Getting better at backups

With employees increasingly relying on PDAs, which they may or may not (but should) synchronize with their PCs, and taking laptops on the road, PC backups are something all companies could be a bit more diligent about. Server backups are another story, which we’ll touch on later.

On the PC backup front, in December, EMC Corp. and Novell Inc. announced an agreement for a technology that they insist automates PC backups. Using Novell’s iFolder technology in conjunction with EMC’s Automated Networked Storage, backups can be done without requiring any end-user intervention. In other words, once it is set up, iFolder will back up user files saved locally on laptops and make these files available from any Internet connection. The backup can occur on both EMC Symmetrix and CLARiiON. And it doesn’t have to be done exclusively on Novell’s NetWare: iFolder also runs on Linux, Solaris, and Windows NT/2000.

Of course, other PC backup solutions are out there, and you probably know many of them. One that caught our eye is Connected’s TLM service. Connected comes standard with encryption and uses delta blocking to save only the changes to a file not the entire file.

This type of technology is also making appearances elsewhere. For instance, Avamar, a company that could be classified as an emerging startup, has developed a similar technique they loosely call a “commonality filtering technology.”

Their product, Axion, finds and eliminates redundant data sequences as it creates copies and identifies replicated data sequences in files. This means Axion will need to store far less data since it sends less data. This means cost savings on WAN connections and less usage of valuable storage space.

On the server backup front, there’s EVault. Once primarily a service provider, the company last year made its service into a software platform. Dubbed “EVault InfoStage,” it also claims a delta-blocking technology and works across most operating systems.

Like Avamar’s Axion, EVault InfoStage is designed to work with disk-based arrays. And as we’ve been telling you, disk-based backup is a reality. With Serial ATA on its way in the form of disks and systems, we’re only going to see more elegant disk-based backup solutions.

So, really, you have no excuse not to get better at backups, even on your laptops and PDAs.