XOsoft product verifies disaster recovery tools

Will test DR systems with minimal disruption

XOsoft last week introduced software based on the premise that data replication and mirroring software isn't any good if it isn't working.

The company, which sells replication and mirroring tools, says Assured Recovery is designed to simplify the process of making sure such tools are in order.

Only 40% of three dozen IT professionals surveyed recently by research firm TheInfoPro say they are "somewhat" confident that their disaster recovery systems will work when called upon. The survey also found that testing costs from $30,000 to more than $1 million, perhaps explaining why only half of those asked said they test their disaster recovery systems yearly.

Assured Recovery installs on a host computer (such as one running Microsoft Exchange or an Oracle database), suspends the replication process and spools any data changes to a file. Software installed on a remote server validates its database, the master server is restored to the pre-test state and changes continue to spool. These changes are sent to the remote server and replication resumes.

"An untested solution is no solution," says Gil Rapaport, executive vice president of marketing for XOsoft. "Over time, server migrations, changes to the network configuration or hardware failures may cause replication or mirroring operations to fail. A gap is created between the last time the company tested its disaster recovery system and its current readiness to do recovery."

Analysts say testing replication processes is typically cumbersome, expensive and causes unnecessary downtime.

"The real difficulty in business continuity/disaster recovery testing is that until you mirror or replicate the data, recover it and restart all your applications on the secondary site, you have no idea whether the data you are mirroring or replicating is actually consistent, recoverable and restartable," says Stephanie Balaouras, senior analyst with The Yankee Group.

The initial release of Assured Recovery only supports XOsoft's WANSynch and Enterprise Rewinder products, although extensions are planned.

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