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November 14, 2005

NearTek switches VTL to Linux

Aiming at Open Systems customers, Neartek Inc has ported its clustered VTL software from Windows to Linux.

By CBR Staff Writer

Two years ago the start-up launched a Windows-based Open Systems version of its previously mainframe-only Virtual Storage Engine virtual tape library software. But there were few takers for that software, because of security concerns raised by Windows. The company, which has also been selling application migration tools, admits that its two dozen-odd VSE customers are mostly mainframe shops.

The Linux kernel-based VSE version 3 will ship at the end of November. NearTek says the biggest virtue of the software is its scalability and availability when running across multiple clustered servers, and its support for cross-vendor back-end disk and tape.

But VSE 3 also introduces what NearTek claims is a unique approach the problem of keeping media catalogues in sync with data exported from VTL-driven disk to tape. The update also adds a multi-channel striped FTP implementation for transmission of data over IP WAN links, optional hardware-based compression, and support for third-party encryption cards.

Customers treat the media catalogue as a bible, said Lauren Whitehouse, marketing vice president for NearTek. But a media catalogue can easily lose track of data when virtual tapes are exported from VTL disk to tape for archiving purpose. By compromising the potential to recover data from tape, that undermines the whole purpose of backing up data.

One solution is to recover data from the VTL all the way back to a backup server. Then that backup server can be instructed to copy the data to tape, with complete confidence that its catalogue will be fully in sync. But this process has the drawback that it consumes cycles on backup servers.

NearTek’s solution is to host a media agent alongside its VTL software – a media agent supplied by the customers’ backup management vendor. Our appliance becomes a media server, Whitehouse said, claiming that this is a unique feature.

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