Data Vaulting Service From Sysarc

Online Backup Whitepaper:

SysArc Data Vaulting Overview

Executive Summary

The need for reliable data backup has never been greater. Recent studies have shown that 50% of companies that experience total data loss are out of business within one year and 90% within two years. Data backup is no longer an optional insurance policy.

Tape backup systems have been the predominant method of data backup for over 40 years. Like most 40-year-old technologies, tape is outmoded for data backup and restore. According to the research firm The Yankee Group, 40% of tape backups fail. In addition, industry analyst Baroudi Bloor reports that 50% of tape restores fail. Lastly, the Gartner Group predicts that by the end of 2008, expenditures on disk-based backup will be greater than expenditures on tape backup.

The SysArc Data Vaulting service offers world class unattended online backup and restore capabilities. This offering differs from traditional backup and restore software in the marketplace as the backup/restore functionality was built for service provisioning from the ground up and also incorporates a variety of specialized tools, functions, and architecture.

This service extends the traditional client/server architecture of most data protection and management products available on the market by adopting an “agentless” architecture. This makes the service unique because there is no need to install an “agent” or “client” on every target machine that needs to be protected. It fully integrates with existing Windows NT/2000/2003 domains, Trusts and Novell NDS trees, and otherwise adopts the LAN’s existing security settings. The only exception to this “agentless” architecture is for MS-Exchange Message Level Restore (MLR), which requires a small agent on the Exchange server due to Microsoft-imposed restrictions.


SysArc Data Vaulting is comprised of the SysArc Gateway and the SysArc Data Vault. The SysArc Gateway (installed within the customer infrastructure) runs on a Windows 2003 Server platform and collects data to be protected. The SysArc Gateway sends the data in compressed and encrypted format to the SysArc Data Vault (installed in our data center) which runs on a Windows 2003 Server platform.

The SysArc Gateway hosts two software applications. DS-Client is a Windows NT type service that is always operating to check schedule times, implement file and data block transfers, and perform backups/restores. DS-User is a graphical user interface (GUI) that is used to configure, control and monitor the DS-Client application. DS-User may also be installed on any PC to monitor the activity on the DS-Client application on the Gateway (so long as there is IP connectivity between the PC hosting DS-User and the Gateway).

A single instance of the SysArc Gateway software can protect data residing in numerous servers and workstations across the network. For remote offices, another SysArc Gateway is installed at each location.

A smaller footprint software suite (also consisting of DS-User and DS-Client) exists on each laptop PC to be backed up. This software handles backing up files on the individual laptop PC by communicating directly with the data center, bypassing the SysArc Gateway. This architecture allows the laptop or desktop to be backed up anywhere in the world, as long as an Internet connection exists.

Data Backup

SysArc Data Vaulting stores customers’ data in encrypted and compressed format to ensure and protect privacy and confidentiality. Moreover, SysArc Data Vaulting optimizes the amount of data stored on the SysArc Data Vault by using delta blocking and common file elimination technologies. Delta blocking ensures that after an initial data backup, no updated file will ever be backed up in its entirety. Rather, this file is segmented into 1K and 2K blocks and then backup occurs only on the changed blocks. This approach typically provides significant storage size savings over traditional back up techniques where a single change in a file entails backing up the entire file. Common file elimination ensures that the same data is never transmitted offsite more than twice, thereby saving the bandwidth to transmit only new, unique data. Due to the way this technique is applied, it does not matter if the files are on different servers, or even have different filenames, the SysArc Gateway will still never transmit more than two copies.

These two processes, along with compression, reduce the amount of data that is stored on the SysArc Data Vault. In addition, this figure is typically much lower than the amount of data that is actually protected. Since we charge you based on the amount of data stored, substantial cost savings can be realized.

At all times in the process, your data is encrypted (up to 256 bit AES) so that no one, not even SysArc personnel, can access your data. You set the encryption key and thus you control all access.

