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EMC: Not CDP, But Close

As a preemptive strike to major storage announcements from Symantec and Microsoft next week, EMC said it has rewritten its RepliStor software to execute several point-in-time copies data from files and applications.

Version 6.1 of RepliStor, which EMC usurped when it purchased Legato Systems, copies files housed in Microsoft Windows systems, avoiding data loss at remote offices or central locations.

The software makes identical sets of data available to servers over a network, creating Exchange 2003 snapshots on a secondary server without impacting the system.

To do this, it integrates with Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), providing consistent snapshots and making data available on the secondary server. This enables data recoverability in case of a disaster or file corruption on the primary server.

RepliStor 6.1 will be available in the fourth quarter, starting at $1,650 per server.

Continuous data protection (CDP) is a rapidly emerging area of data protection in which vendors promise customers they will save data without losing a single file. CDP is designed to fend off outages from natural disasters, malicious attacks on computers or simple file corruption.

Fine-grained recovery across great distances is why CDP is popular. Thanks to tough corporate record retention regulations, companies fear misplacing, losing or destroying even a single document that may be subpoenaed for court in litigation.

By adding point-in-time capabilities to RepliStor 6.1, Rob Emsley, product director for EMC Software, said EMC has achieved near CDP on Windows servers.

"We believe continuous data protection is a term that seems to be getting used very broadly by the competition," Emsley said. He said EMC would announce a more fleshed out CDP vision next month, which is rumored to include a reseller deal with CDP startup Mendocino.

"We absolutely believe that as we go forward into the fourth quarter, that what we intend to deliver to the market fits a little more with the more educated definition of what continuous data protection is," Emsley said. "Our belief is that RepliStor today is very much that for that Windows-based, commercial SMB market."

EMC will face a raft of competition.

In New York next week, Symantec will launch its new Backup Exec software, configured for CDP and code-named Panther, while Microsoft will launch the complete version of Data Protection Manager.

Both products have been in beta for months, and IBM and several startups already have products in the market.