XOsoft Gives Tape Backup a Boost

Data Rewinder works well for a first release but needs undo capabilities.

The days of relying on tape backup alone for data protection are over because data is more important than ever now, and downtime has evolved from being an embarrassing situation to a business-threatening one. With that in mind, XOsoft Inc.s Data Rewinder software utility gives IT managers added protection for their data.

Data Rewinder

XOsofts first-edition Data Rewinder provides an additional layer of protection when coupled with the traditional tape-backup tools in smaller shops. Using Data Rewinder, IT managers can easily roll back data volumes to times before a data corruption event. At $995 for a standard Data Rewinder server license and $2,395 per Advanced server license, Data Rewinder is less expensive than hardware-based solutions. XOsoft can be reached at www.xosoft.com.
















  • PRO: Fairly easy to use; no additional hardware purchase necessary.
  • CON: No undo capabilities; interoperability is somewhat limited.

• StorageTeks EchoView • Mercury Interactive Corp.s Astra LoadTest • Segue Software Inc.s Silktest

In the near future, eWEEK Labs believes IT managers should expect a flurry of data protection solutions such as Data Rewinder and XOsofts complementary WANSync 3.5 (see Snapshot, below) to enter the market as solutions that provide an additional layer of security to traditional tape backup.

In our tests, Data Rewinder, which shipped in June, ably kept track of transactions in real time and wrote them into journals. When we introduced a data corruption or a simple accidental deletion of data, Data Rewinder simply rolled back data changes (using the journal as reference) and restored a server data volume back to its previous uncorrupted state (see screen).

The drawback to this is that the data-rewind operation is irreversible. In contrast, Storage Technology Corp.s $50,000 EchoView appliance and snapshot-type solutions, although usually more expensive, provide the option of mounting an image of a volume and restoring specific files from that, instead of just rewinding back to a point in time.

We believe Data Rewinder would be a good choice for IT managers in smaller shops who are looking for a point solution to protect a couple of key servers.

Data Rewinder is less expensive than hardware-based solutions because sites neednt purchase additional hardware (in the form of iSCSI adapters and appliances). A Standard Data Rewinder server is priced at $995 per license; Advanced Server is $2,395 per license. The Standard and Advanced nomenclature depends on the software edition that the site is running. (For example, Standard edition Exchange would take a standard license, whereas Enterprise edition Exchange would require an advanced license.)

Considering that Data Rewinder is a first release, it has a fairly decent interoperability list—albeit one that must be improved in the future.

In its current state, Data Rewinder caters mostly to Windows shops (manager software runs only on Windows in this release), with some interoperability with Solaris 7 and 8. Specifically, there is support for Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server and Exchange, Oracle Corp.s Oracle (on Solaris and on Windows), and Windows and Solaris file servers.

Support for Linux and other varieties of Unix is in the works, according to XOsoft officials.

We tested Data Rewinder on Windows servers running SQL Server. Installation was fairly easy because Data Rewinder was able to auto-discover our database quickly. Once the SQL database was discovered, the management console made it easy to identify key components such as log files and filegroups that need protection.

The auto-discovery tool also worked well when run on an Exchange 2000 server and enabled us to easily see which resources needed protection.

Although Data Rewinders functionality is impressive, what it doesnt do is cause for concern. Specifically, there is no undo-type capability in this release, which means that if IT managers roll back too far, there is a chance they could lose transactions. Therefore, we suggest that IT departments be cautious with their rollbacks and choose a recent rewind point when restoring data to avoid this potential data loss.

Overall, the Data Rewinder package is similar in functionality to StorageTeks EchoView appliance, but it could be a more attractive choice for some shops because additional hardware is not necessary to run this software. (See eWEEK Labs review of the EchoView E4000 appliance at www.eWEEK.com/labslinks.)

Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be contacted at a href="mailto:henry_baltazar@ziffdavis.com">henry_baltazar@ziffdavis.com.