By Ann Silverthorn
—Calling continuous data protection (CDP) "expensive and not fully baked," MiraLink, which specializes in remote disaster-recovery solutions, introduced its IP-based family of mirroring solutions this week. Targeting companies with up to 5,000 employees, MiraLink's appliances are designed to offer real-time data protection with low cost of ownership.
"Any user who can manage a disk drive and an IP address can manage our product," claims Ron McCabe, MiraLink's president and CEO. "We can mirror data to a remote site in the same order and format that it's received locally, so an administrator can perform a recovery with standard database tools at the remote site if there's an event."
Recovery involves converting the remote disk from read-only to rewrite status. The technology is a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous mirroring, providing state-consistent, real-time mirroring to ensure database integrity. Unlike CDP, it does not provide any-point-in-time (APIT) recovery.
The MiraLink product line, which consists of the 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000 models, offers a progression in features. The low-end appliance is a basic mirroring product and the high-end model can run RAID 50 with higher levels of fault tolerance and performance. The MiraLink 500 provides up to 600GB of capacity and the 3000 stores up to 10TB. The products support SCSI or Fibre Channel, are application-agnostic, and work with any database or operating system.
With one appliance at the data center and one at the remote location, data that hits the data center is mirrored off-site in real time, copying block-level changes. There are no agents or drivers, and the solution looks like another drive to the operating system. In SAN environments, administrators mount the product as a volume, where it can be managed with existing SAN management software.
The company claims that the technology has no distance limitations, because of an intelligent buffer that makes it "insensitive" to router hops or bandwidth issues. It works over standard TCP/IP, so there's no need for a dedicated line between sites.
MiraLink supports compliance regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and SEC 17a-4 and supports existing data-protection technologies such as encryption. Designed to support existing audit trail infrastructures, the solutions are interoperable with write-once, read-many (WORM) media.
Pricing for the appliances ranges from $5,000 to $50,000.