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Big three apps adjust to disk-based backup

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Single-instance storage
Another new backup technology that users are viewing cautiously is single-instance storage. Single-instance storage is a data de-duplication technology that stores the same blocks of data together and then creates meta data that lets the blocks be reconstructed. There are no industry standards for data-reduction technologies to date, and data recoveries are potentially time consuming and management intensive. "Most vendors have implemented [data reduction] in a proprietary fashion and charge an absolute premium for this technology," says Health First's Shim.

Symantec is the first and only one of the major vendors to introduce and offer a single-instance storage backup option targeted at the remote office. PureDisk Server is NetBackup's data-reduction technology. Users may install a PureDisk client or server at each remote office to back up the office's data to a PureDisk master server in the data center. Once an initial backup is complete, only changed blocks are captured and sent back to the central office, greatly reducing the amount of stored data and the bandwidth required between the two offices.

However, the major backup software vendors are just starting to respond to the significant changes that cheap disk is bringing to backup and restore. Their products require major changes to stay relevant and support user needs for data security and remote-office protection. Although users shouldn't be

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in a hurry to abandon their current backup software products, viable alternatives from new startups are rapidly emerging. Stay tuned.

This was first published in April 2006

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