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Windows Protection Grabs Spotlight

Storage vendors discover that Windows users need disaster recovery too

Last year storage systems companies made a concentrated push to reach SMBs, and in early 2007 software vendors are following their lead with an eye on protecting Windows. (See NetApp Zeroes In on SMBs, HP Builds SANs for SMBs, and Dell, Microsoft Team on NAS-Plus-iSCSI.)

We're in the midst of flurry of data protection software specifically aimed at protecting Windows servers and applications. Two such products were launched this week, with at least two more on the way:

  • Double-Take expanded its Windows-based replication with two new products that perform bare-metal restore on Windows servers. (See Double-Take Protects All.) ShadowCaster is a standalone application that works with Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003, and its Server Restore Option is the same technology offered as an option with Double-Take Replication –- the vendor's core product. Pricing for ShadowCaster starts at $1,495, and the Server Restore Option costs $595 for each protected server on top of the $2,870 price for Double-Take Replication.

  • Softek rolled out Transparent Data Migration Facility (TDMF) Windows 2.5 and Replicator for Windows 2.5 aimed at improving the speed of data transfers while migrating or replicating over TCP/IP. (See Softek Upgrades Products.) The upgrades include the ability to keep applications available during remote replication.

  • Next Monday, DataCore Software will launch a disaster recovery package for SMBs consisting of migration, replication, automatic failover, and thin provisioning targeted at virtual Windows servers, all for around $10,000.

  • Also next week, Symantec is expected to begin shipping Veritas Storage Foundation 5.0 High Availability For Windows that replicates Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint Portal Server.

So have data protection vendors just discovered Windows shops need DR, too?

"We're into a new era," analyst Greg Schulz of The StorageIO Group. "What has been standard practice in large enterprises is coming down into smaller businesses. Now we're seeing Windows deployed in mission-critical environments, just like UNIX has been used for years. And today, mission critical does not have to equate to enterprise."

Another analyst says SMBs often have a greater need for disaster recovery and business continuity but can't afford the types of products and services enterprises use for DR.

"Array-based replication is not affordable to SMBs," says Dianne McAdam of the Clipper Group. "Yet a lot of small businesses are not prepared for disaster recovery, and they get hurt the worst. They lose their data, and they can't re-open."

DataCore's SANmotion is not limited to Windows, but CEO George Teixeira says he expects most of his customers to be running Windows as well as VMware, and using iSCSI or direct attached storage. He says that is also the typical customer for DataCore's SANmelody customer, but the new package does not scale to the midrange.

"It's a lot of the same code as our SANmelody, but we've restricted these packages to work with 3 Tbytes on a protected server and with 3 Tbytes on a server at a remote location," Teixeira says.

DataCore's SMB package consists of 3-Tbyte SANmelody licenses for the main and remote servers; SANmotion migration software for $7,998; and one-year service and support for $2,000. Fibre Channel support and snapshots are available for separate licenses.

— Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

  • The Clipper Group Inc.
  • DataCore Software Corp.
  • Double-Take Software Inc. (Nasdaq: DBTK)
  • Softek Storage Solutions Corp.
  • The StorageIO Group
  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
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