MCI offers disk-to-disk backup services

Uses Avamar’s D2D software

By Dave Simpson

MCI recently launched its Enhanced Smart Backup data-protection service, which is based on disk-to-disk backup/restore software from Avamar. (MCI already offers a tape-based backup service as part of its Enterprise Hosting portfolio of collocation services.)

In an MCI hosting scenario, MCI typically hosts the customer data at one of its bi-coastal locations (Beltsville, MD, and San Jose, CA) and uses the other facility for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Rick Dyer, director of product management at MCI Hosting Services, says that because of Avamar’s Axion software the company is able to deliver disk-based backup services at significantly less cost than its tape-based backup services.

Monthly fees for the disk-to-disk managed service start at $9.75 per gigabyte and are dependent on the amount of protected data.

MCI evaluated a number of disk-to-disk-to-tape backup alternatives, but chose Avamar’s Axion software because it solved two key problems:

“If you’re going to keep multiple daily images over time, you don’t want to have n times the data, where n is the number of days worth of data you need to keep. That would be cost-prohibitive,” Dyer explains.

“We needed to replicate data between our two infrastructures; due to bandwidth limitations we needed a solution that didn’t require replication of all of our customers’ data in full,” he adds.

MCI uses Avamar's Axion disk-based backup software to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred, which reduces bandwidth and capacity requirements/costs and minimizes the impact on networks.
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The Axion software performs an initial “snapup” (point-in-time) copy of all data to the central backup system; however, using hashing algorithms, each subsequent “snapup” only copies new or changed data, thus eliminating the need for traditional full and incremental backups.

In addition, a feature that Avamar calls “commonality factoring” eliminates redundant data within and across systems by finding unique objects, filtering out redundancies, and creating content addresses.

“This solution significantly reduces the amount of data that has to be transferred, both within one infrastructure and between the two infrastructures,” according to MCI’s Dyer.

“Also, the software only transfers changed data. We don’t have to do full backups, so the D2D approach costs a lot less than our tape-based backup service.” MCI’s disk-based backup/recovery service is completely tape-free.

In fact, Kevin Daly, Avamar’s chief executive officer, claims that the Axion software reduces the amount of data that needs to be copied by 99% or more, which he says is Avamar’s primary differentiator versus other disk-to-disk backup vendors. One result is significantly decreased bandwidth, as well as capacity, requirements.

This article was originally published on January 01, 2005