ExaGrid Puts Disaster Recovery on the Grid

ExaGrid Systems has unveiled a disk-based backup and disaster recovery solution that uses Grid computing technology for full recovery within minutes of a disaster.

ExaGrid says its “Grid Protected Storage” uses the company’s software and commodity hardware to create a Grid-based storage utility, enabling multiple storage servers connected in multiple locations to back up and protect each other. ExaGrid combines standard network file protocols such as NFS, CIFS, and FTP with its Protection Policy Engine to deliver a full range of data protection functions.

“By focusing on reliable data recovery, ExaGrid is addressing the segment of the storage infrastructure that is most sorely in need of a technology refresh,” says Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. “Their approach holds promise as a way to let customers break free of arcane and unreliable tape backup, while leveraging the existing server and storage infrastructure to provide a more scalable and effective alternative.”

ExaGrid co-founders Jim Pownell and Dave Therrien got the idea for Grid Protected Storage while managing more than 50 data centers at defunct storage services firm Storage Networks.

“While innovation in the storage industry abounds, backup and recovery solutions remain dependent on outdated tape technologies,” says Pownell, ExaGrid’s president. “Backup to tape is still plagued by issues of lack of data integrity, poor management, instability, and offsite vaulting that makes the tapes inaccessible for immediate recovery should disaster strike. Combine that with the requirement for multiple, independent products that may or may not interoperate, and we knew there had to be a better approach.”

By bringing Grid computing to storage, ExaGrid maintains it has come up with an intelligent, distributed, virtualized, disk-based storage solution that provides end-to-end backup and restore, full disaster recovery within minutes, file corruption protection, onsite/offsite vaulting, automatic data migration/Hierarchical Storage Management, archiving, and ILM.

ExaGrid says Grid Protected Storage will appeal to organizations with heavy amounts of file data in industries such as healthcare, biotechnology, financial services, manufacturing, and engineering.

ExaGrid reports initial product trials are underway at CuraGen Corp., Massachusetts General Hospital, and The First Years, and the product will begin shipping commercially in the first quarter of 2004.

“What interests us most about the Grid Protected Storage approach is that it is a single, cost-effective solution to automatically manage and proactively maintain data integrity and recoverability so that critical business information is available on demand,” states Ron Cardone, VP of IS for The First Years.

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