Former SSPs target backup/recovery

By Lisa Coleman

Bill Miller
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While storage service providers (SSPs) have shrugged off the SSP business model and label, they are focusing on backup-and-recovery services, which provide one-half to two-thirds of all SSP revenue, according to Adam Couture, senior analyst at the Gartner Inc. consulting firm, in San Jose, CA.

At StorageNetworks, approximately one-third of revenues are derived from backup-and-recovery management services, says Bill Miller, CTO at the Waltham, MA-based data management services and software company. StorageNetworks, which pioneered the SSP concept, has been delivering backup-and-restore services for more than three years.

"Running a large-scale data storage and management operation is hard. Making sure the data is protected from loss and making sure you can recover a lot of your operations are a huge challenge," says Miller.

StorOS, one piece of StorageNetworks' proprietary software, sits on top of backup software to make sure all the servers, directories, and volumes are being backed up. If a company is using more than one backup package in different locations, StorOS manages all of them from one console, and its global operations center can manage the backups. "We can run fully outsourced backup operations, and we can run backups through networks to remote locations if customers want to," explains Miller. "Your backups are actually getting done at a remote location and it gives you protection against facility-based disasters."

The company also uses a combination of backup parameters-success rate, coverage, how much data was backed up, and time frames-to determine a backup yield. "The higher your backup yield, the more likely you'll be able to recover your operations from a failure," explains Miller.

In January, ManagedStorage International (MSI) introduced remote backup and restore to tape. Previously, MSI was offering backup-and-restore services on a local basis at its customers' sites. Now it's extending the service over a wide area using either the Internet or dedicated networks.

"September 11 raised the awareness of data protection," says Walt Hinton, chief architect and vice president of design services at MSI. "But everybody categorizes it all under the term 'disaster recovery,' which means something very specific-the ability to recover all of your physical resources in another location as well as all of your logical resources such as your data. That's one solution for data protection, but there are lots of subsets of that. Remote backup-and-recovery services can address a broad range of the market. Data replication services can do the same," explains Hinton.

In January, Denver-based InFlow partnered with Akamai Technologies to provide disaster-recovery services. InFlow, which operates 18 Internet data centers, will offer three levels of disaster recovery.

First, InFlow will provide a system-recovery plan for developing, documenting, maintaining, and executing system recovery. This includes templates and procedures for recovery, architecture design requirements, physical migration plans, and hardware-sourcing procedures. Next, it offers "continuous-operation" plans with a stand-by architecture plan, a custom backup architecture in case of an outage at the customer's primary site, and provisions for file backup, restoration, and fail-over services. Finally, InFlow can plan for "constant availability" with fully redundant hot sites.

Look for disaster-recovery news and information in every issue of InfoStor.

This article was originally published on February 01, 2002