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SteelEye promises to deliver hassle-free data recovery

Meredith B. Derby, assistant news editor

SteelEye Technology Inc.'s wide area network-based disaster recovery product for clustered Windows environments promises to recover an organization's data within minutes.

The recently released SteelEye Disaster Recovery Solution is installed, not implemented, according to SteelEye's President and CEO, Jim Fitzgerald. No code modification or changes to the application are necessary, making the set up quick and easy. "Other solutions need weeks or months for implementation" because the coding needs to be customized. "Disaster Recovery Solution loads on either side of a WAN and mirrors data," he explained. It sits on top of the operating system and can be installed in days.

The data and application recoveries take place automatically by failing over from one remote server to another. Mountain View, Calif.-based SteelEye's product works for Microsoft's Internet Information Server, Exchange and SQL Server. It can be implemented as an extension to Microsoft Cluster Server.

The expectation of failover disaster recovery is that it will happen in a minute or less, explained Jean Bozeman, research director for Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp.'s Worldwide server group. Because SteelEye is offering a fail over product that is also WAN-based she said, "they are certainly saving companies money and time." Companies are not required to buy expensive, large machines to cluster.

Asynchronous data mirroring will allow for 99.9% of data

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to be recovered, Fitzgerald said. The product writes information to disks as users work. If a server goes down, the small percentage data that is in the process of being saved may be lost. "But, that's better than not having the other 99.9% of data not available," he said.

Disaster Recovery Solution's log check capability is another important part of the product, Fitzgerald said. The log check finds the missing data that did not get mirrored. So, when systems are coming back up, he said, you're able to check data compatibility and find the spots that are incompatible.

"Vendors will be successful if they make disaster recovery as easy as possible for customers," Bozeman said. That's what SteelEye does, she said. Even administrators without the appropriate skills to deploy clusters can because no special scripts are necessary.

Disaster Recovery Solution closely integrates with SteelEye's local area network-based failover product, LifeKeeper.

Disaster Recovery Solutions runs $9,500 per site. It is $4,500 per site for the Microsoft Cluster Server extension.

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