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StorageTek Hears an Echo

Claims its EchoView iSCSI appliance can completely eliminate backup windows. Will it catch on?

Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK) is getting ready to roll out EchoView, an iSCSI-based appliance that the company claims can completely eliminate backup windows by automatically mirroring data the instant it's created or changed.

The device uses host-based software agents that send data via iSCSI -- a standard protocol for sending block-level storage over IP -- to the EchoView server, allowing it to restore a given data set from any point in time. EchoView can also then back up the data to tape, offloading this task from application servers.

"It provides continuous data protection, so it eliminates the risk window where data has been created but not backed up," says Bill Chait, senior product marketing manager for EchoView.

The new StorageTek backup appliance represents the confluence of two major trends in the storage networking industry: IP storage and disk-based backup. Less-expensive disk storage and iSCSI are allowing vendors to deliver new and more cost-effective ways to protect data (see Disk Backup 101 and IP SANs: Coming of Age).

The first EchoView family member, the E400, is slated to start shipping next month in limited quantities at a list price of $50,000. The E400 has about 900 Gbytes of raw disk storage, although StorageTek says the unit is able to protect between 200 and 400 Gbytes of data, depending on various factors including how frequently the data is updated and a user's data-retention policy. The E400, which is based on a PC server, provides up to ten Gigabit Ethernet ports and can monitor up to 50 volumes.

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