Products of the Year 2007:

Backup hardware

Gold Award:

Sepaton's S2100-ES VTL

Sepaton's S2100-ES VTL

Disk-based backup arrived in 2004, and Southborough, MA-based Sepaton Inc.'s S2100-ES Virtual Tape Library (VTL) appliance led the parade of products that confirmed disk-based backup's role in the data center.

Sepaton's VTL supports both ATA and SATA drives, and emulates almost any LTO, DLT and AIT tape drive. Scalability isn't much of an issue as the S2100-ES uses its own scalable replication engine, which starts at 3.5TB and can grow to 200TB.

Sepaton says its box is capable of 150MB/sec to 900MB/sec transfer rates and can back up 1.6TB per hour. "It is incredibly fast, scalable and uniquely understands what's in the backups it is receiving," one judge gushed. "This allows it to create an index of the data and perform synthetic backups, which simplifies recovery by consolidating incremental backups into one complete backup."

Synthetic backups are similar to Tivoli Storage Manager's incremental backups—where only changed data is moved during a full backup. But Sepaton takes this notion a step further. Because the S2100 knows where and what the backups are with its "content-aware architecture," it creates a new volume using pointers instead of recreating the data entirely. This method cuts the time needed for full backups and frees up application servers and the network which, in turn, leads to faster restores. The S2100 is certified to work with backup software from BakBone Software Inc., CommVault Systems Inc., EMC Corp./Legato, IBM Tivoli and Veritas Software Corp.

The starting price for an S2100 is $58,000. Not chump change but, nevertheless, a bargain when your backup window shrinks an order of magnitude over conventional backup methods. And, yes, all restores are much quicker as well.

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