Double-Take Enhances Storage Software For Windows

Double-Take is the DBA of Southborough, Mass.-based NSI Software as well as NSI's flagship data protection software for disaster recovery, high availability, and centralized backups.

Microsoft has been investing heavily in bolstering the storage functionality of Windows and related applications. However, vendor partners like Double-Take have found ways to improve on the Microsoft functionality, especially in terms of archiving data generated by applications like Exchange Server and SQL Server.

The company on Monday plans to unveil Double-Take Small Business Server Edition. This edition provides backup and recovery of data and quick restores to that data, as well as replication of data over any distance to any location, said Dan Jones, vice president of sales and marketing. The replication target can be a Windows SBS server or a standard Windows server, he said.

Double-Take SBS is essentially the same as the standard Double-Take software, except that it does not offer automatic failover to a remote location, Jones said. It is priced at $795 per server, including one year of maintenance, compared to $2,870 for the standard edition, he said.

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"This is the first data protection software with full-blown replication for Microsoft SBS," he said. "And over time, we will add failover capabilities."

Also new is the Microsoft SQL version of Double-Take Application Manager. DTAM, which Double-Take released early this year for Microsoft Exchange data, provides data protection and failover capabilities for that data. With the new version, DTAM now also does the same for SQL Server database data, all with a single graphical user interface, Jones said.

Double-Take is also going to integrate with Microsoft Operations Manager, Jones said. By integrating Double-Take's reporting capabilities with MOM, which monitors and reports on network performance and offers thresholds and rules for changes, MOM will be able to directly monitor Double-Take metrics such as replication performance and memory usage, he said.

The company is also adding extended 64-bit support for Intel and AMD processors, as well as Itanium IA-64 support, Jones said. "This allows replication and failover from 64-bit servers to 32-bit servers and back, if the application supports it," he said. "This lets customers use older 32-bit servers as disaster recovery targets for new 64-bit servers."

Double-Take is also enhancing its data snapshot support in conjunction with Microsoft's VSS (Volume Shadow Copy). This allows customers to automatically take periodic snapshots of protected data and failover to either a previous version of the data or to the current version in case of a system crash, Jones said.

John Flores, director of marketing and customer support at Pinnacle Business Systems, an Edmond, Okla.-based solution provider, called the DTAM for SQL enhancement a huge step in the right direction because of the large number of SQL Server users.

"A lot of customers are looking for disaster recovery and business continuity solutions," he said. "Double-Take's timing is great because of the start of the new hurricane season. Disaster recovery is on everybody's mind now after Katrina."

Double-Take's 64-bit support is also big, especially for Itanium-based servers, Flores said. "This will help us in our relationship with Hewlett-Packard, and will open up whole new opportunities for our HP customers," he said.

About 95 percent of Double-Take's sales come from the channel, mainly through Bell Microproducts, Tech Data, and the Comstor division of the Westcon Group. Channel sales grew 46 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year, Jones said.

The new enhancements to the software show how connected the vendor is to the channel, Flores said. "They've shown their commitment to partners and to the overall channel," he said. "For instance, they have a deal registration system that minimizes partner conflicts."