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CDP Delivers Backup Package

Prairie Packaging went looking for a SAN and wound up with a continuous data protection (CDP) system.

The Bedford Park, Ill.-based manufacturer of foam and plastic products started this serendipitous journey because it had too much important data on direct attached storage to retrieve from its tape backups in case of disaster. IT director Manny Singh says he wanted a SAN for snapshots to improve backups of about 1 Tbyte of data.

Singh looked at EMC Symmetrix and IBM Shark enterprise systems last November, and evaluated backup software from the leading vendors for snapshots. He found them all flawed. Prairies DAS setup includes servers from Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun, running Windows, Sun Solaris, Linux, and Mac operating systems.

SAN vendors couldn’t get their systems to work with all that, and Singh figured out snapshots weren’t the answer anyway for his Oracle databases and ERP systems. “We had to put Oracle in standby mode, and take the snapshot,” he says. “But we couldn’t do without Oracle for the five minutes we were in standby mode.”

Snapshots also leave gaps in protection. “If a corruption happens at 9:32, I want to go back to 9:31,” Singh says. “With snapshots, I had to go back to the last hour -- or do snapshots every minute, which isn’t realistic.”

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