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Revivio Vies for Backup Bucks

Is it time to ditch snapshots? Backup and restore startup Revivio Inc. claims that its new appliance offers the equivalent of streaming video of all data changes, allowing companies to retrieve data as it existed at any point in time.

The Lexington, Mass.-based company has been talking about its so-called time-addressable storage technology since it stepped out of stealth in June. Next week, it's planning to announce that it has started shipping an early-adopter version of its TimeFrame Data Protection System (see Revivio Starts Talking Continuously). Revivio says the appliance, which consists of its home-grown software loaded onto a standard Intel-based box, will be generally available in the second quarter of next year.

TimeFrame, the startup claims, takes a radically different approach from traditional snapshot technology. While snapshots are taken of an entire data set at regular intervals, Revivio says that its technology continuously backs up only the block-level changes made to the data. The software also time-stamps each change to the data, enabling users to retrieve a document as it existed at any point in time. With snapshots, if a document is damaged or destroyed, users have to revert to the last snapshot taken of their data -- possibly hours or even days earlier. Revivio, on the other hand, claims that its customers can simply return to the version of the data as it existed the second before the damage occurred.

By doing a real-time capture of every write, technologies like Revivio’s have the ability to quickly recover data and get an operation up and running,” says Enterprise Storage Group Inc. analyst Steve Kenniston.

And since Revivio’s appliance only backs up changes made to the data, instead of regularly taking a snapshot of the entire environment, it can also dramatically reduce the amount of data on the company’s storage, according to Kirby Wadsworth, Revivio’s vice president of marketing. He points out that one of the companies the startup’s been talking with discovered that only 20 percent of its storage was primary data. The remaining 80 percent consisted of duplicates of that data.

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