By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2004-01-19 Print this article Print

Fujitsu Software Technology Corp.s powerful Softek Replicator provides block-level data replication for Unix and Windows platforms, providing a heterogeneous solution that can help IT managers at organizations with diverse networks. In eWEEK Labs tests, Softek Replicator, which began shipping last month, was easy to implement on Windows- and Solaris-based systems and was extremely flexible. (HP-UX and AIX are supported as well, with Linux support coming next quarter.)

In terms of capabilities and price, Softek Replicator fits between hardware-based replication solutions such as EMC Corp.s Symmetrix Remote Data Facility and less-expensive software-based solutions such as NSI Software Inc.s Double-Take.

Softek Replicator ranges in price from $2,300 for single-processor systems to $40,000 for high-end systems with 16 or more processors. In contrast, Double-Take works only on Windows and Solaris platforms and is priced from $2,495 to roughly $7,000 (for the Solaris version with a one-year maintenance agreement).

Softek Replicator is considerably less expensive to implement than hardware-based systems because it lets users replicate data from primary sites to any other type of storage device, be it an expensive Fibre Channel array or an inexpensive ATA- or SCSI-based disk array.

We wouldnt recommend using Softek Replicator in place of hardware solutions to replicate data with high-transaction volumes, where symmetric replication is necessary. However, we believe it is more than adequate for the vast majority of applications below that level.

Softek Replicator software costs considerably more than other host-based software solutions, putting it beyond the reach of most small businesses and IT managers with tight budgets. Nevertheless, Softek Replicators functionality and ease of management should justify its price for midsize companies and enterprises.

Besides providing greater interoperability, Softek Replicator differs from Double-Take in that it provides block-level replication of volumes. (Double-Take is a file-level solution.) This difference means that Softek Replicator is a better choice for servers that create a large number of small files because an IT manager just has to set up replication for a data volume.

Softek Replicators useful checkpoint feature allows IT managers to freeze a volume replica so that it can be backed up without losing consistency. When the checkpoint is in use, incoming transactions are stored in a transaction journal, side by side with the replica.

In addition to standard one-to-one replication, Softek Replicator supports many-to-one replication (where several servers replicate to one target server), which is good for consolidating replicated data to an off-site target server. It also supports one-to-many replication (where a server replicates data to several target servers), which is useful for IT managers who want to replicate an important server to several target sites.

The management interface for Softek Replicator was easy to use, but in its current state, it is not tightly integrated with Fujitsu Softeks other products, such as Storage Manager or Provisioner. Fujitsu Softek is working on improving integration for future releases, officials said. Such integration will allow IT managers to use a single console for all their supplier relationship management tasks, provisioning and replication chores.

Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at henry_baltazar@ziffdavis.com.


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