Las Vegas

Long-term data storage is an important consideration, but how can agents and insurers protect themselves against loss of critical data that may be a few weeks old, or may have just been created?

The answer may lie in several new technologies for backup and recovery of critical data introduced during the recent Comdex 2003 Global Technology Marketplace held here.

CMS Products Inc. introduced its Velocity Series backup system for desktop computers. According to Costa Mesa, Calif.-based CMS, the series is the first all-in-one backup product to incorporate a Serial ATA interface, “providing users with complete backup, restore, disaster recovery capabilities and an externally bootable backup system.”

Serial ATA (SATA) is a technology that increases the data transfer rate between points in a computing system.

“The Velocity Series is capable of clocking transfer rates of up to 1.5Gb [gigabits] per second, which is over 3 times faster than backup systems using [other technologies],” the company claims. Because it is an externally bootable system, it can respond instantly after a hard drive or operating system failure. The company is offering an optional Serial ATA controller card to make the technology compatible for machines that dont support the Serial ATA interface.

CMS says the Velocity Series allows users to “go back in time” to access older versions of data from any point in time that a backup was performed. “The ability to access older versions of files is valuable in maintaining an accurate history of documents, which endure ongoing revisions,” CMS explains.

Using a “synchronization component,” users can move between multiple computers and update files, regardless of which computer generated the files, says CMS. “The software automatically scans both the host computers hard drive and the Velocity Series drive for new or changed files, and updates the out-of-date versions by synchronizing them with the up-to-date versions.”

A QuickRestore module allows users to recover data lost in a hard drive failure or accidental deletion by clicking on the “restore” button. The backup device performs a complete restoration of selected data from the most recent backup of the computers hard drive, the company notes. “This feature reduces downtime and increases return on investment through the decrease in help desk or IT department involvement,” adds CMS.

The Velocity Series, which begins shipping this month, is available in capacities from 80GB (gigabytes) to 200GB, with manufacturers suggested prices starting at $299, says CMS. The product is compatible with both Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems.

Further details are available at www.cmsproducts.com.

UltraBac Software showcased UltraBac Disaster Recovery (UBDR) Pro, which uses “snapshot disk imaging technology” to back up Microsoft Windows servers and workstations.

According to Bellevue, Wash.-based UltraBac, the product enables recovery of an unbootable machine in “minutes.”

The company says it developed the product at the request of disaster recovery users who wanted an easier, faster and more reliable method to boot dead machines than using old DOS technology. “The days of an administrator needing 2 hours to 2 days to recover a failed server are over,” says Morgan Edwards, CEO and founder of UltraBac. “Now, its 15 minutes, or even less on a high-speed network.”

After installation, UBDR Pro uses an automatic scheduler to back up snapshot images of selected data to tape, disk or other storage systems, the company explains. A built-in locked file backup agent ensures that all files are backed up. The backup image file is compressed before being transferred to a network storage location, reducing network traffic and saving storage space.

If the server or workstation protected by the product fails, “it can be restored in a matter of minutesat a rate of up to 800MB (megabytes) per minute” on some high-speed networks, says UltraBac. To recover the failed machine, users boot from a universal UBDR Pro CD, then initiate a restore of the image from the storage location.

“After the restore, a reboot recovers the machine 100 percent to its last pre-backup state,” the company says. “Users may also invoke the built-in encryption feature to complete secure backup media for online or off-line storage security requirements.”

Pricing for the stand-alone version of UBDR Pro is $695 per server, with discounts offered on multiple license purchases, the company says.

Further information is available at www.ultrabac.com.

Lost CD- or DVD-based text data or imagessuch as PowerPoint presentations, essential documents, or claims-related photosmay now be recoverable with CD/DVD Diagnostic, a software product from Arrowkey Inc., Lincolnshire, Ill.

According to Arrowkey, the product can “retrieve unreadable Windows files from uncooperative discs with a bit of automated detective work,” then copy the rescued material to the users hard drivewithout the need for additional hardware.

Paul Crowley, chairman of Arrowkey, said in an interview with National Underwriter that mass production of optical-based media (CD, DVD) in recent years has caused a reduction in the quality of new media being produced. As a result, he notes, such media may be faulty right out of the package, and valuable data may be compromised.

CD/DVD Diagnostic recovers data from unreadable, scratched or corrupt media, including CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW formats. It also can be used with discs created on Macintosh and Linux systems, Arrowkey says. The product searches for and reconstructs damaged files and directories, regardless of the software that originally was used to record the files.

Arrowkey says the program scans any optical disc, displays a list of all files discovered and allows users to preview the contents before copying all or part of them to the hard drive or external media. It also features readability testing of the entire disc to gauge the extent of the damage, allowing users to determine whether or not recovery efforts will be successful, as well as whether or not the disc will be reusable.

CD/DVD Diagnostic operates on any personal computer running Windows 95 through Windows XP and requires several hundred megabytes of free hard drive space to recover data from a problematic disk, Arrowkey says. It can be used with any disc drive and carries a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Further details and a free evaluation version of the software are available at www.arrowkey.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, January 2, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.