Windows IT Pro Storage UPDATE--Take the First Step to a Complete DR Solution--July 3, 2006

Storage Update: Disaster Recovery--Take the First Step to a Complete DR Solution

July 3, 2006







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Beginning with today's issue, Storage UPDATE willcome to you on the first Monday of the month. Storage UPDATE will continue to provide the latest and greatest storage news, tips, and industry insight.

==== 1. Storage Viewpoint: Take the First Step to a Complete DR Solution ====
by [email protected]

As I write this, most of the local waterways are well over flood stage (as much as 11' over crest). In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has yet to show up with debit cards and trailers, and many local businesses now find themselves completely flooded out. Some locations along the river are seeing water hit the second floor of some low-lying buildings. As my office sits between two major flood areas, the current weather patterns give me reason to think about my disaster recovery plans despite no immediate danger.

Although I'm completely comfortable with my data backups, I realize that I lack any sort of business continuity/disaster recovery plan. What happens if my office gets flooded or simply loses power for a long period of time due to flooding elsewhere? Fortunately, floods are rarely a surprise, and if necessary, I know that I could pack up my office and move it elsewhere--which would be a major aggravation given the amount of hardware involved--but it could be done.

Because an ISP hosts my Web and email services, I don't have to concern myself with customers that have issues with those services while my office location is being moved or temporarily out of service. However, like many small businesses, I don't maintain an offsite backup of my critical data (though, in the past, I've covered services that offer real-time backup of local servers to remote sites). The ongoing weather situation here has forced me to rethink this practice. Even without a major disaster that destroys my upper-floor office, I could easily be in a situation in which flooding prevents me from accessing my office and the data contained therein.

One of my habits, however, would help me alleviate some of the potential problems. I keep current copies of my in-progress projects online, stored in password-protected archives in password-protected directories on one of my Web servers. I update these archives as the projects progress and could continue with any of the projects without access to my office as long as I have access to a computer that has Microsoft Office and Internet access. But I wouldn't have access to the relatively huge amount of historical data I retain, nor any of the more specialized applications that I run.

For this reason, I've given serious thought to one of two solutions: tape backup or a rack-mountable hard disk-based backup appliance. Tape backup lets me do the traditional tape rotation with offsite storage, and the costs are fairly low. However, tape backup also means a change in workflow, and my work style doesn't lend itself to the workflow that would allow me to use tape as my crisis solution.

With a hard disk-based appliance, I can automate the backup process so that a mirror of my office data is always available in a single device that, although not exactly portable, is small enough to pick up and move if necessary. This would provide minimal interference with my existing workflow and let me get up and running at an alternate location with minimal trouble.

I still need to develop a business continuity plan in case a disaster destroys my office and its contents, but the added security of maintaining a movable image of my office is a good place to start.

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==== 2. News from the Industry ====

SteelEye: Affordable Business Continuity Is Within Reach
by Anne Grubb, [email protected]

How well an organization's business continuity plan actually works depends largely on how quickly and smoothly the business can fail over its primary IT operations to remote disaster recovery site(s). Storing backup tapes offsite is no an longer adequate means of ensuring an acceptable recovery time objective (RTO) for critical applications and data, which is why companies are increasingly seeking solutions from wide-area data- replication vendors such as SteelEye Technology.

SteelEye recognized that many businesses want a wide-area replication solution but can't afford the bandwidth required to continuously send backed-up data over the wire from the primary server to a mirrored remote site. Responding to the IT market's demand for affordable wide-area replication, SteelEye offers several software-based wide-area replication products, among them LifeKeeper Data Replication for Windows, which the company updated earlier this year with version 5.2. SteelEye Vice President Bob Williamson says the products offer superior bandwidth utilization to its main competitor, NSI Double-Take. "The new version of the data replication product uses 90 percent of \[a WAN's\] available bandwidth, whereas the previous version used only 40 to 50 percent of the WAN connection," he says.

The product also includes a bandwidth-throttle feature, which, Williamson says, lets you adjust how much bandwidth replication will consume for a transfer between a particular pair of mirrored systems. "You can say, I want this mirror to consume only this much bandwidth, so you can maintain a balance between data- replication performance and other activities across your WAN connection."

SteelEye is also keeping a close watch on organizations' readiness in regard to business continuity and dealing with unplanned downtime. In April, the company released the results of a market survey called the SteelEye Technology Business Continuity (BC) Index, done in conjunction with Continuity Central. The survey presents some starting findings about the state of business continuity planning among organizations. For instance, says Williamson, "45 percent of companies that have business continuity plans have actually had to invoke them in past 12 months." And another 19 percent of the organizations surveyed have no plan for assuring business continuity, which many attribute to the high cost of putting such plans in place. "This research clearly demonstrates that a good business continuity plan is by no stretch reserved for organizations with huge budgets," Williamson says. "There are low-cost solutions available today."

==== 3. New & Improved ====
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Hard Drive Enclosures for 2.5" IDE Drives

Addonics Technologies announced a series of hard-drive enclosures for 2.5" IDE hard drives called Jupiter. The product features an anodized aluminum casing, lightweight and compact size, and shock mount technology that protects against vibration. The Jupiter Cipher version includes hardware encryption that encrypts and decrypts the entire hard drive in real time. The Jupiter drive enclosure can also be used as an external hard drive through USB, external SATA (eSATA), or FireWire (IEEE 1394) by attaching different Addonics Universal Storage Interface BUS (USIB) interface cables. For more information, visit Addonics on the Web:

Nexsan Announces New iSCSI Functionality

Nexsan Technologies announced that iSCSI functionality is now built into its RAID storage products including SATABeast and SATABoy, which allow them to integrate into existing Ethernet or Fibre Channel backup environments. According to Diamond Lauffin, senior executive vice president at Nexsan, this new functionality was based on customers who wanted a storage solution that was less complex and less costly than assembling a comparable multi- vendor system. For more information, visit Nexsan on the Web:

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