Simply Continuous Aims to Narrow 'Recovery Gap' with DR Solution
Published: December 1, 2009
by Alex Woodie
Simply Continuous recently unveiled a new release of its online disaster recovery (DR) offering, Data Recovery Vault, that allows users to recover the most important data first. Called RecoverNow, the new offering gives users the tools to decide which data sets are the most crucial and should be restored first--an important issue in the first minutes following a disaster. The company, which has been offering its online DR offering since June, also supports OS/400 data through Laservault.
Simply Continuous was founded in San Francisco in 2006 with the goal of filling what its founders, CEO Tom Frangione and CTO Chris Eidler, saw as a "recovery gap." The two recognized that big enterprises with a lot of money can afford the expense of maintaining a warm site, either through providers like Sungard and IBM BCRS (or roll-your-own high availability replication). Smaller organizations can't afford the luxury of duplicating critical IT infrastructure components, and instead are basing their DR strategy upon a plan that protects their data (through the various online backup vendors like i365 and Mozy), but doesn't offer a whole lot in the way of guaranteed speedy recovery in the event of a disaster.
The company aimed to fill that "gap" with an affordable, full-service recovery solution that starts with online data backups, and continues to data and application recovery through server and data center resources that Simply Continuous rents to its customers. And it saw an opportunity to use technological advances in the areas of data de-duplication, WAN acceleration, and server virtualization to help get them there.
The Simply Continuous platform, called the Data Recovery Vault, is based upon storage devices made by Data Domain, the data de-duplication vendor that was recently snapped up by EMC. A customer's data is backed up to the Data Domain appliance, and it is then replicated over the Internet to Simply Continuous' data center in Phoenix, Arizona. In the event of a disaster or other loss of data, the customer can recover its data either by replicating it directly to its Data Domain appliance, by downloading it from the Simply Continuous Web portal, or by having a replacement appliance loaded with the data shipped back to the customer.
With last month's delivery of Data Recovery Vault 2.0, Simply Continuous has driven a lot more smarts into the recovery process. The company has released a new recovery tool called RecoverNow that provides a set of tools for performing what-if analysis upon the data stored in Simply Continuous' vault, and allows users to browse through the remote vault, and segment files by date, by type, and by size. The software will then tell them how long it will take to recover that data, and Simply Continuous will write a service level agreement (SLA) that guarantees that recovery time--a feature the company calls Dynamic SLA.
RecoverNow will be especially useful to customers that are in a hurry to recover after a disaster or loss of data, which is most customers, according to CTO Eidler.
"When you're recovering data, especially in a disaster, customers typically don't need everything they've ever stored offsite to be returned to them immediately in order to bring their operations back up," he says. "They need some subsets. Sometimes it's just as simple as 'Send me the last two weeks of data.' Sometimes it's a little more complex.
"What we're doing now is offering customers the ability to accelerate their recovery process by being able to filter the contents of their vault for the purposes of putting only that data that they specified in a recovery appliance, and that recovery appliance is then shipped back to the customer in a much faster timeframe," Eidler says.
The capability to view backed up data by file size, type, and age allows Simply Continuous customers to restore critical data faster than was possible before.
Simply Continuous expects customers to warmly receive the capability to get increased visibility into backed up data. "Absent our tool, you're going to have to come up with a way to view that data yourselves," Eidler says. "Most enterprises are using more than one backup technique. Whatever tool they have in place--whether it's TSM, BackupExec, maybe old legacy NetBackup, custom scripts, or job controls written over the years--what we have learned is this is the only view that administrators have across those tools."
The RecoverNow function can also be used with i OS and i5/OS data, Eidler says. This arrangement requires the use of LaserVault's i OS-based content management software to serve as the interface between the System i and the Data Domain appliance, Eidler says. The company is currently negotiating its first System i contract, the vendor says.
RecoverNow and DynamicSLA are currently in beta with Data Recovery Vault 2.0, with availability expected in mid-December. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.simplycontinuous.com.
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