Continuous Data Protection vendor Availl Inc. has come up with yet another way to separate itself from the pack of CDP contenders with a new version of its software-based approach to backup.
Availl Backup 3.0 includes several new features that may serve to expand its applicability to many different types of organizations, including Availls target market of decentralized organizations.
New features include support for both online databases and data files; hot database backup; automatic failback and WAN optimization.
Providing automatic failback in addition to automatic failover can be particularly useful for distributed environments, where lag time when outages occur can result in the loss of data and productivity, said Craig Randall, vice president of operations at the Andover, Mass., company.
“Failover isnt uncommon—Site A fails and you can roll everything to a second site. But if you worked at that failover site for two days and your primary server comes up again, what do you do now?” he said. “We can fail those users back to the primary machine, and the data they worked on the failover machine will already be there. So when you come back to Machine A, even if you have just hit save on your failover site to save a file, youll see your change immediately on Machine A.”
Availl Backup 3.0 also supports both online databases and data files—something other CDP vendors usually dont have. Instead, some CDP vendors focus on backing up files, while others focus on backing up databases.
“The technology for backing up databases and files is fundamentally different, but weve put them in one architecture,” Randall said. “So you can back up everything at once.”
The ability to back up both files and databases in one product is a real differentiator for the company and helps distinguish it from its competitors, said Mike Fisch, director of storage and networking at Clipper Group Inc. of Wellesley, Mass.
“High-end CDP solutions often can do database backup, but its pretty unique in the midmarket category,” he said.
The newest version of Availl Backup also offers constant backup for databases as the database changes without impacting snapshot windows or performance; and the ability to back up an unlimited number of past versions, deleted files and point-in-time snapshots.
Like earlier versions, Availl Backup 3.0 is based on the companys WAFS (Wide Area File Services) technology, a unique approach to continuous data protection that has set the companys product apart since its introduction last year. The software sends only compressed files and those that have undergone changes since the last backup over the WAN.
The products grounding in WAFS makes it particularly attractive to decentralized organizations where remote locations must be backed up to a central site.
“WAFS gives us true CDP. We dont do a scan every minute or 30 seconds, but in true real time,” Randall said. “If you have 50 offices around the world that all need to use a common set of data, we can provide true continuous backup over a wide area because of WAFS.”
Although Availl Backup 3.0 currently works only in the Microsoft Corp. environment, Randall said the company plans to expand into Linux and other Unix variants, and eventually tackle some of the proprietary storage systems on the market today, such as Network Appliance Inc.s Snap technology.