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Data protection provider Arsenal Digital on July 16 introduced enhanced capabilities for its ViaRemote virtual server subscription service that include native support for virtualization packages from Sun Microsystems, Microsoft and EMC VMware.

ViaRemote enables enterprises with existing virtualized storage systems to deploy additional capabilities, such as consolidated backup operations, faster restores and file- and block-level data deduplication, an Arsenal spokesperson said from company headquarters in Cary, N.C.

ViaRemote, which is built on EMC Avamar’s deduplication technology, works this way: To back up data within individual virtual machines, ViaRemote agents are installed on physical host and individual virtual machines. The agents encrypt and deduplicate data, then automatically back up the changed blocks securely to an offsite Arsenal data center. Restores within an individual VM instance are done using a Web-based portal that is provided as part of the standard ViaRemote service.

Multiple versions are retained to ensure that backups are quick and reliable, the spokesperson said.

Using the ViaRemote service results in “increased efficiency in data protection, with up to 300:1 daily data reduction,” Gerald Longoria, vice president of product marketing for Arsenal, told eWEEK.

“We’ve seen reduced backup times by up to 90 percent over traditional backup, reduced downtime with cost-effective data recovery for physical to virtual restores. We’ve also seen backup and recovery rates of up to 99.5 percent,” Longoria said.

More than 80 percent of all virtual server production deployments are now using VMware, IDC storage analyst Lauren Whitehouse told eWEEK.

IDC has reported that by the end of 2007, about half of the world’s 4.2 million servers will be virtualized. More than 50 percent of these virtual servers are running business-critical applications like databases and e-mail, Whitehouse said.

The VMware platform is being deployed in production environments at an accelerated rate over one year ago—with an estimated 126,000 terabytes of network storage impacted by VMware Infrastructure (up from 61,000TB in 2006), Whitehouse said.

“I’ve been tracking a number of vendors in this space, in addition to Arsenal Digital, and they are all commanding significant customer counts and progressive growth,” Whitehouse said. “So I think companies are considering and moving to this type of service.”

Virtualized servers create special problems regarding backup and recovery, Doug Chandler, research director at IDC, told eWEEK.

“The interest level [in virtualization of storage servers] has definitely increased in the past 12 to 18 months,” Chandler said. “This is especially true among small and medium businesses, who are facing a lot of the same issues that enterprises are facing—rapid growth in data, more pressure to manage data efficiently, more pressure to protect data both through backup and recovery and from a security aspect, and also to have a workable disaster recovery plan [e.g., put copies of important data at a second, remote data center].”

“The small/medium businesses don’t have the budget or bandwidth, in most cases, to do
all of this, so a subscription service like Arsenal’s can be an attractive alternative.”

Arsenal ViaRemote for virtual servers is immediately available as a capability in the standard ViaRemote offering from Arsenal and its partners. All customer pricing for ViaRemote offerings is available from Arsenal sales or sales partners. For more information, go here.

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