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Xiotech joins long-distance replication race

The list of vendors now shipping asynchronous replication products is as long as your arm, but how affordable is this gear?

Xiotech Corp. announced this week its TimeScale Rapid Restore replication appliance, which it describes as a simple, affordable product for replicating data over long distances. Simple it might be, but affordable is another question.

TimeScale allows users to replicate data between its Magnitude 3D arrays across remote sites. Unlike its geo-replication software, which only offers synchronous mirroring, TimeScale is asynchronous, enabling it to support an unlimited distance between sites.

"We had a lot of customers using geo-replication, but they needed longer distances for disaster recovery and data protection purposes," said Kuldeep Sandhu, executive vice president of storage solutions at Xiotech. Banks and local government users are particularly interested in this gear, he said.

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More than likely, these users have a sizable budget for disaster recovery solutions, which is a good thing if they opt for the TimeScale device. It starts at $100,000 to $120,000 per terabyte of replicated data, which is right up there with EMC's infamously expensive Synchronous Remote Data Facility replication software.

Compare this to Kashya Inc.'s KBX4000 replication appliance, which includes its software loaded onto an IBM xSeries server, and starts at just $10,000. The KBX4000 also provides tiered pricing based on how much data a company wants to replicate and in addition, supports heterogeneous storage, something Xiotech says it will offer sometime in the future.

Xiotech notes that its pricing includes installation services and set up at remote sites as well as all the hardware components needed.

Xiotech's Sandhu noted that TimeScale reduces network traffic by replicating only changed bytes of data in a file, and its snapshot feature can roll back over any period of time for the most consistent data. It's not the only product out there with this facility, either. Adaptec Inc.'s Snap Enterprise Data Replicator replicates just the changed data and also provides policy-based management for tiered storage implementations.

Xiotech claims its purpose-built appliance is easy to install and configure. With a few keystrokes, administrators can supposedly select datasets to replicate, establish policies on how frequent replicas need to be and determine how much network bandwidth to ascribe. The company has a handful of early adopters, but none who were available to talk about the product yet.

It's undoubtedly going to be a major market going forward, analysts say. "With compliance looming over their heads, power outages and natural disasters, and human error, almost every midsized company out there is having to think about disaster recovery now," said Tony Asaro, senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group.

Other vendors selling remote replication products include: Cisco Systems Inc., Computer Network Technology Corp., Data Domain Inc., IBM, Hitachi Data Systems, Permabit Inc., StoreAge Networking Technologies Inc., Sanrad Inc., Verari Systems Inc., NSI Software Inc., Veritas Software Inc. and XOSoft Inc., among others.

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