DIY Recovery

Disk-based storage can cut backup headaches and lets users recover data from active archives.

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Disk-based backup systems use different software to capture incremental backups of frequently changing data. Some, such as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s ProLiant Data Protection Storage Servers, are based on Microsoft Corp.'s Data Protection Manager software. The HP offering provides "near-continuous" backup that fills the gap between daily tape-based backups on the low end and synchronous replication on the high end, says Brad Parks, product marketing manager for network-attached storage at HP.

WAN optimization technologies speed backup traffic over WANs, while wide-area file systems use caching, compression and other methods to consolidate file servers that used to reside in branch offices into the data center. There, both servers and data can be protected more effectively. Vendors such as Data Domain cut backup volumes by breaking the backup stream into tiny bits, comparing each fragment and backing up only those that have changed since the previous backup.

However it's done, the spotlight is on backup and recovery processes. Years ago, "backup and recovery was something you had to do, but it was something like you had to eat your oatmeal," says Doug Chandler, an analyst at IDC. Now, he says, "the pressure's from the business unit, the people who own the application and maybe the general counsel" to not only back up data but to be sure that it can be restored quickly.

Scheier is a freelance writer in Boylston, Mass. Contact him at

Special Report

Storage: New Wrinkles 2006

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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