SteelEye expands into growing CDP market

Written By:
Content Copyright © 2007 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

Steeleye Technology’s Data Replication software for Windows was added to its product set last week, and includes continuous data protection (CDP). Its move also reflects an increasing user awareness and acceptance of CDP which is now being used quite widely instead of more traditional backup and recovery procedures.

CDP has a particular attraction for companies carrying out high volumes of updating or needing to maintain 24×7 services. Among the advantages of CDP are that no backup window is needed because it is an ongoing background process in which a record of every transaction that takes place is preserved. If an error occurs which causes data corruption, and the problem is not immediately spotted, it is then still possible to go back to almost any past time-point and re-establish good data.

However it introduces some complications—and SteelEye has spent some time addressing these.

One obvious one is where to roll back to when you have an almost infinite choice of restart points and you don’t know exactly how far back a data corruption actually occurred. To assist in this scenario, SteelEye has included a data recovery wizard with a visual bar in ‘traffic lights’ colours showing the time-period when the data is known to have been OK (green), the uncertainty period (amber) and the definitely corrupted period (red).

Background testing that narrows down the amber time window can then speed problem identification and recovery. Within this, an ability to move forward and back between recovery time-points (rather than only in one direction) is uniquely offered by SteelEye at present. Then, after the data has been successfully recovered, the wizard will automatically re-establish it on the production system(s), which it can do by being integrated into SteelEye’s flagship LifeKeeper high availability clustering software. In fact, LifeKeeper Protection Suite for Windows Server bundles in SteelEye Data Replication.

Also not commonly offered is an ability to provide backup from a physical or virtual host to a number of different destinations at once, including a mix of local and remote sites. This widens the software’s appeal as it means, for instance, that one remote copy could be used as part of a disaster recovery (DR) procedure; then further copies might continuously feed remote locations with up-to-date reference information.

However, this runs a little counter to efforts to reduce the number of copies of software, but this could be considerably mitigated if SteelEye added an integrated de-duplication function.

In summary, SteelEye Data Replication using CDP, integrated with LifeKeeper, would seem to have a good deal going for it. The arrival of a Linux version later in the year will add to this attraction, allowing SteelEye to span enterprises where the mix of Linux and Windows is significant. Meanwhile, the rise of CDP continues unabated.