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Cheap SATA Spurs D2D

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The products are both priced at about $45,000. Avamar's price includes the backup software, while Data Domain requires users to purchase third-party backup software separately. With either product, replicating data over the WAN requires a second appliance at the remote site.

When replicated to a remote site, "these products could replace tape if you want to," says Asaro. But for the time being, many companies will continue to use tape, he says.

Mohler Nixon & Williams Accountancy Corp., Campbell, CA, has been using the DD200 for about three months with Veritas Backup Exec software to back up 14 servers on a twice-a-day schedule. With the DD200, the company has eliminated its nightly incremental tape backup. Once a week, however, the company still does a tape backup. The company figures the DD200 can nearly pay for itself with tape media savings alone over the course of a year, reports Ned Rendell, MIS director.

That's consistent with how users are implementing StoneFly Backup Advantage (SBA) from StoneFly Networks, San Diego, CA, says Bob Bogan, vice president of sales and marketing. The integrated SBA backup appliance comes with a Replicator license, which provides asynchronous replication to a remote disk. Users "continue to use tape as a secondary device," Bogan says, but "they have a totally different perspective of tape's usefulness."

Backup appliances may be best suited for midsize shops. Data Domain recommends its unit for up to 12TB, says Brian

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Biles, Data Domain vice president of marketing. Although the Avamar system can scale in 1TB increments, the cost would mount considerably for large enterprises with dozens of terabytes of data to back up, notes Daly.

As the price of SATA disk capacity drops, disk becomes an increasingly attractive alternative to tape backup. By adding compressions and only backing up what changes, Data Domain and Avamar lower the price of storage on SATA disks one step further.

This was first published in October 2004

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