SunGard Launches Secure2Disk Online Backup Solution
Published: June 9, 2009
by Alex Woodie
SunGard's Availability Services unit last week launched Secure2Disk, a new online solution designed to back up and store data from i OS, Windows, Unix, and Linux servers. The new appliance-based offering helps protect vital customer data by storing de-duplicated and encrypted copies of backups at SunGard facilities, and costs about the same as a tape-based backup system, the software and services giant says. SunGard also announced its top 10 tips for dealing with hurricane season.
While disk-based backup has been widely used in the larger IT market for years, there appears to be a surge of interest in the technology occurring right now in the cloistered IBM i (i5/OS) community. A number of vendors are selling disk-based backup solutions (sometimes referred to as D2D, D2D2T, or virtual tape libraries [VTLs]) that work with the Power Systems (iSeries) server, including Crossroads Systems, EMC, FalconStor, Gresham Enterprise Storage, LaserVault, LXI, and others.
The Secure2Disk appliance works pretty much like a VTL or D2D system. It looks just like a tape drive to the System i server it connects to, which reduces complexity and disruption to existing backup processes. (The offering may support other file system interface mechanisms for backing up Windows servers).
Like a VTL, Secure2Disk takes advantage of the higher performance of disk compared to all but the newest tape systems (LTO 4 comes closest to disk-like speed) to help speed the actual backups. Like many VTL offerings, Secure2Disk can de-duplicate, compress, and encrypt backup data to boost the performance and security over basic tape-based backup streams. And lastly, like many VTLs, Secure2Disk can replicate backups at high speed over a network to a secure, off-site location--in this case, a big honking SAN array running at a SunGard facility.
What separates SunGard's new Secure2Disk offerings from these VTLs and D2D systems is SunGard's expertise in disaster recovery services, and its considerable investment in data centers, servers, and personnel. Instead of requiring a customer to move its data offsite and have a second data center that can support the customer in the event of a disaster--or to provision new servers and office space on short notice--the use of SunGard's facilities and personnel is part and parcel of the Secure2Disk offering. In that respect, Secure2Disk is very different from your basic VTL offering.
The Secure2Disk offering, however, does not include provisions for access to SunGard's recovery services. Users can sign up for this service through the vendor's Secure2Disk AdvancedRecovery program.
SunGard previously offered an online backup option that would use the Internet to send data from servers for storage at SunGard facilities. For iSeries and System i servers, SunGard utilized an agent-based backup product from EVault (now called i365 and part of Seagate).
The big difference between Secure2Disk and the EVault offering is that Secure2Disk utilizes an on-premise X64-based storage appliance to buffer the backup output from the System i (eServer i5) servers, whereas EVault uses an i OS (OS/400)-based agent to replicate data from the server directly across the line to SunGard's SAN.
While the onsite disk-based approach introduces another server that requires care and feeding to the data center, it brings advantages in the areas of speeding the backup, as well as speeding the recovery of data, since a copy of the backup is on premise.
SunGard partnered with Asigra in the development of Secure2Disk. Asigra, which calls itself a developer of "hybrid cloud" backup and recovery software, developed the software for Secure2Disk, and SunGard provided everything else, a SunGard spokesperson confirmed. About two years ago, Asigra introduced support for i5/OS with its flagship Televaulting DS-System offering.
SunGard Availability Services also unveiled its top 10 list of tips for hurricane preparedness. The annual hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 15. Government forecasters foresee a normal hurricane season, with a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes.
Highlights of the list include:
- Regularly test your disaster recovery plan
- Revisit and reassign responsibilities
- Make sure your notification system is up-to-date
- Put your people first
- Don't wait to relocate
- Don't forget about your technology
- Keep your vendor list current
- Consider the impact outside of your organization
- Evaluate readiness and completeness of offsite data storage
- Take the guesswork out of server recovery
Pricing for Secure2Disk is based on the size of the backup SunGard maintains for the customer, and ranges from $2 to $6 per gigabyte. Users must have iSeries Access installed to use Secure2Disk. For more details on SunGard's top 10 list of tips and more information on Secure2Disk, see www.availability.sungard.com.
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