IDE-based appliances

What do you think about replicating data from one NAS box to another with an HA product and then backing up to tape for offsite vaulting? Should I consider backing up to disk first for faster recovery if needed?

Replication of one NAS box to another or of any box to another, is a really good thing. One of the barriers to that has always been the cost of the second box, since it's usually used only for backup. That's why companies like NetApp are coming out with IDE-based appliances to use as the destination for such mirroring applications. Check out their NearStore product that is being released soon. Oddly enough, it was my research into this IDE-based appliance that opened my eyes to the concept of IDE-based storage in the open systems world.

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