What would you say if I told you I recently saw a product that, basically, creates intrinsically backed-up data? What I mean by that is, every time data is modified, the modifications are time-stamped and saved to a "back-up" storage system at the same time the data is written to the primary disk. Does this sound interesting to you?
Several weeks ago, StorageTek announced its EchoView product that does just that. EchoView is a combination of software and storage hardware that "watches" for data updates, makes a copy of the changed data, creates a time stamp for the changes and then routes that copy and time stamp off to the EchoView storage appliance. When users want to restore data, they interface with the EchoView restore software, choose the approximate time they think the data was available (or correct if there's been a corruption problem), and the associated filesystem is automatically published (mounted) for viewing and retrieval of files.
Some of you are probably thinking, well, I have that already with my SRDF software from EMC or PPRC from IBM! It mirrors my data to another storage system in case there's a problem with my primary. Yep, that's what it does; it creates a mirror. The problem with mirrors is that when/if data is deleted or corrupted, the same action is "mirrored" on the second copy, without the ability to "undo" or "go-back" on the mirror. So you end up with two (or more) copies of corrupted data.
I hear another crowd saying, "but this is what I do backups for!" You are correct! However, 90% of all restores are performed within the first 48 hours of a backup. For mission critical data, doesn't it make sense to take advantage of the cheaper disk technology for near-instantaneous restores over the first, say, week and use your traditional tape backup for disaster recovery?
Frankly, EchoView is the first thing I've seen actually integrating "backup-like" functionality with the inexpensive disk products available, regardless of what disk is used. While EchoView doesn't replace performing regular backups, it sure makes quick recovery of data easy.