EMC Tiptoes Toward CDP

Looks to steal Microsoft's thunder with RepliStor update that supports 'near-CDP'

September 22, 2005

3 Min Read
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Before entering the Continuous Data Protection (CDP) fray, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) will launch a near-CDP product next month.

EMC today announced plans to upgrade its RepliStor Windows-based asynchronous replication progam, giving it capabilities similar to Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Data Protection Manager (DPM).

Like DPM, Replistor 6.1 doesnt claim to be CDP, which records all changes to data for recovery at any point in time. Instead, RepliStor and DPM allow recovery from the last snapshot, which could be an hour or more ago.

Like a range of other software packages, both products use Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to create point-in-time copies of data on the host server (see Microsoft Storage Puzzles). In the case of RepliStor 6.1, that means users can create and recover snapshots of file systems and Exchange. Each product uses its own replication technology to copy the snapshots to other servers. If the main server fails or data gets corrupted, customers can restore from one of the snapshots. EMC supports remote replication; Microsoft doesn't.

EMC is working on CDP, but Rob Emsley, director of EMC software product marketing, says frequent snapshots and replication are adequate protection for Replistor’s SMB customer base.EMC will announce its enterprise CPD product in October, and it is built at least partly around technology acquired from CDP startup Mendocino Software (see Mendocino Cops $18M and CDP: An OEM Game).

Meanwhile, EMC has released a "me too" product that doesn't break any new ground. If anything, RepliStor puts EMC on a par with early CDP-like products from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC).

There's a number of similar products from others as well. Constant Data Inc.'s Constant Replicator, NSI Software Inc.'s Double Take, and Softek Storage Solutions Inc.'s Replicator already do Windows-based replication and rapid restore of applications (see NSI Protects MSFT Exchange , Constant Data Replicates SQL Server, Constant Data Replicates Exchange, and Softek Enhances DR Manager, Replicator).

Further, CDP vendors Lasso Logic, Mimosa Systems, Storactive Inc., and TimeSpring Software Corp. have SMB products that support Exchange (see Mimosa Covers Email, Lasso Logic Unveils CDP Appliance, Storactive Intros LiveServ for Exchange, and Microsoft Certifies TimeSpring).

So what's EMC's deal? Apparently, it's looking for one up on IBM, Microsoft, and Symantec.IBM last month announced IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files (see IBM Hops CDP Bus). Microsoft and Symantec next week will officially launch products that have been in beta testing for months: Microsoft will unveil its near-CDP DPM, and Symantec will add a CDP engine – code-named “Panther” -- to its Windows-Based Backup Exec application and (see Veritas Uncages Panther and Microsoft Backs Up on CDP Claim).

And here's the beef: All three restore files only, with support for Exchange and databases planned for future releases. “A lot of others are introducing version 1 products,” says Emsley. “But it isn’t just about file systems!”

RepliStor 6.1 will be available in the fourth quarter, priced at $1,650 per server. IBM Tivoli CDP for Files, Microsoft DPM, and Symantec’s Backup Exec with CDP are expected to ship in October, each for around $1,000 per server.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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