More Choices in Backup Systems

Arthur Cole

Data backup and archiving systems are growing more diverse by the month, with everything from virtual tape libraries (VTLs) to grid technology being thrown into the mix. The result is that enterprises have more choices these days, but it can be difficult to select the right technology to ensure that data is available when primary systems go down.


Hitachi Data Systems just released a trio of VTL appliances aimed at medium-sized enterprises. The Virtual Tape Library Appliance Models 500M, 1000L and 1000E include data deduplication technology from Diligent, along with Hitachi's own Adaptable Modular Storage (AMS) system to seamlessly integrate into existing storage environments. The 500E scales up to 500TB, while the 1000L and 1000E systems offer up to 400 Mbps of throughput.


Meanwhile, NEC is pitching the grid approach to backup with the newest HYDRAstor designs. The system reviewed here by InformationWeek features a grid of 2U servers that can function as either front-end accelerator nodes or back-end 2.5 TB storage nodes. With a 10 GbE interconnect, NEC has brought the system as high as 450 storage nodes shuttling data as fast as 14 Gbps.


Of course, the rise of virtual environments makes restoration more complicated, which is why NetApp is adding new management tools to its appliances aimed at bringing back VMware virtual machines should something go awry. The SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure not only recovers virtual machines, but eliminates the interruptions and performance degradation that often happens with traditional server-hosted backup and restoration.


And by now, Windows users are probably sick of hearing about OS X and the Time Machine function. But a company called Rebit is offering an automatic backup solution for the PC as well. The system is available in 80 GB to 500 GB sizes. It needs a fair amount of time for the initial system partition backup, but once that's done, it provides automatic backup of all files, and even retains the ones that are deleted from the PC.


Having a choice of backup technologies is certainly not the worst of all worlds. But with a technology that can literally make or break your organization, it pays to do your homework before buying.

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