Softek unveils replication products

Softek has announced one new and two enhanced replication products that cover three environments: Windows; Unix; and mainframe...

Softek has announced one new and two enhanced replication products that cover three environments: Windows; Unix; and mainframe z/OS, and three scenarios. With replication, each data write to a disc is carried out a second time to another disc as part of a disaster recovery and/or backup strategy where minimal data loss is allowable. Mirroring is done where no data loss is allowable.

Softek Replicator is the new product, running on z/OS, Windows, AIX, HP-UX, Linux and Solaris, and supporting any storage array, such as those from EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and StorageTek. It replicates data writes to one drive array or disc to another across an IP link. The replication is done at host level, not by the drive array controller. EMC's SRDF is a controller-based replicator only working with EMC arrays. Softek Replicator, as it is host-based, is independent of the drive arrays and controller firmware.

Softek TDMFis an enhanced product that provides migration facilities to move data from an existing disc array to a new one. It is available for the same hosts and addresses the same arrays as TDMF.

Softek Storage Provisioner consolidates storage arrays into centralised and tiered pools. It also mirrors data in a storage area network (SAN). Mirroring is typically done at drive array or SAN level as it is synchronous with a write operation not being complete unless both main and copy disc writes have been done. Replication is asynchronous with writes to the copy volume being done using an IP link. This means that if the main disc goes down a couple of I/Os could be lost as they are still "in the network".

Where this cannot be tolerated, mirroring is more effective. Replication enables users to roll back a copy to a point in time before, for example, a virus attack, which mirroring cannot do. Replication can be cheaper than mirroring as the user only replicates files or databases of interest rather than mirroring entire disc volumes.

By extending Softek's mainframe-based replication technology to Unix and Windows servers, "we're bringing replication to the masses," said Chris James, European marketing director. A cost is that host CPU cycles are used as each write is done twice.

Replicator and TDMF run on the Red Hat Linux distribution. SuSE and Mandrake distributions will be supported in later releases. AIX's JFS file system is supported which, Softek claims, is unique.

U.K. pricing has not been announced yet. Softek Replicator, available in December, is priced from $2,300 per Unix/Windows server and from $30,000 for z/OS. Softek Provisioner is $25,000 per server. Typically copies are needed on two servers for complete data protection. TDMF pricing was not announced.

Chris Mellor writes for IDG News Service


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