Dell Adds Advanced Replication Capabilities To AppAssure 5.4

Dell Software Tuesday unveiled a new version of its AppAssure data protection software application that features significantly enhanced replication capabilities along with improved performance and reporting features.

AppAssure 5.4, which is being release after a six-month beta, has over 50 new features, with enhanced replication at the top of the list, said Jason Raymond, director of data protection product management for Dell Software, which was formed in the wake of Dell's 2012 acquisition of Quest Software.

AppAssure, which Dell in 2012 also acquired, until Tuesday could do only basic replication, Raymond said.

[Related: Dell Acquires AppAssure In Effort To Integrate Data Protection Software]

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"Before, it replicated data from site A to site B," he said. "Now it caters more to the MSP community by allowing replication from A to B to C, or for A to B and C. So a smaller customer, for instance, can replicate data to a warm DR [disaster recovery] site to an MSP."

AppAssure 5.4 also allows throttling of the bandwidth used for replication, Raymond said. "Most customers replicate data every 60 minutes," he said. "This eats up a lot of bandwidth. So we let customers 'shape' the traffic."

Also new is the ability to set different retention policies for each site that receives the replicated data, so that data at different sites can be kept for varying amounts of time.

AppAssure 5.4 also provides the ability to change the performance and capacity "footprint" of the replication with such capabilities as dynamically changing the dedupe cache size, and lets users schedule their replications as needed, he said.

AppAssure 5.4 not only checks to make sure a backup is done, it also talks to applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL and SharePoint to make sure the data can be recovered, Raymond said.

"You know the system can be recovered from the state in which it was backed up," he said.

The new advanced replication capabilities of AppAssure 5.4 provide the kind of capabilities enterprise storage users expect, said Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul-based solution provider and Dell partner which as worked with AppAssure software since AppAssure was acquired by Dell.

"Each customer has different needs," Clifford said. "Multi-target replications to get to different locations is important for many customers. And multi-hop replications from site A to site B to site C, or from site A to sites B and C help improve disaster recovery."

NEXT: Working With AppAssure 5.4

Adding replication scheduling is a boon to every company that faces bandwidth constraints, Clifford said.

"I've never met anybody who has too much bandwidth," he said. "If someone is replicating during the day and is bandwidth-limited, it's important to schedule the replication to after-hours. Or they can slow down the replication during the say and go full throttle at night."

The new capabilities are important to Accelerite, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based business unit of Persistent Systems, a developer of analytics, big data, cloud computing and mobility services.

Eric Webster, senior vice president and general manager of the disaster recovery business of Accelerite, said his organization, which was formed on the rCloud technology Persistent got with its 2012 acquisition of cloud disaster recovery developer Doyenz, has been building its technology around AppAssure for about a year.

Having the new advanced replication capabilities is important for Accelerite, which provides its customers a multi-tenant cloud service for site recovery, cloning machines, and test and development, Webster said.

"Our new platform takes snapshots every 15 minutes," he said. "Customers can click on a restore point within the last 30 days, and have it up in under 15 minutes."

AppAssure has formed the basis for other offerings to come from Accelerite, including such potential solutions as a pre-integrated backup appliance or the ability to do image backups from desktop PCs, all based on Dell technology, Webster said.