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Big Blue Embraces Online Backup

IBM will launch new services next month to help businesses backup and retrieve critical data for faster recovery from a disaster or outage.

IBM's new Electronic Data Management Services employ online, disk-based storage and retrieval systems as an alternative to the tape-based systems that have dominated corporate backup processes for decades. The services integrate backup, storage, retrieval and recovery into one efficient process.

"IBM's entry into the managed storage services market is significant in that it is one of the world's leading technology vendors and services organizations, and it is bringing both elements together here to offer solutions that can solve fundamental data protection problems," says Peter Gerr, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

Even though companies spend billions of dollars each year on data protection and backup and recovery solutions, they continue to struggle to complete backups on time and to ensure that they're giving the proper levels of protection and retention to their different data sets, Gerr told Enterprise Storage Forum. That's where services like IBM's come in, says Gerr.

IBM's new services backup and mirror critical information to hardened IBM storage or to a recovery facility, keeping the data online but off site for improved protection and recovery. The services can incorporate dedicated infrastructure models or shared infrastructure solutions that can lower cost while still retaining security.

IBM says the new services can also be used to analyze data to meet compliance regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley or to improve business processes.

"Current data backup, storage and recovery processes increasingly do not help business leaders meet today's requirements for compliance with regulations for data protection, retrieval and availability," states John Jackson, vice president of IBM Business Resilience and Continuity Services.

Based on IBM TotalStorage and with the help of partners Avamar, LiveVault, Network Appliance, Indigo Stone and Vision Solutions, IBM is offering options such as real-time replication services, point-in-time backup and replication services, and online backup.

When combined with IBM services, Avamar's Axion technology offers point-in-time replication service for Wintel and open systems. Indigo Stone Enterprise Rapid Recovery Methodology (ERRM) is a multi-platform, multi-vendor recovery offering.

LiveVault provides data backup services for distributed Intel servers to IBM's customers. The hardware and software is hosted by IBM at its Gaithersburg, Md. disaster recovery center and utilizes LiveVault's data backup software.

Network Appliance offers customers data archival and compliance technology for both regulated and non-regulated data, and Vision Solutions offers replication software that supports IBM iSeries, Windows 2000, Linux RedHat and SuSE operating systems as well as data integration to and from various databases.

IBM's Electronic Data Management Services will be available beginning April 12 in the U.S. For more information, visit www.ibm.com/services/continuity.

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