InMage focuses on data continuity

By Heidi Biggar

With the release of its DR-Scout product last month, InMage, a start-up led by Brocade co-founder Kumar Malavalli, says it is making it easier-and more affordable-for mid-tier users to protect their data, as well as consolidate data at remote offices.

While the company intends to address various aspects of data continuity, including continuous data protection (CDP), its initial focus is on large-scale disaster-recovery efforts (e.g., protecting primary data in the event of a system outage).

Says Steve Duplessie, senior analyst and founder of the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) consulting firm, in a recent ESG brief: “While replication products exist today, they tend to be used more for content distribution than disaster recovery. DR-Scout was designed from the ground up to get users back quickly when the worst occurs.”

Also, unlike other vendors, which typically address one or two aspects of data continuity (e.g., backup, replication, CDP) or require users to buy multiple products, InMage is focusing on all three, via a single, lightweight agent.

It should be noted that other vendors, including CommVault and Veritas, have taken steps recently to further integrate the backup-and-replication processes. However, although there is increasing “cooperation” and “communication” among these platforms, they are still sold as separate products, or as part of a software bundle, requiring separate agents.

“We’re also watching the continuous data-protection market, but users aren’t ready for it,” claims Malavalli. “When the market is ready, we’ll release it.”

In addition to providing multi-layer disaster-recovery protection, DR-Scout can be tuned to specific business events. For example, in a recovery situation users can rewind to a specific business event (e.g., end-of-month financial closings) rather than to an arbitrary point in time.

In the third quarter, InMage is expected to introduce a “bookmark” feature that will alert users to significant business events for data-protection purposes.

DR-Scout has three elements: DR-Scout FX for file-level replication, VX for volume-level replication, and CX for management, monitoring, and WAN optimization.

A “Modeler” feature allows users to run DR-Scout on a trial basis. “It captures all the data, performs de-duplication, and tells IT how much bandwidth it needs to execute,” explains Duplessie. “Users know exactly what they need upfront.”

“We want to make sure that users use the optimum bandwidth-not more, not less-for their environments,” says Malavalli.

Click here to enlarge image

DR-Scout FX and VX are lightweight agents that run on participating servers. DR-Scout FX works in Windows, Linux, and Unix environments, and VX in Windows environments only. The DR-Scout CX software runs on any out-of-band, off-the-shelf hardware. Additional CX appliances are needed (one at each site) for a remote location (see figure).

DR-Scout FX is priced at $1,500, VX at $5,000, and CX from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on the number of servers.

This article was originally published on March 01, 2005