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Storage apps keep Exchange running 24/7

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Continuous protection for Exchange
The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC), a leading research organization in San Diego, employs approximately 150 scientists, staff and administrators who use Exchange extensively. For years, the organization relied on traditional block-level tape backups, either full or incremental, to ensure it could recover lost or corrupted Exchange e-mail.

"We never had a disaster, but I wasn't sure we could recover quickly using tape," says Jeff Wood, SKCC's former director of IT. The organization wanted to quickly recover anything from a single lost or corrupted message to the entire e-mail database.

Conventional high-availability solutions, such as those involving frequent replication, didn't appeal to SKCC. "They required redundant systems and involved a lot of steps, particularly if we needed to recover an individual message," recalls Wood. And its conventional backup system didn't really address the problem because any messages created since the last backup wouldn't be recoverable if the Exchange data store became corrupted.

The CDP approach of continuously journaling changes appealed to SKCC. "It was a simple concept. You captured all changes and could roll back to any point in time, almost like TiVo," says Wood, referring to the popular TV recording device. He also liked how CDP fit into SKCC's existing Exchange and backup infrastructure. The organization could have both tape and CDP, and the cost was right. Wood

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found CDP software products that SKCC could license for less than $10,000.

After evaluating Revivio Inc., TimeSpring Software Corp. and CA XOsoft products, SKCC opted for TimeSpring. "TimeSpring would let us run CDP on the same server we were running Exchange if we needed to," says Wood. He also liked the look and feel of the software. Since deploying the TimeSpring product, SKCC was able to meet a crucial grant deadline because it could quickly recover critical work in Exchange that had been corrupted.

This was first published in September 2006

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