In what looks like an attempt to spike Microsoft’s publicity guns, EMC has unveiled a CDP-like product that is an update to its existing RepliStor software.
The low-end and mid-range Windows server-hosted software is not a true continuous data protection product. EMC said it still plans to launch true high-end CDP software soon.
By introducing the ability to trigger snapshots of file systems in RepliStor version 6.1, EMC has created a product that is comparable to Microsoft Corp’s first ever standalone backup product, its Data Protection Manager software. Usually EMC does not announce products until they are shipping or are very close to shipping.
But there is no date set for the RepliStor update, and EMC said only that it will ship before the year end. Microsoft is expected to make the official launch of DPM soon, and that may have inspired EMC’s decision to unveil and detail a product unusually far ahead of its GA date.
Exactly as DPM, RepliStor 6.1 does not qualify as a true continuous data protection product because the Windows server-based software does not capture every change made to data. Instead it simply stores a series of snapshots of file systems, as does DPM.
On a technical basis, that separates RepliStor and DPM from true CDP products that are also aimed at backing up file level data but capture every change made to data. These products include IBM Corp’s recently launched Tivoli CDP for Files and Symantec Corp’s imminent Panther product. But RepliStor is also different from those products and from DPM in its support for Exchange email databases, and its lack of a self-service file recovery facility.
While DPM and the Tivoli products cannot yet backup Exchange databases, RepliStor 6.1 can. Score one for RepliStor’s ability to protect data for Exchange 2003, a key and almost ubiquitous application.
On the other hand, RepliStor does not provide the major advantage of a self-service web portal that allows end-users to recover lost files, speeding file recovery and eliminating what can be a major workload for IT administrators. The IBM and Symantec products both offer this service.
We don’t have that at the moment. But at least the IT people themselves have access to the [RepliStor generated] backup data, said EMC’s director of product marketing Rob Emsley.
RepliStor was first launched by Legato around four years ago, as Windows server-based asynchronous replication software, which mirrors file data from remote offices or departments to central locations in many-to-one configurations. Evaluator Group analyst Dennis Martin said that RepliStor began life in the mid-nineties as a product called Octopus. It was later acquired by Legato, which was itself bought by EMC in 2003.
This is a market that’s really heating up, at least on the vendor side. There are so many suppliers trying to crack the nut. Backup has always been a problem in IT, Mr Martin said.
RepliStor 6.1 will be able to store up to 64 file system snapshots. It will list from $1,650 per server. The software will trigger snapshots via the Windows VSS interface, using either the Windows snapshot engine, or disk array-based snapshot tools. Using the latter will improve performance, EMC said.