Briefing Note: Asigra Converges Data Protection without lowering expectations

As we discussed in our article “Service Level Objectives What do RPO, RTO, VRO and GRO Mean?” enterprises need, and now are beginning, to demand a broad spectrum of data protection options to match different use cases. For example, the NAS storing user home directories with millions of files that have not been accessed in years does not need to be recovered as quickly as the high transaction eCommerce application that generates revenue for the business. These applications should be recovered differently from different devices. At the same time, the enterprise does not want to install a new application for each service level objective. Asigra, in its version 13 release, addresses this requirement head on.

Data Protection Convergence

Asigra’s version 13 convergence varies data protection techniques into a single scalable application to meet various RPO and RTO demands placed on IT by the organization. For example, they have implemented VM Replication for the fastest recovery from a disaster. This means that Asigra now provides three different data protection options for enterprises.

Option 1 is a point-in-time backup protection with full VM- or file-level recovery. This option consumes the fewest storage and compute resources. Option 2 is classic Asigra Virtual Disaster Recovery (VDR) providing point-in-time backup protection and replication for faster RTOs than the recovery required by Option 1. Option 3, the new VM Replication which meets the most demanding RTOs, leverages VMware vSphere replication, without backup, to one or more warm, on or off-site replicas.

While these options all exist from single, stand-alone products, Asigra integrates them into a single interface to make management and verification of protection more seamless.

The second area of convergence is focused on end-point protection, which is already integrated into the Asigra solution. In version 13, they add the ability to geo-locate and remotely wipe devices. But Asigra only removes the data that it is protecting from these devices, making this very valuable feature for a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) situation. If an employee leaves the company in an organization that has moved to BYOD, Asigra allows the deletion of just the organization’s data from that device, leaving the users personal information intact.

The third area of convergence is tape, yes TAPE! Asigra now provides tape integration for the lowest cost, long-term backup retention. This further fulfills the mission of meeting various RTO requirements, as data that’s five years old seldom needs a rapid RTO. Instead, cost effective storage of that data is far more important.

What’s most impressive is Asigra’s choice to use LTFS as the tape format. This means that a tape written by Asigra should be transportable between service providers and potentially even applications. As we discuss in our article “What is LTFS?” these tapes are written in a non-proprietary format and can be read using an open-source software utility. Asigra clearly has confidence in the quality of their solution. Instead of being locked in, they want you to keep using their product because you like and trust the solution. What a novel concept.

The final form of convergence is the addition of Office 365 to Asigra’s cloud-to-cloud backup support, which also includes and Google Apps for Work. Again, cloud-to-cloud backup is available from a few vendors, but no enterprise backup vendor that I know of has integrated it to the extent that Asigra has. We discussed Asigra’s Cloud-to-Cloud backup solution in this ChalkTalk video with Eran Farajun.

Under The Hood

Version 13 also saw some internal code updates that help improve both backup and recovery performance. It also now supports Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager, which allows for the mass deployment of Asigra software for Windows endpoints. Version 13 provides Chinese localization that further opens Asigra up to the potentially huge Chinese market.

Service Provider Enhancements

Asigra software is used by a global network of cloud service providers to deliver Backup as a Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and their needs weren’t left out of this release. Asigra now provides both FreeBSD, CentOS and ZFS support, all of which allows the provider to use a more commodity hardware offering. Finally, they now provide Docker support, both for deployment and data protection.

Storage Swiss Take

Last year Asigra turned the market upside down with their Recovery Based Licensing Model. As we discussed in our article “Rationalizing Backup Licensing Strategies” backup licensing needs to evolve, and Asigra is on the forefront driving that change. With Version 13 Asigra returns to the work at hand, providing complete protection for the enterprise. Usually convergence of data protection also means lowering expectations. But instead, with version 13, it seems that Asigra wants to provide a complete data protection solution that meets the high expectations of users and application owners.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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