Asempra Beefs Up Business Continuity

Startup extends its Microsoft story with business continuity upgrade

July 21, 2008

3 Min Read
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Paul Korzeniowski, July 21, 2008, 11:45 AM

CDP specialist Asempra, which is a former Byte and Switch Top 10 startup, fleshed out its Microsoft story today in an attempt to reduce users risk of data loss.

Better performance and support for more Microsoft applications -- especially noteworthy is Exchange 2007 -- are the key enhancements in the latest release of the Asempra Business Continuity Server (BCS). The new features will satisfy existing customers’ needs, but questions remain about the vendor’s long-term viability.

Asempra has focused on delivering BCS capabilities to mid-sized companies -- those with 100 to 2,500 employees.

“Quick recovery time has been the secret sauce in Asempra’s product,” notes Lauren Whitehouse, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). The company’s differentiator is its virtualized recovery and data protection technology (Virtual On-Demand Recovery), which helps to make applications and data available in as little as 30 seconds rather than hours or even days.Asempra BCS also includes application failover, snapshot, replication, disk-based backup, and seamless tape backup features. “Mid-size[d] companies are now demanding enterprise-level storage features,” says Gary Gysin, Asempra's CEO. Vertical industries that have been interested in the technology include Websites, financial services, municipal governments, and special service firms, such as those working with oil and chemical companies.

The storage vendor has focused exclusively on the Microsoft Windows platform, and the new release supports Exchange 07 and SQL 2000 applications, as well as working with 64-bit processing. The new Exchange support is important because Asempra BCS is often used as companies migrate from new to old platforms. The risk of downtime and data loss is significant during such migrations, and the product helps to mitigate data loss.

Customers are often searching for more performance from their products, so that was also emphasized in the new version. Previously, Asempra BCS worked with 1 Tbyte of data per server and eight servers per BCS system; now, those numbers have been doubled. Pricing for the new server, which is currently available, begins at $19,500.

Asempra was one of many startup companies focused on delivering BCS features that emerged a few years ago. Atempo and Mimosa Systems are still standing tall, but many of the others have been acquired. Revivio was bought by Symantec; EMC spent $153 million for Kashya; and CA acquired XOsoft. In the current highly competitive environment, Asempra faces a few challenges as it tries to grow its business.

The company could be relying on Microsoft applications too much. “We have asked our customers about Linux, but they have been much more interested in having us expand our support to other Microsoft platforms,” notes Gysin, who says SharePoint support looms on the horizon. However, Microsoft has been adding a high-availability feature to Exchange and SQL Server with its Data Protection Manager (DPM) backup system.Also, rather than being sold as a standalone product, BCS functions are being integrated into other storage systems. Aware of this trend, Asempra recently signed reselling agreements with HDS, LeftHand Networks, and Bakbone Software, which have begun bundling Asempra BCS with their own products. “Perhaps one of its reselling agreements could evolve into an acquisition,” speculates ESG’s Whitehouse.

For the moment, such thinking is low on Asempra’s priority list. “Our focus now is on driving the company toward profitability,” states Gysin. The company hopes that its latest enhancements will help in that process.

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  • Asempra Technologies

  • Atempo Inc.

  • BakBone Software Inc.

  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • LeftHand Networks Inc.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Mimosa Systems Inc.

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