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Vendor Briefings - 28 Jun 2005

Insights from the industry

LiveVault Woos Remote-Office and SMB Backup Market
Remote branch offices and small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) face unique data-protection needs. I spoke with LiveVault ( CEO Bob Cramer and Vice President of Marketing Scott Jarr about two new LiveVault releases that address those needs: LiveVault InControl, which provides disk-based online backup and recovery for remote offices of larger enterprises, and LiveVault InSync, which enhances the vendor's data-protection service offering for SMBs. "Central IT organizations do a good job of running, testing, and recovering data and have a ten to twenty percent failure rate. But SMBs and remote offices have a much higher failure rate, and that's who we target," Bob said.

Both solutions include a new, disk-based onsite appliance, LiveVault TurboRestore, which enables faster restores. "Our customers wanted 'hands-free' branch operation, where remote-office data comes back to the central office," Scott said. LiveVault InControl is "one hundred percent centrally managed" and with LiveVault InSync, "everything is automated. The SMB connects and automatically backs up to the offsite location, completely unattended."

File Fragmentation: Performance Problem or More?
I recently spoke with Michael Materie, Diskeeper Corporation's (formerly Executive Software— product manager, about the Diskeeper 9 defragmentation utility. Michael pointed me to a variety of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles that identify fragmentation of files, the pagefile, and the NTFS Master File Table (MFT—all of which Diskeeper helps defragment) as the cause of specific performance problems. Only a few of the articles say that defragmentation is part of the resolution, however.

Defragmentation clearly helps I/O performance. Both Michael and many IT pros swear by defragmentation to solve and prevent mysterious non-performance–related problems. If you use Diskeeper or otherwise regularly defragment your hard disk, do you think defragmentation has more than just performance benefits? Post a comment to this article at, InstantDoc ID 46620, and tell me what you think.

One-Button Failover Boosts Availability
When a critical server goes down, will your failover process work? MessageOne ( found that its customers couldn't always answer this question affirmatively and, in response, developed OneSwitch, a Web browser–based console that's linked to MessageOne's data-replication and failover service. OneSwitch allows failovers on multiple platforms, taking the complexity and risk out of the failover and restore process, said Paul D'Arcy, MessageOne vice president of marketing.

"Customers aren't really buying replication; they want certainty that data will be available," Paul said. OneSwitch makes performing failovers and restores a "one-button" process that minimizes manual error, simplifies failover so that any employee can initiate a failover in the event of a disaster, and allows multiple servers to be failed over simultaneously. The service provides typical failover times of around 5 minutes for most applications and, at most, 9 to 14 minutes for Microsoft Exchange Server, which tends to be the most complex application to fail over and restore. "For many sites, there's no acceptable downtime. Reducing hours of downtime to a fifteen-minute window is a big deal," Paul said.

Symantec Adds Console to LiveState Recovery 3.0
As part of a continuing evolution in its disk-based backup and recovery products, Symantec ( released Symantec LiveState Recovery Manager, an add-on to the Symantec LiveState Recovery 3.0 suite that lets you monitor numerous desktops and servers via one console. The product is the first solution to be offered as part of Symantec's Unified LiveState architecture, said Steve Fairbanks, Symantec's director of product management.

With the release of LiveState Recovery Manager, Steve said that Symantec is "taking a best-of-breed system-level point recovery solution to an enterprise solution. Customers wanted an enterprise solution that they can use to centrally manage desktop and server agents throughout an organization." According to Steve, future releases under the Unified LiveState architecture umbrella will be increasingly integrated with Symantec's security offerings and will offer more granular backup policies and the ability to respond proactively to security events.

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