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Clinic clamors for backup blade on HP BladeSystem

Austin Diagnostic is using FilesX CDP software to protect 100 Windows servers, but is eager for HP's BladeSystem to reduce network traffic.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) announced in December that it would be porting FilesX Inc.'s continuous data protection (CDP) backup software to the HP BladeSystem. The development work is complete, according to FilesX, and at least one user is eager to test the backup blade in the field.

Ned Euwer, systems and network engineer at Austin Diagnostic Clinic (ADC) runs a tight computer room that's shared with the North Austin Medical Center. "We're elbow-to-elbow in here … I am really excited to hear about more functionality on the BladeSystem if we can get it in here affordably," Euwer said.

ADC has 10 racks of servers, one rack of blades, a storage area network (SAN) rack, a networking rack and a three-rack uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system. Within the server racks, the clinic has two racks of virtual machines running 120 servers. "Theoretically, we could get all this in one rack with the BladeSystem," he said. Euwer also said he has his sights on a backup blade that would serve as a repository for backing up all blades in the BladeSystem.

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"Running backup at the hardware management level, taking it out of the operating system and not having to deal with operating system overhead or network traffic sounds really great," he said.

ADC has been using the standard version of FilesX Xpress Restore CDP software for 18 months to protect 100 Microsoft servers. The FilesX software is installed on 12 of ADC's critical servers, with Xpress Restore agents supporting all of its servers and blade systems. FilesX is also installed for disaster recovery at a remote site for protection against site disasters.

The Xpress Restore software protects the clinic's electronic medical records (EMR) system running on an Oracle database, plus a 900-mailbox Exchange system, lab systems, insurance claims management and other administrations applications. The key reason for installing the software was to reduce the clinic's recovery point objective (RPO) on medical records. "We reduced it to two hours from 24 hours recovering from tape," Euwer said. "Doctors need to look at medical records when they need to look at them … we had to minimize the time our database was unavailable," he said.

Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing for HP's StorageWorks division, said the company is still working on the implementation details of backup services within the BladeSystem and isn't ready to announce anything yet. "There is a roadmap for this, but I can't specify what's coming," Eitenbichler said. Meanwhile, Richard Vining, vice president of marketing at FilesX, said the development work on the backup blade with HP is complete, and FilesX is engaged with HP in the channel.

HP took first position in worldwide blade server factory revenue and units shipped, according to Q4 2006 server market figures from IDC Corp. released in February. HP overtook IBM to lead the backup blade server market in Q4 with 41.9% factory revenue share and 40% total factory units share, and showed approximately 10 times the growth of IBM in units and revenue year over year, according to the IDC report.

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