Asigra simplifies remote site backup

Toronto’s Asigra has released Asigra Televaulting 6.0, the latest version of its software tool for distributed remote data backup and recovery, with new features designed to allow for easier central management.

For small branch offices or remote operations that often don’t have dedicated IT staff, Asigra said tape usually isn’t a viable and secure backup option. Asigra’s tool is completely software-based, and can be managed remotely from a central site.

Eran Farajun, the company’s executive vice-president, said Asigra works mainly with service providers like Bell Canada that use Televaulting to offer a re-branded backup service to their customers, but Asigra also sells Televaulting directly to corporations looking to bring their data backup in-house.

Unlike competitors such as CA, Veritas and Legato, Farajun said Televaulting is the only “agentless” backup tool on the market, meaning each machine targeted for backup doesn’t need a software agent to be installed. Instead, a software client at each backup site backs up the other machines on the LAN, encrypts and transmits the data. Farajun said the agentless model is particularly advantageous when backing up VMware clients.

“[Administrators] don’t really like other pieces of software sitting on their VMware server taxing the hardware and taking up CPUs,” said Farajun. “We sit on the sideline and back them up without any agents.” He said another element that makes Televaulting unique is its compressed capacity-based licensing model.

Data is compressed and encrypted before transmission to the central site for backup, and licensing is based on the volume of data sent, regardless of the number of sites being backed up.

“We don’t care how many sites a customer is looking to back up and we don’t care how many target machines he’s backing up,” said Farajun. “We license the software based on how much data they’re protecting.”

Televaulting supports Windows and Solaris, and version 6.0 adds support for Macintosh, as well as increased VMware functionalities, an enhanced Web portal that service providers can customize, and the ability to create policies for all remote sites and push them out all at once, automating processes that were done manually before. And on the security front, Farajun said Televaulting now has its own standard communications ports assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

While the reseller/service provider market accounts for 75 per cent of Asigra’s Televaulting sales, Farajun said direct enterprise sales are becoming an increasingly important market.

While different companies will choose to outsource their remote data backup or manage it internally for different reasons, Farajun said, generally speaking, companies with less than five remote sites use a service provider while companies with more than five sites manage it internally. “It comes down to the comfort level and the psychology of the IT department,” said Farajun. “Different strokes for different folks, as they say.”

Crawford Adjusters Canada Inc. has used Televaulting since November. Scott Sutherland, vice-president, information technology for the Kitchener, Ont.-based claims management company, said with 85 branch offices across Canada ranging from two to 100 people, and each with varying levels of IT infrastructure, tape backup just wasn’t viable.

Sutherland said his firm looked at file transport tools that move data to tape drives on a network, but said they were deemed to be overpriced. With Asigra, which he said was suggested by Crawford’s disaster recovery team, all 85 offices are backed up every night to the head office in Kitchener, whereas before only a few of the larger sites were backed up by tape.

“The initial setup took probably two weeks to implement, but now we do our entire branch network in a two-hour window every night,” said Sutherland.

While compliance was a concern and is easier now, Sutherland said bigger drivers for Crawford were security and taking the backup responsibility away from non-IT branch office staff.

“They have no IT staff out in the offices, so this relieves the whole backup burden from them,” said Sutherland.

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