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Disk-Based Backup Well-Suited to Compliance

I've been writing lot lately about the various storage issues that deal with regulatory compliance. For the most part, the strategies for dealing with regulatory issues are focused on tape-backup technologies, especially write once, read many (WORM) and DLTIce tape technologies. What hasn't gotten as much attention are strategies that use live disk backups, rather than disk-to-tape.

Tape has taken center stage in the compliance-technology discussion because tape vendors have concentrated on enabling their products to create tape backups that can't be modified--only appended to--which addresses some regulatory compliance requirements.

However, the disk-to-disk backup-technology market also meshes with the requirements, especially those that mandate that specific records be easily available throughout large parts of the storage lifecycle. Disk-to-disk backup solutions can easily be integrated in end-to-end storage/backup solutions. Such solutions are available in a wide selection of offerings: everything from services, whereby vendors offer the application service provider (ASP) model with real-time backup performed over an Internet connection, to appliance-based solutions that offer plug-and-play capabilities into the existing network infrastructure.

Disk-based backup solutions are available as hardware packages with software components from vendors such as Quantum as part of the vendor's Enhanced Backup Systems offering. Designed to emulate a tape library, Quantum's solution gives the backup process the higher performance of direct disk-to-disk backup and is pitched as part of a complete disk/tape backup system. Overland Storage also offers an assortment of disk-to-disk backup products, ranging from a plug-and-play drop-in system for small offices or branch offices to full-blown solutions that provide close to 10TB of online storage and support for Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel, making them applicable backup solutions in the Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Network (SAN) space.

LiveVault offers an interesting automated end-to-end backup and recovery solution that makes use of an onsite appliance and Internet-based backup. The combination lets LiveVault offer a product that provides automatic backup, quick data restoration, and the security of offsite backup as a single service offering. The LiveVault service provides centralized management of backups across the corporate enterprise without requiring a dedicated backup staff. The LiveVault option deserves some serious ROI analysis to determine whether your company needs to provide backup across multiple offices and is large enough to make the initial investment in its products. Even a single-site business can benefit from the offsite storage of backup data that LiveVault offers, although your organization should carefully evaluate the vendor's service offering to determine whether it fits in your specific business model.

Last, but not least, Microsoft has entered the disk-based backup marketplace by announcing Data Protection Server (DPS), a disk-based backup and recovery product that will be available in the second half of this year. You can find more information about DPS in the Windows IT Pro article "What's Data Protection Server?" and at the Microsoft DPS Web site.

On a slightly different note, LiveVault is really reaching out to the management or C-level executive who was old enough to enjoy the Monty Python invasion of the 1970s with a very Python-esque marketing video starring John Cleese. You can find the video on LiveVault's website or at the Backup Trauma Web site. Using the image of a medical institute that deals with the victims of backup trauma, Mr. Cleese works hard to remind us of a Monty Python skit, even down to the Python-style animations. I'm not sure that the video will convince anyone to evaluate the LiveVault offering, but it was an entertaining diversion for an old Monty Python fan.

Security Chat: Demystifying the Security Event Log

Randy Franklin Smith is one of the foremost authorities on the Windows Security Event Log and a respected trainer who teaches Monterey Technology Group's "Security Log Secrets" course. In his article in the March issue of Windows IT Pro, Randy shines a light on this dark and mysterious corner of cryptic event IDs and codes and inaccurate Microsoft documentation. Here's your chance to ask Randy your questions about the Event Log and get answers Microsoft doesn't provide.

Join the chat on March 16 at 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST. For details, visit Security Chat Web site.

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