Asigra Debuts Remote, Agent-Less Backup for iSeries
March 13, 2007 Alex Woodie
Asigra this month unveiled a new release of its remote disk-to-disk (D2D) backup solution that offers improved support for the iSeries server. With Televaulting version 6.2, Asigra hopes to persuade multi-site iSeries shops to drop the tape juggling act and make the switch to a network-based backup solution that it claims simplifies and speeds the backup process.
Asigra is a Toronto, Ontario, company that has been developing remote backup products for 20 years. The company previously offered support for AS/400s, but had not kept up with IBM‘s developments until the release of Televaulting version 6.2, which also added support for remote agent-less backups.
Televaulting is composed of two components, including a server component and a client component. The server component, called Televaulting DS-System, installs on Windows or Linux servers located in the main data center, and manages the SAN or NAS disk storage holding the volumes of backup data sent from the remote sites. The client component, called Televaulting DS-Client, installs on Windows, Linux, or Mac clients running at remote sites, and acts as a proxy to Televaulting DS-System for performing backups and restores on iSeries, Windows, Linux, Unix, and NetWare servers.
In iSeries environments, Televaulting DS-Client installs next to iSeries Access for Windows or iSeries Access for Linux, and uses iSeries Access’ controls to perform backup and restore operations on connected iSeries servers. DS-Client takes advantage of the work IBM has done to expose OS/400 and i5/OS backup APIs through iSeries Access, and provides its own Java interface (accessed remotely from the data center) on top of those integration points.
iSeries shops can use the same DS-Client device that is backing up their iSeries servers to provide backup and restore services to other types of servers in their offsite locations, which is the whole point of Asigra’s agent-less approach. After all, it wouldn’t be much of a benefit to have an agent-less backup if each server required its own workstation to perform backups and restores.
The first time a backup is performed against a server, the entire system is backed up–a time-consuming task that is sometimes best served by directly backing up to disk and then moving that disk to the data center. However, with each subsequent backup, only the changed data is backed up, thereby reducing the amount of data sent across the wire. Before backups are sent to the data center, DS-Client runs de-duplication routines against the data to ensure it’s not re-sending the same piece of data. The software then compresses the backup and encrypts it before sending it across the WAN to be safeguarded by DS-System.
The big benefit of a remote D2D solution like Televaulting is the elimination of reliance on tapes, says Eran Farajun, executive vice president for Asigra. “Basically the business problem it solves is it doesn’t require customers to have tape, tape, tape at all these remote office locations, and then Iron Mountain going to each location to take the tapes offsite,” he says.
Farajun says the majority of Asigra’s 10,000-plus customers are organizations with more than five remote locations. “After five or more, that’s where the pain starts to get acute,” he says. “You can do a good job juggling tape at up to five sites. But after five sites, you’re going to start dropping balls.”
A resurgence in interest in IBM’s modern iSeries and System i servers spurred Asigra, which owns three OS/400 and i5/OS servers for development purposes, to modernize its offering. “There’s a bit of a revitalization,” Farajun says. “It seems that IBM is pushing the machine a little bit stronger of late. And there’s a huge amount of data sitting on these machines.”
New chipsets and capabilities recently introduced with the System i has spurred interest in this venerable midrange platform, Farajun says. “There seems to be a lot of customers upgrading into it,” he says. “For us it’s knowing the old AS/400 customers are moving to System i. We see this migration as a trigger for a new way to protect the data. We’d like to be there when customers are making the migration to System i, to back up their data, instead of using tape backups.”
Televaulting version 6.2 supports OS/400 and i5/OS V5R2 and higher. The product is priced based on the amount of compressed and de-duplicated backup data is stored on the DS-System servers. Pricing starts at $11,250, and increases $750 for every 1 TB of compressed and de-duplicated data. For more information, visit www.asigra.com.