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FilesX bares its data restore capabilities

Startup branches out from CDP-centric data protection to overall disaster recovery with addition of bare-metal restore for dissimilar hardware and virtual machines.

FilesX Inc., one of the startups that found out an emphasis on continuous data protection (CDP) isn't enough to make it in the world of data protection, is adding other pieces to its Xpress Restore software.

FilesX's latest upgrade released this week, Xpress Restore 3.5, includes Bare Metal Recovery for dissimilar hardware and virtual machines. The beefed up bare-metal restore enhances Xpress Restore's ability to provide disk-based, block-level data protection and disaster recovery for Windows systems, according to marketing director Rich Vining.

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"A year ago we were known as a CDP product," Vining said. "We see CDP as a feature, not a product. CDP is an option in the product; you can back up by application and as frequently as you want. But, we want to provide instant or near instant recovery of anything from the smallest file to the largest system."

Bare-metal restore lets users completely reformat a computer after a failure, which can be especially valuable for a server. Bare-metal restore automatically reinstalls the operating system, applications, drivers, data and other settings.

Vendors have been adding bare-metal restore into data protection products over the past few years in applications, such as Symantec Corp. Backup Exec System Recovery, EMC Corp. Home Base and Double-Take Software Inc. System Recovery. FilesX previously offered it as part of its professional services, but it wasn't built into the product.

"Most traditional backup vendors have incorporated bare-metal recovery into their solutions, and we're seeing that more in other types of data protection, such as replication," said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse. "It's not just about, 'Can I get my data back?' but 'How quickly can I get a new system in place, have it loaded up with an operating system and applications, and recover my data?' "

Tracy McDonald, director of IT for data warehouse software startup Calpont Corp., said he uses FilesX mainly to protect data on Exchange servers and is planning to employ Bare Metal Recovery to migrate to a new Exchange server.

McDonald said he expects bare-metal restore to drastically reduce the amount of time it takes him to roll out new servers and recover failed servers. "It shouldn't take long to recover a server," he said. "Plus, I can recover it to completely different hardware, different drivers, different controllers and different network adapters. It should appear as the same server when we're finished.

"Without bare-metal restore, we'd have to demote the domain controller, promote a backup domain controller to become the primary and then install the operating system. It would probably take 40% to 50% longer."

He has one specific job in mind. "We're planning to use bare-metal restore when we migrate to a new server. Our first domain controller in the tree is pretty long in the tooth," McDonald said.

He will use bare-metal restore to migrate from a Dell Inc. tower server to a 1U PowerEdge 1950. That will help save space in a computer room crowded with SAN equipment and servers that the startup uses for testing on the software application it is developing. "I'm running into heat issues," McDonald said.


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