EMC Offers Remote And Continuous Data Protection

software replication

The move is important for customers building disaster recovery infrastructures, especially those using server virtualization software from such companies as VMware, of Palo Alto, Calif., said Rob Emsley, senior director of software product marketing at EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass.

"This accelerates the ability to get better solutions for VMware environments," Emsley said. "Customer's no longer need to deploy new hardware for disaster recovery. This makes for a more complete disaster recovery solution."

With continuous data protection, or CDP, changes to data are backed up immediately or at certain pre-defined intervals to allow users to be able to instantly recover a deleted, corrupted, or modified file. While many applications allow data changes to be captured on-the-fly, others back up the changes at set intervals.

RecoverPoint came to EMC through that company's acquisition in May of 2006 of CDP and data protection software vendor Kashya.

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The previous version of RecoverPoint allowed customers to either replicate locally with CDP, or remotely with continuous remote replication, Emsley said. With RecoverPoint 3.0, they can now do both simultaneously.

"RecoverPoint 3.0 lets the replication be split so data can be written into two places, either with software agents or with intelligent switches from Cisco [Systems, of San Jose, Calif.] or Brocade [Communications Systems, of San Jose, Calif.]," he said.

EMC is also integrating that split replication capability in its Clariion CX3 line of storage arrays, including the models CX310, CX320, CX340, and CX380.

"This splitting technology in the CX3 is what directs the data writes to allow CDP or remote replication," Emsley said. "It intercepts the writes during the data write process."

The management interface for RecoverPoint was also updated with a simpler point-and-click process for restoring and managing files, he said.

Marc Franz, national sales director of EMC and VMware solutions at FusionStorm, a San Francisco-based solution provider, said the RecoverPoint expansion is a big move for EMC and for the channel.

"We get a lot of customers looking at long-distance disaster recovery," Franz said. "But most customers, maybe 99 percent, are doing local replication using clusters or campus-wide replication. So this move is very crucial."

Franz said many of his company's clients have initiatives to do CDP and replication in their own buildings or across their campuses. And many of them are now looking at how to do disaster recovery to a vault across state lines. To do that, they are tying in VMware for both local and long-distance replication.

However, Franz said, having the software to do the split replication is only part of what customers need in order to do that kind of disaster recovery infrastructure. It is important that solution providers also help prepare customers to use replication before they make their purchase.

"When you look at long-distance replication, 90 percent of customers don't have the necessary internal set-up," he said. "They don't have a good ILM (information lifecycle management) or backup infrastructure. We tell them, guys, you gotta clean up at home, otherwise you just replicate your poor business practices. For instance, 80 percent of their data hasn't been accessed in the last six to 12 months, yet they're still keeping that data on prim disk and backing it up everyday."