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01:23 PM
David Hill
David Hill
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Intel/InMage Delivers Business Continuity to the Lilliputian Server World

Many IT vendors tend to focus on the mid-market to enterprise market space, yet there is a sizable SMB market where customers actively purchase physical servers on a one-at-a-time basis. This might be called (in fond memory of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels) the Lilliputian server market.

Obviously, Intel takes a server-centric approach to systems, but that is the way that server administrators view it, as well. Since the company provides the motherboard, it can use its board management controller to monitor events and report alerts to an IT administrator, such as when a temperature exceeds a given threshold. This is an example (as part of an overall integration with the other two components of SCS, as well) of managing "Predictive Failure," which informs a server administrator when the system might go down. This allows the administrator to take preemptive corrective action to prevent or minimize application unavailability and thus avoid a negative business continuity impacting event.

The second component is RAID management. The server system includes hard disk drives (HDDs) as direct attached storage (DAS). RAID provides the necessary redundancy to overcome a mechanical hard drive failure — another potential business continuity impacting event. Intel has collaborated with LSI to provide this capability.

The third component is data protection which InMage, a software company that specializes in application and data recovery, provides to Intel SCS. Although InMage does not have the name recognition of some other companies, it has long had a strong disk-based application and data protection strategy built on a concept called continuous data protection (CDP) that is both simple and elegant, performing all that data deduplication promises and even more. As the Intel SCS Data Protection Manager, there is no backup window, no scheduled backups, and no performance hit. Recovery can be at any point in time.

The term that InMage uses is to “rewind” your data rather than “recover” or ‘restore” it, and leverages a virtual view technology to accomplish this. Where RAID provides physical data protection, virtual view technology enables recovery from logical data protection problems, such as a virus attack. With virtual view, an IT administrator can roll back to a point before a virus attack, a bad patch, or an improper software install. Though end users may inadvertently delete an old document or e-mail, the administrator has the ability to do a fine-grained search to recover only what was missing. Since fine-grained recovery is the one most often needed, why should you spend time recovering the haystack when you only want to recover the needle (and already know where it is)?

All three Intel SCS components are integrated and managed through a common graphical user interface (GUI). Now, all GUIs are not created equal. This is particularly the case with Intel’s GUI, which focuses on visualization and real graphics that take advantage of the human ability to process patterns easily with the eyes, rather than text, which may be beloved by accountants, but may not easily convey information to IT administrators.

Hmmm, Intel SCS’s GUI appears to be a simple approach to overcoming and even dissolving apparent complexity.

David Hill is principal of Mesabi Group LLC, which focuses on helping organizations make complex IT infrastructure decisions simpler and easier to understand. He is the author of the book "Data Protection: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance." View Full Bio
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