continuity packages.

HP has released three software packages for protecting businesses from service disruptions. The Metrocluster Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA), Continentalclusters and StorageWorks Cluster Extension EVA provide HP-UX and Windows customers with StorageWorks arrays with continuous access to business-critical data and systems.

HP says that current midrange fail-over products replicate either server or storage resources, but not both. Its Metrocluster EVA, Continentalclusters and Cluster Extension EVA let businesses fail over entire sites.

With the Metrocluster EVA, users can bidirectionally and automatically fail over HP-UX data centers across more than 160 miles. The Continentalclusters support local and remote fail-over capability for HP9000 and Integrity servers. The StorageWorks Cluster Extension EVA consists of host-based software that enables remote mirroring and fail-back and recovery on Windows networks. These HP products vary regionally and by contract.

Separately, LiveVault's InSync service for small and medium-size businesses uses an optional disk backup appliance. Its TurboRestore lets companies quickly recover data. Data is backed up to a local TurboRestore appliance and then sent over the network to a secure, remote LiveVault Data Storage Vault.

LiveVault's InControl also uses the TurboRestore appliance in remote offices to back up data to headquarters. InControl is intended to be used in remote offices that do not have IT personnel, where backing up the network does not happen or where backup operations are too complex for non-IT personnel. Using a Web browser, customers can indicate which remote servers to back up. Pricing for InControl starts at US$25,000. InSync starts at US$119 per month. TurboRestore is included in the service agreement.

MessageOne's OneSwitch offers replication and fail-over services for Windows applications. The service lets administrators and users within branch offices and midsize businesses recover data in minutes rather than the hours it took before.

From OneSwitch's centralized view of Exchange, SQL Server and other Microsoft applications, users or IT administrators can initiate fail-over from any location simply by pushing a button.

Todd Coury, network manager at law firm Andrews Kurth LLP in Houston, uses MessageOne's OneSwitch.

"We are replicating data from Houston to a disaster recovery [storage-area network] in Dallas, so if Houston goes off-line from a hurricane or other disaster, we can continue to work with the Houston data even if it is unavailable in Houston," Coury says.

"With OneSwitch, I can log in from home, from anywhere and fail our key systems over to our Dallas office," he says. "Before, I would have had to go on-site and do it."

OneSwitch starts at US$150 per server, per month.

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