Overland intros software PACs

Posted on February 01, 2005


By Heidi Biggar

Overland Storage last month introduced the first in a series of software application PACs, or modules, for its REO series of disk-to-disk (D2D) backup-and-recovery appliances. The first module-Multi-SitePAC-is focused on remote backup mirroring.

In introducing the modules, Overland says it has begun the transformation of its REO series from a pure-play backup-and-recovery appliance into a more specialized platform for running applications such as remote backup mirroring.

“We’re starting to transform the REO appliance from a backup appliance into something that is more solutions-focused,” says Michael Kerman, vice president and chief strategy officer at Overland. “We’re leveraging REO’s built-in [Linux-based] server capabilities and tailoring it to key applications.”

Kerman says that Overland started with remote backup mirroring because of user demand for products that streamline the remote backup process and because the REO platform lends itself to this type of application. “It slips right into the existing backup paradigm and doesn’t require changes to the backup software or the addition of new servers,” says Kerman.

The Multi-SitePAC uses virtualization technology to “trick” remote sites into thinking they’re doing regular full and incremental backups when data is actually being mirrored between REO appliances.

Data is mirrored, or replicated, in virtual tape format from a remote appliance to a central appliance, where it is centrally managed and archived. A typical configuration consists of REO 1000s or 4000s at remote locations and a REO 9000 at the primary site.

Multi-SitePAC supports both single- and multi-stage mirroring as well as peer-to-peer mirroring. Also, because data is stored in cache (after it has been compressed) at the remote sites, it can be recovered either locally or remotely should the WAN connection between the sites fail.

The Multi-SitePAC software can be installed on any of Overland’s appliances: the REO 1000, 4000, or 90000. It runs on top of ProtectionPAC, the appliance’s core application. The software is transparent to the backup application and is operating system-independent. Also, because it is appliance- and not host-based, it is comparatively easy to install, manage, and upgrade, claims Kerman.

The software is priced on a per-system basis, starting at $1,395 for a REO 1000 implementation.

Analysts say that the remote backup mirroring module is a natural next step for the REO technology and should help Overland attract new users outside its traditional tape-based markets.

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