Continuity Software Inc. is expanding its RecoverGuard disaster recovery management software into a service, making the Israeli startup the latest storage vendor looking to sweeten deals by offering management services with its software. RecoverGuard, which has been available in the U.S. since July, uses what Continuity calls a "gap detection engine" to validate that applications are being replicated and can be recovered in case of a failure. Continuity is turning that into its disaster recovery assurance service by adding a component that sends reports to an engineer back at the vendor's site. The Continuity engineer tracks the alerts issued from the customer's environment and offers guidance on how to solve any problems. More on disaster recovery Data center saves on backup with SATA and V-SwitchCell phone carrier picks startup Continuity Software for DR testingEMC launches disaster recovery serviceUsers at Storage Decisions hone disaster recovery plans Continuity will also provide weekly, monthly and annual reports to disaster recovery assurance customers. Weekly summary reports show the impact of gaps in the environment and chart the health of the storage network over time. Monthly reports include an executive summary and highlight issues that have come up. The annual report includes the summary and a conference call or personal meeting to discuss disaster recovery strategies. "The problem we've found with some organizations which have deployed RecoverGuard is that their IT team is extremely busy with day-to-day management and doesn't have time to go over all the notifications on a daily basis," said Avi Stone, Continuity marketing manager. "There's also not always time to discover the root of the problem, locate the person responsible for a particular configuration and fix it." Stone said the service has been in beta at four customer sites over the last two to three months, two in the U.S. and two in Israel. The target market for the service once it becomes available next week is the midmarket because large companies, particularly financial institutions, usually have security practices that forbid sending this kind of information outside the firewall, Stone said. Stone added that Continuity had yet to work with a customer on an actual disaster. "Usually, from our experience, when that happens the entire IT team is focused on bringing systems back -- they're too busy to call us." However, Continuity will offer help if users call during a disaster, he said. Continuity isn't the only vendor augmenting on-premises software products with off-site managed services. CommVault Systems Inc. launched a new backup reporting and troubleshooting service last month and several e-discovery and archiving companies made similar announcements at LegalTech this week. "Services are really in vogue these days," said Arun Taneja, an analyst with the Taneja Group. "Clearly in some places services mean more than others, and disaster recovery management is going to be red hot over the next five years. Disaster recovery plans for most enterprises are a disaster in themselves." Taneja pointed out "it's practically a virgin market" at this point, and products are still taking baby steps toward being comprehensive. "Data protection in general has been primitive for the last 25 years, and even within that, disaster recovery management is still in its infancy," he said. Continuity is still expanding its capabilities. RecoverGuard supports EMC Corp. and Network Appliance Inc. (NetApp) arrays, and the vendor is adding to the list. Stone said Continuity will add support for Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) in a few months. The list price for disaster recovery assurance is $3,200 per protected server per year.