Compellent Modules Offer Low-cost Disaster Recovery

The Minneapolis-based vendor introduced two new software modules for its Storage Center, a SAN appliance that works with Fibre Channel and/or SATA hard drives, said CEO Phil Soran.

The first, Data Progression, automatically migrates inactive data to lower-cost storage based on usage patterns, he said.

Data Progression can migrate inactive blocks of data within a volume instead of having to move an entire inactive volume, Soran said. For example, he said, about 80 percent of e-mail across all industries is inactive. “We move the inactive data to lower-speed storage at the block level, the only company to do so,” he said. “For a Microsoft PST file, most vendors treat it as a volume. But we can put the active blocks on higher-speed storage, and the inactive blocks on slower storage.”

Compellent also introduced Remote Instant Replay, a module for remote replication. Remote Instant Replay offers bidirectional replication between two separate sites, or from one site to several, or several to one, in a synchronous, asynchronous, or semi-synchronous fashion. Under semi-synchronous replication, the data movement is delayed slightly to allow for elimination of viruses, Soran said.

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The storage devices at both ends of the replication process can consist of two different technologies, said Soran. For instance, the primary site might have a high-speed Fibre Channel array, while the remote site might have a low-cost iSCSI array.

What&s more, Soran said, the module lets customers test disaster-recovery plans at any time and as often as desired without affecting business operations. “With other disaster-recovery schemes, you have to plan ahead, create mirrors, break the mirrors, re-sync the mirrors, and so on,” he said. Compellent&s solution provider partners said they like the opportunities the new modules present.

Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based solution provider, said the new modules give him a low-cost way to go back to existing customers and help them leverage their existing Compellent investments. “Besides the additional software margins I get, I can also offer customers new professional services for disaster recovery or for data protection using tiered storage,” he said.

Paul Clifford, principal of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based solution provider, said Remote Instant Replay gives customers disaster recovery on a shoestring budget. “You can build your primary storage environment using whatever equipment you want,” he said. “Then, at the remote site, you can put in an iSCSI SAN with a single controller. It&s completely different, but they can replicate to each other. No one else offers that.”

The ability to test a company&s disaster-recovery program based on Compellent technology is also a big plus, Clifford said. Providing that kind of feature with competitive products is too expensive, he added.

The new modules, sold exclusively through the channel, can be purchased as options to Compellent&s Storage Center appliance. Data Protection lists for just under $10,000, while Remote Instant Replay lists for just over $10,000.