Arkeia Does Windows

Startup's new backup software could relieve Windows server headaches

February 16, 2006

3 Min Read
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Startup Arkeia Software unveiled new disaster recovery software for Windows today in an attempt to ease the strain on enterprises struggling with their Windows servers. (See Arkeia Debuts DR for Windows.)

For some time now, users have been scratching their heads about recovering their data from Windows machines, confronted with a slew of products from third parties such as DataCore Software Corp., NSI Software, and Hewlett-Packard, not to mention an extremely complex Windows environment. (See Microsoft Storage Puzzles.)

Windows backups are nothing new, although Arkeia claims to be stretching this particular envelope, offering to back up not just Windows files, but the accompanying operating system, boot partitions, master records, and system registries.

Nicholas Brenckle, facilities manager at New Haven, Conn.-based service provider DSL.Net, tells Byte and Switch that this type of technology meets a real need. The recovery process for Windows is confusing because of the registries and all the files that are involved,” he explains, adding that a system crash at the moment involves a laborious rebuild of the machine.

Other backup challenges that users face include the fact that the Windows OS is much more tightly linked with an application than would be, say, a Unix machine. Additionally, while users have clamored for better Windows security, those new features make something like backup more cumbersome.Brenckle told Byte and Switch that he is looking forward to getting hold of Arkeia’s new Windows product. “If it works the same as [Arkeia’s] Linux disaster recovery, that would be wonderful,” he says. “It’s almost mindless -- you put the CD in, you let it boot, you tell it which server crashed, and it fixes it.”

Jon Toigo, CEO of Toigo Partners, says that successful Windows backups are few and far between right now. “I know of one agency that prints a lot checks for the government that has about 800 Windows servers,” he says, without naming names. “They have never successfully backed up their server environment.”

Arkeia, he adds, could make a name for itself with its new product. “Everybody is trying to skin that particular cat,” he says, adding that the startup’s new Windows product is “well worth a look,” for IT managers under pressure.

But, in many ways, it is still early days for the startup’s Windows strategy. Dave Elliot, Arkeia’s business development director, says that, initially, the new product will only support Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), which provides snapshots to back up applications and storage equipment. Support for Microsoft’s Multi-Path I/O (MPIO), which lets servers balance traffic, and Virtual Disk Service (VDS), which provides an interface for managing disk volumes, will come later. “Our development team is working on the methods for this,” he says.

Other Arkeia users feel that this is a natural progression for the startup. “With this Windows announcement, they are filling out and maturing,” says Wayne Bradford, systems engineer at the University of Utah’s center for high-performance computing, which uses Arkeia to back up its Unix and Linux servers.”Historically, they didn’t have a lot of the features that a lot of the bigger products have,” he says, such as Tivoli’s database hot backup feature. “They didn’t even have a MAC client until a couple of years ago.”

Arkeia’s disaster recovery for Windows, which will be available Thursday, costs $600 per server.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Arkeia Corp.

  • DataCore Software Corp.

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • NSI Software Inc.

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