Double-Take, Amazon form disaster recovery cloud with Double-Take Cloud

Double-Take lets customers of its backup and replication software tie into Amazon Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) cloud for disaster recovery without needing a second data center.

Double-Take Software Inc. is teaming up with Amazon for cloud disaster recovery.

Double-Take today launched Double-Take Cloud, which lets customers use Double-Take Backup software and a subscription to Amazon's Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) to set up a server for disaster recovery purposes. Double-Take positions the cloud service as a DR solution for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and other organizations that don't have a second data center or offsite facility to use for DR.

Double-Take Backup uses continuous data protection (CDP) to replicate changes to data, applications and operating systems in real time. In case of a disaster, it allows recovery to physically dissimilar hardware or virtual servers. But while organizations using Double-Take Backup software for DR need another site to replicate, Double-Take Cloud lets them replicate to EC2. If a server fails, they can stand up an alternate server in the Amazon cloud.

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"We have a track record of delivering real-time replication, rapid-recovery kind of solutions," said Peter Laudenslager, senior manager of Double-Take's Cloud Recovery Program. "Still, not every critical server has real-time protection. Most companies only have one data center, so you've got that second data center challenge. We're connecting our software to Amazon, so we can now do cloud recovery. Customers don't need a preconfigured server. They can bring a server online with a couple of clicks."

Laudenslager said the key to Double-Take Cloud is the ability to provider compute resources along with storage through the cloud.

Other data protection vendors have cloud partnership with service providers, including Double-Take's deal with SunGard. Under that arrangement, SunGard uses Double-Take software for its recover service. CA and Geminare Inc. have a similar arrangement around CA's XOsoft software. Zmanda has given its customers the option of backing up to Amazon S3 for more than two years, and CommVault earlier this month added the option to use the cloud as a backup tier for its Simpana software.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse said the difference is Double-Take/Amazon combination enables on-demand computing for disaster recovery.

"Double-Take's not just sending data that could be pulled down for recovery," she said. "They're leveraging [Amazon] S3 and EC2 to stand up a server in the cloud. This model doesn't require upfront license fees – there's a service fee to Double-Take and a service fee to Amazon. It's all operational costs, much more SaaS-like."

Double-Take Cloud requires organizations to buy software from Double-Take and set up a subscription through Amazon. The Double-Take piece costs $150 a month, with contracts on a month-to-month basis. Laudenslager said Amazon EC2 requires an image repository for about $100 per month, plus about 25 cents a gigabyte for storage, bandwidth and I/O charges. The service-level agreement (SLA) comes from Amazon.

Laudenslager said Double-Take and Amazon are considering making it a one-step process instead of requiring customers to buy separate subscriptions. He also said Double-Take may also add other cloud partners as options, such as Microsoft and Rackspace.

Whitehouse said, "It would be nice if it was a one-transaction type of deal." And while Laudenslager said "most companies can't build a data center with the reliability Amazon offers," its SLA is one-size-fits-all.

"You can probably negotiate better SLAs with SunGard or Geminare," Whitehouse added. "Amazon has a blanket SLA agreement, and typically not a good one right now."


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