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Constant Data Plays Linux Card

Storage management software startup Constant Data Inc. has launched a new version of its host-based replication software, claiming it's the only product of its kind aimed at Linux environments -- although that's a differentiator it probably won't be able to trade on for very long.

The Minneapolis company, founded in early 2002, has been quietly shipping the first versions of its Constant Replicator software since last November. With the availability of the 3.0 version of the software, the company says it has greatly improved its replication of databases, large data sets, and rich media content. And unlike previous versions, the new software version guarantees write-order fidelity and transactional integrity, the company says.

While remote data replication used to be the prerogative of only very large businesses and institutions, a growing number of host-based replication offerings like Constant Data's are driving down the price of the technology and allowing even small businesses and remote offices to mirror their data offsite, thus safeguarding them from local outages or disasters (see our report on Data Protection).

Constant Data's software -- which runs on Linux, Solaris, and AIX -- allows companies to synchronously journal all file changes on their local application server, before asynchronously mirroring the data to a remote site. This ensures that the data is continuously backed up and that there is always a nearly up-to-date remote copy of the data. At the same time, processing at the primary site isn't slowed down from waiting for a receipt from the secondary site before continuing. And since the mirroring between sites doesn't have to be in sync, companies are free to send data over ordinary networks and use cheaper storage at their secondary site.

The software, which journals all changes in real time, doesn't have to go through the file systems and can therefore easily scale, says Paul Sustman, Constant Data's president and founder. "The benefit is that it works as fast with 10 Mbytes as with 10 Tbytes of data," he says. "Scaleability is the main advantage of a real-time system."

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