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SunGard adds EMC Data Domain deduplication to Secure2Disk cloud data backup service

Customers can keep a Data Domain deduplication box at SunGard's data centers to restore data online after an outage, though application and server failover remain separate services.

SunGard Availability Services has updated its Secure2Disk cloud backup service, adding EMC Data Domain data deduplication appliances to cut down on bandwidth and storage capacity costs.

SunGard initially launched Secure2Disk last year with a SunGard-managed appliance on the customer's premise to gather data locally and replicate it to the SunGard data center. There, the data would be stored compressed and encrypted until the customer needed to restore it.

With the new Secure2Disk powered by EMC Data Domain, customers also have the choice of deploying a Data Domain appliance. Otherwise, the service remains the same: data sent from the on-premise appliance is stored on a Data Domain device connected to SunGard's network for recovery from an outage or disaster.

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Laurie Elliott, solutions marketing manager for Recovery Services at SunGard, said customers previously could buy floor space through SunGard's collocation offerings and put a Data Domain device at one of SunGard's data centers. But with this offering, the appliance will be racked, attached to a dedicated media server and connected to the shared network. SunGard also allows users to delegate recovery operations to its staff.

Each customer gets a dedicated Data Domain device at SunGard, according to Elliott, who said customers weren't comfortable with a shared environment. "We could get a Data Domain DD880 and make a really big recovery cloud using a shared environment," she said. "But while we were investigating that there was some concern among our customers about being in the same box with other people's data.

"As we expand recovery in the cloud, that's something we will address."

One early adopter of Secure2Disk powered by EMC Data Domain said data deduplication was the only way to make offsite data backup affordable, even when the secondary data center is hosted by someone else. Kevin Noel, manager of IT risk for Florida-based Halifax Health, which owns medical centers in Daytona Beach and Port Orange, said his company has been a SunGard colocation customer for six years. Halifax Health became one of about a dozen beta testers for Secure2Disk powered by EMC Data Domain a year ago.

Previously, Halifax Health had been backing up to LTO-2 tape drives and sending the tapes to Iron Mountain for long-term retention. Tired of the management hassle and security risk of sending tape offsite (and having seen the price tag for an upgrade to LTO-4), Noel said he began to look for a new disk-based backup approach.

The company already had a contract with SunGard to use servers in Philadelphia for disaster recovery, and went with Secure2Disk powered by EMC Data Domain to consolidate offsite data to one location and because of the data deduplication feature.

"Data deduplication along with encryption gives us double security [in transit]," Noel said. "We also send data a thousand miles using a VPN tunnel over our ISP's network – deduplication makes working with that bandwidth possible." Noel estimates that Halifax Health sends about 50 GB after deduplication and compression over the wire each night, protecting 16 TB of primary data storage infrastructure through a DD565 data deduplication array.

SunGard has at least one direct competitor offering cloud data backup and disaster recovery services. Startup Simply Continuous lets customers replicate and spin up virtual servers for failover in the event of a disaster. A recent partnership between Double-Take Software and Amazon also allows organizations to do that. SunGard has the ability to replicate and convert between virtual and physical servers, Elliott said, but that's not part of this Secure2Disk offering.

Noel said he'd like it to be. "Being able to stand up virtual servers would bring our RTO [recovery time objective] down even further," he said. "We're trying to get as close to synchronous replication as we can, without actually having to pay for SAN to SAN replication and dark fiber."

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