Data protection is always important, of course, but getting effective protection can be trickier than ever when IT department budgets are slashed or nonexistent. Gary Gysin, president and CEO of Asempra Technologies, said that organizations are caught between spending money now to get protection or not spending and risking revenue loss from outages and lost or corrupted data.

Asempra is known for its Business Continuity Server (BCS), which provides application-aware backup and recovery to critical systems such as Microsoft Exchange Server and SQL Server. As Gysin said, "What we look for are customers that care about quick recovery of Exchange, SQL, and their respective data sets, or any Windows file server data, in the event of any type of outage. \[We're\] providing simple ways to recover—one-click recovery—for those critical platforms."

In the event of a system failure, BCS presents a virtualized set of data back to the application, giving end-users access to data immediately, even while the actual data is being recovered in the background. Gysin said Asempra has "provided a number of different technologies into our software suite, and the combination of these technologies allows us to do application failover and return the app and data in seconds."

Gysin noted a shift in the marketplace for BCS. "In 2007, most of the opportunities were Exchange-driven where customers clearly needed to have access to email," Gysin said. "In 2008, we saw SQL \[Server\] really step up into an equal position with Exchange." Gysin attributes this largely to the fact that other available tools for recovering SQL Server data still require a lot of work from administrators. "DBAs usually are doing their own manual steps to recover in the event that something goes wrong," Gysin said.

In addition to quick recovery, BCS provides extremely granular control over recovery point objective (RPO). Real-time backup protection has been available for Exchange Server, and with the recent release of BCS 3.0, real-time backup support has been added for SQL Server as well.

"When you have real-time SQL backup, we're recording the log file in real-time," Gysin explained. "When something happens to a database, it gets corrupted, whatever, someone wants to go back in time, that right-click recover, the one-click recover, in the background, we're going to roll all those logs forward to get the customer back to the latest possible time where the data and the database was in a good state. . . . With one click, they're going to get their database back in service."

Other new or improved features in BCS 3.0 include extended retention of data of up to six months; role-based access control and administration; and improved performance, yielding up to 60 percent storage savings and 80 percent network bandwidth reduction.

In addition to BCS 3.0, the company also recently released the Business Continuity Appliance (BCA),  which includes up to 1TB of data storage. With BCS, also sold as an appliance, customers provide their own storage. "What we found with a lot of customers, they didn't want to buy an appliance and then have to go buy storage," Gysin said. "So we put the storage in the box so that everything they need is in the box."

The BCA can support as many as eight servers. Including the storage with BCS in one unit simplifies deployment, particularly for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs). As Gysin said, "Some of these smaller customers don't necessarily have SANs of any kind, and so they just have direct attached storage or a real simple IT environment. You buy an appliance and that's all you need."

For more information about BCA and BCS, visit Asempra's website.

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