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Unitrends Enables Hot Backups Of System Images For Bare-Metal Restores

Unitrends on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its bare-metal restore software that allows the creation of system images while the server is working.

Unitrends on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its bare-metal restore software that allows the creation of system images while the server is working.

Bare-metal restore software, offered by a number of vendors, enables a server's operating system and system settings to be backed up. That allows a crashed server to be recovered quickly without the need to dig out the operating system CDs or re-enter system settings.

But traditional bare-metal restore applications, including those sold by Unitrends, require a server to be brought down for the operating-system image to be backed up, said Mark Phillippi, director of product management at Columbia, S.C.-based Unitrends. "You'd get a clean, pristine, bootable image, but customers don't want to take their system down," he said.

Unitrends' new Hot Bare Metal, on the other hand, allows the system image to be backed up without disrupting the server operation, Phillippi said. "Since you don't need to boot the unit to capture the image, you can capture the image anytime," he said.

Steve Wright, owner of Wright Business Technologies, a Houston-based solution provider that works with Unitrends' products, said his customers have been waiting for such a capability.

"Traditionally, doing bare-metal requires bringing the server down to make the image," Wright said. "But technology has changed and become more mission-critical, so that's more and more difficult to do. So if you can do a bare-metal image during a backup, it's phenomenal."

For example, if a customer with only 15 to 20 servers needs to bring them all down and each takes an average of 45 minutes, even by doing them one at a time, one might finish just in time to do another Microsoft patch update, Wright said. "But if you can schedule a bare-metal [image backup] every 15 days without taking the server down, you can do it without affecting system performance," he noted. "Or you can time it so it happens during normal backup windows."

Hot Bare Metal also enables users to do snapshots of a server's data, including all open files, Phillippi said. "There are always open files. A user always forgets to close an Excel spreadsheet at night. We can back up all those files, including open files," he said.

Like all Unitrends software, Hot Bare Metal is sold integrated with the company's Data Protection Unit and Data Protection Vault disk-to-disk backup appliance. Except for a small amount of OEM sales, Unitrends' products are sold exclusively through the channel, Phillippi said.

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