CoreProtect Brings Server-Class Backup To The PC

Infrastructure Development's CoreProtect division recently made available a version of its CoreRestore card in chip form, offering "autonomic" hardware backup capabilities to OEMs and system integrators.

In June, Infrastructure Development Corp.s CoreProtect division began offering CoreRestore, a PC card that could quickly restore a users hard drive using a protected partition. Now, the company has decided to offer that same protection to OEMs, system integrators and even hard-drive makers through the "CoreChipset".

The CoreChipset can be mounted to the back of a hard drive or on the motherboard, walling off up to half of the hard drive in a low-level protected section of data. The chip essentially acts as a hardwired version of Microsofts System Restore, allowing PCs to reset themselves according to the data in the protected sector.

Although the company isnt touting itself as an antivirus solution, an end user could simply roll the system back to an unifected state using the protected partition.

"The beauty of this is that lets say I use it at home, while my 9-year-old does something like download Kazaa," said Tim La Fazia, the companys president and chief executive officer. "Now something like a virus permeates the system. All I do is reboot and its gone."

CoreChipset can run in two modes: "Kiosk Mode", where the PC reboots itself every time from the protected partition, and "LiveDisk". Using LiveDisk, a developer can use the unprotected portion of the disk as a laboratory environment, testing new applications while rebooting the system.

Once the developer is assured that the application is safe, it can be added to the protected partition, La Fazia said.

Using the companys proprietary low-level formatting algorithms, up to half of the hard disk – including applications, data, and operating systems, including the registry—can be partitioned from the rest of the drive. If an application tries to access that portion of the disk, the request gets shunted away to a "scratch pad" where the data gets pulled from the unprotected portion of the disk. The system ID remains on the hard drive, so even applications that do some low-level hardware verification will still function, La Fazia said.

"We become the controller for the hard drive," La Fazia said. "We have our own microprocessor, and were not taking any resources away from the PC."

CoreChipset works with both parallel and serial ATA hard drives, but not SCSI. "We looked at (CoreChipset) as more of a desktop solution, not a server issue," La Fazia said.

The CoreRestore card costs $149.97; La Fazia and other CoreProtect representatives declined to answer repeated requests for the CoreChipsets price. The company hasnt ruled out selling the CoreConnect chip as a chunk of IP code, allowing hard-drive makers from integrating it into their existing designs, La Fazia said.