Using new software, users of EqualLogics PeerStorage Array 100E now will be able to integrate point-in-time snapshots into their applications, which can help organizations more easily manage storage area networks.
The modular iSCSI-based PeerStorage Array 100E allows users to build and manage an IP-based SAN. Each PeerStorage Array 100E supports up to 3.5 terabytes of storage capacity. Up to 32 arrays can be combined to form a scalable enterprise storage grid of more than 100 terabytes.
Auto-Snapshot Manager for Windows works with the PeerStorage Arrays snapshot features and a variety of third-party backup solutions to automate and improve backup-and-restore and data protection procedures, according to the company. The system automatically creates instant, point-in-time copies and stores them on a disk.
Instant point-in-time copies provide granular protection at various points of time, providing protection against mistakes, viruses or database corruption. If any of these occur, its fairly simple to revert to the last good "snap" and start again. Doing it this way could eliminate as much as 90 percent of the time needed to perform a restore versus traditional tape recovery methods, according to Steve Duplessie, senior analyst for The Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. of Milford, Mass.
The solution also helps simplify backup-and-restore and data protection procedures. It does so by putting the application and the data in a known good state and only then performing the "snap." "That way, if the snap needs to be used later, it comes up at an application-aware known good state, making it worthwhile, as opposed to a snap that the application still has to work on before it can be used," Duplessie explained.
The addition of Auto-Snapshot Manager for Windows will allow the IT department at TRI-AD, an Escondido, Calif.-based benefits consulting and administration service provider, much more flexibility with its backups, said IT Director Stephen Greenlee.
"We have people working around the clock, and we dont want to bring them down for a full backup. In the past, weve struggled with our backup windows shrinking smaller and smaller, which forced us into doing more incremental backups," Greenlee said. "This additional tool means we can tell it when we want to do a snapshot."
Auto-Snapshot also provides more backup options. "We have a legacy application that people work with 24 hours a day, and the only way to do a backup, since its a file-based database server, is for people to get out of the application," Greenlee explained. "With Auto-Snapshot Manager, we can schedule the snapshot while they are still in the application. They can continue to work, and we can back it up whenever we want. Its much more automated than it has been in the past."
And having multipath I/O capability as a standard feature—something that is possible now that both EqualLogic and Microsoft Corp. have the necessary functionality—may prove to be a great boon.
"It allows the SAN to continue to operate even in the event of a failure of some of the hardware pieces," Greenlee said. "If we lose one of our switches or one of the host bus adapters in the server, the other one will be able to automatically take over and route around the failure, keeping the system up until we can take it down at an appropriate time to fix the hardware failure."
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