CDP + Replication = DR

How two firms found DR, one application at a time

January 4, 2007

3 Min Read
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Companies are increasingly finding a combination of continuous data protection (CDP) and replication can make for a solid disaster recovery plan. (See Insider: Trio Takes DR to Next Level.)

Just ask two customers who've adopted "CDP-plus" to streamline their applications:

TNCI is a Boston-based voice and data telecommunications firm that set up twin 1-TByte EqualLogic IP SANs onsite and offsite last July to replicate applications for disaster recovery. (See Mimosa Powers TNCI.) The firm quickly got its financial applications up and replicating -- but email was another matter.

Network administrator Michael DiBenedetto wanted a way to do more than replicate email. He needed to manage, archive, and protect his Exchange store for disaster recovery. He found a way to do it with Mimosa System's NearPoint, which uses continuous data protection (CDP) and single-instance storage to manage and archive Exchange for rapid recovery. (See Mimosa Expands Data Management .)

NearPoint lets TNCI recover individual mailboxes, emails, or a full database in case of disaster or a mere user error. DiBenedetto says it also reduces his recovery point objective from 24 hours to minutes. It also eliminates .PST files, uploading email files directly into its archive. TNCI replicates the Mimosa repository offsite for full Exchange DR.Mimosa's Mailbox Extension feature replaces Exchange attachments with a small stub file, which reduces the amount of storage required. When users click on an attachment in Outlook, NearPoint retrieves it from its archive.

"We store hefty items in the Mimosa repository, leave the text and messaging in place in Exchange, and call the two together when we need them," DiBenedetto says. "That reduces our Exchange database by about 30 percent across the board. People commonly use mail for storage and file transfer [through attachments]. We pull those pieces out and let Exchange do what it was designed for -- messaging."

He says he considered using hosted services for email, but they were "cost prohibitive" for the amount of data TNCI has in Exchange -- the 100-person company has about 100 Gbytes of email data.

DiBenedetto also considered GFI Software's MailArchiver, but he picked Mimosa because he liked its Outlook integration better. Also, it is agentless, and pricing is a flat fee -- ranging from $9,995 for 100 users to $40 per mailbox for more than 2,000 users. DiBenedetto says the cost was substantially less than outsourcing.

TNCI outsources backup to service provider AmeriVault. Because the telecom firm pays by the gigabyte, using Mimosa saves money on backup."We have no tape," DiBenedetto says. "When we back up our message store to AmeriVault, we pay by the gig. If we reduce our Exchange store, it costs less to restore."

Salt Lake City, Utah-based workers' compensation claim management firm, WorkingRx, is also discovering CDP and replication can provide disaster recovery one application at a time. CFO Luke Saban says his company identified a business continuity plan as a key initiative last year. He considered virtualization software from DataCore before settling on InMage DR-Scout to replicate data. (See InMage Unveils DR Appliance.) The first application to go online was the firm's core billing application running with SQL Server.

Saban says InMage's CDP and replication combination provided a better working and less expensive alternative to storage virtualization. WorkingRx couldn't afford to wait for virtualization to mature, he says.

"We view this as a cost of doing business," Saban says. "It's a requirement to maintain our mission critical applications and thus customer confidence. We believe we will reap cost savings on hardware procurement related to server replacement over time, but it's hard to put a cost factor on our business continuity plan."

WorkingRx has about 1 Tbyte on EMC Clariion SANs. Saban says he expects to use DR-Scout to help migrate his billing application when he upgrades this year. "This should be a big asset for data migration, to upgrade our application and consolidate storage."Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

  • AmeriVault Corp.

  • DataCore Software Corp.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • EqualLogic Inc.

  • GFI Software Ltd.

  • InMage Systems Inc.

  • Mimosa Systems Inc.

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