LiveVault Fortifies Backup and Recovery Services


Marlborough, Mass.-based LiveVault launched version 4 of its Online Backup and Recovery Service this week. With the debut of the service, LiveVault becomes one of the only online backup and recovery solutions providers to offer an automatic "detect and configure" system for Microsoft Exchange servers.

This is a major upgrade of LiveVault's backup and recovery service portfolio, according to Scott Jarr, LiveVault's director of product managers.

"Our customers asked for this enhancement," Jarr says. "Exchange is difficult to back up — Microsoft has a 233-page document that explains how to back up an Exchange server. No small business has time for that."

The Trickle Effect

Jarr reports small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) shared their experiences with the company, and LiveVault came through with a way to easily protect and back up Microsoft Exchange data.

"LiveVault 4 now gives Exchange users peace of mind that their data is 100 percent protected," says Jarr. "Small businesses don't have to worry about the technical configuration issues anymore; with LiveVault 4, it's an automatic process."

LiveVault 4 also doubles prior benchmarks of network-attached storage (NAS) restoration performance and optimizes network performance, according to Jarr. This makes data restoration faster and easier with far less network drag.

"We use a trickle effect to provide continuous data protection," Jarr explains. "This means we use smaller bits of bandwidth throughout the day backing up data bit by bit, rather than creating possible network degradation during large data dumps."

Just In Case

LiveVault works by automatically and continuously backing up business server data over a secure Internet connection. It then stores the data off-site at an Iron Mountain facility, where the data is available for immediate recovery in the event of a system failure, virus, human error, or natural disaster.

Frank Thomas Meyers, Multiple Risk Managers owner, uses LiveVault's backup and recovery service for his insurance firm located in Anchorage, Ala. The LiveVault service is offered through AMS Services, an application service provider (ASP) Meyer subscribes to in order to run the two-person insurance firm. AMS and LiveVault teamed up in December, 2002, to provide backup and recovery solutions capable of meeting stringent state and federal regulations governing the insurance industry.

"Insurance data integrity is imperative," says Meyers. "Each action we take must be recorded and stored for no less than five years. We have to prove we can be up and running within two business days in the event of a fire or natural disaster. We're comfortable using LiveVault because we know it will be there when we need it."

Instant Data Gratification

The LiveVault service is designed for small and mid-sized businesses that have primarily relied on in-house tape backups to keep their data safe. Analysts estimate nearly 50 percent of tape-based backups fail to restore correctly, which exposes these businesses to significant risk. In contrast, LiveVault guarantees recovery of all business-critical data and enables companies to return operations to the state they were in immediately prior to a data-loss event.

Adam Couture, Gartner Research principal analyst, says the number of businesses that don't back up to a remote site is alarming.

"Almost half of the enterprises studied in a recent Gartner study admitted that they don't vault backup data to a remote site," reports Couture. "As a consequence, a catastrophic event destroying a primary server would likely destroy backup media as well. These dangerous practices should provide plenty of ammunition for remote backup and recovery service providers like LiveVault."

However, LiveVault's Jarr contends the most frequent cause of data restoration events are not the result of natural disasters or catastrophes.

"The number one reason we're asked to restore data protected by LiveVault is human error," says Jarr. "Someone moves or deletes a file that messes up the server configuration, and we're asked to restore the system back to its original state."

Multiple Risk Managers' Meyers has not had to use LiveVault to restore a server to date, but he's glad he knows the service is up and running — just in case.

"We haven't had to do a full data restoration to date — thank goodness," says Meyers. "But we have tested out the system. We deleted, then restored a file and found everything was right as rain. It's good to know we've got LiveVault service. It's there if and when we need it."

Pricing and Availability

LiveVault offers subscribers three choices when it's called upon to restore data. Subscribers simply go to a secure Web interface and tell LiveVault whether they want to restore an entire server, restore Exchange data only, or complete a manual restoration, which allows subscribers to pick the exact files they want to replace. Data is downloaded direct from the secure site. LiveVault will also burn the data onto a CD and ship it overnight, but Jarr says most subscribers take the data straight from the Web connection.

LiveVault 4 is available now and supports Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/2003. All LiveVault services are priced on a per-server basis and are available only through its network of channel partners, resellers, and independent software vendors. For existing customers, LiveVault 4 will be delivered at no additional cost. Providing data backup and recovery for a single server costs about $199 a month. Discounts are available on pre-paid one-year contracts, which usually translates into protecting a single server for about $2,000 a year.

Story courtesy of Small Business Computing.

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