The SysArc Gateway retains the latest copy of all backed up data. All previous generations of data (a generation is defined as a backed up version of a file) are stored on the SysArc Data Vault.

Data Restore

The SysArc Gateway console allows the authorized customer network administrator to quickly and easily select and restore data. Data can be restored to the original server or to a remote system. Multiple restore operations to separate servers can be performed from a single DS-User Administrator console, making this particularly suitable for a help desk role.

Any restore of the latest version of the backed-up data (e.g. the current MS Exchange email information store) can be accomplished by restoring from the SysArc Gateway. Alternatively, restores of past versions of data involve accessing the data on the SysArc Data Vault.

There are three methods in which data can be restored, each of which represents a unique scale of data restore. The first is online, where data is restored across the network. The second occurs when the restore data is delivered via a portable SysArc disk or media. The third is for major disaster recovery and uses a portable SysArc Data Vault that is delivered to the customer’s site or alternative disaster recovery location.

Data Restore – Online

The primary method of data restoration is online. Using a wizard driven GUI, your administrator or help desk personnel can easily search for and select the proper data, its proper generation and the target destination server to enable restores in minutes. There is no need to retrieve tapes, mount them, and then hope that the media was not physically damaged during transfer. Depending on the version of the data, the SysArc system automatically searches its archives on the SysArc Gateway and the SysArc Data Vault to find the optimal location from which to implement the restore. Typical data size on this type of restore is 1 MB to 10 GB.

Data Restore – Portable Disk

The second method of data restoration is via a SysArc portable disk. Using another wizard driven GUI, your administrator or help desk personnel will request that a copy of the backed-up data is copied to a portable SysArc disk/media. Once our data center staff accomplishes the restore to the disk/media, the disk/media will be transported to your site. Another on-screen wizard will guide your administrator or help desk personnel through the process of restoring the information from the disk/media to a target destination server. This level of restore is used in instances of major data loss, like a major database server or multiple servers. Typical data size on this type of restore is 10 GB to 100 GB.

Data Restore – Portable Data Vault

The third restore option is to request a portable SysArc Data Vault. This could be used as an alternative to the portable SysArc disk or in a major disaster situation where complete back-up data is required. SysArc will deliver the portable SysArc Data Vault to either the customer’s site or an alternate disaster recovery location. The portable SysArc Data Vault is then connected to the customer’s SysArc Gateway via a private LAN connection. In the event of a complete loss of the customer’s Gateway, an alternative Gateway will be designated. Data can then be restored in the same way as for an online restore but with the performance benefit of the portable SysArc Data Vault being on an internal SysArc Gateway LAN. Typical data size on this type of restore is hundreds of GB to multiple TB.


SysArc Data Vaulting can protect a range of network platforms and applications such as Windows, NetWare, UNIX, and Linux based data. NetWare 3 capability includes support for bindery, and NetWare 4 and 5 include support for NDS. Windows environments are fully supported including permissions and streams on NTFS volumes, registry, active directory, and so on.

SysArc extends its backup and restore capability by adding its SysArc Data Vaulting for Laptops and Desktops product, which provides the ability to backup laptop users while they are on travel, working at home, or working at a customer site. A scaled down version of the Gateway software (DS-Client and DS-User) is installed locally on the laptop that periodically (during a specific time schedule) checks for an Internet connection to the SysArc Data Vault. Once a connection is detected, the agent sends the changed data in compressed and encrypted format to the SysArc Data Vault.

The agent runs in the background and can be customized to use very little CPU power on the laptop (as low as 5%). The user is notified when two scheduled backups have been missed. Restores can be performed either online, or via a portable SysArc disk/media.

MS-SQL and MS-Exchange are fully supported without a need to stop the service or install any agent on the host machine. This is accomplished because Microsoft developed SQL and Exchange with the backup requirement in mind. Both products can respond to API calls requesting the services to dump their data, while online, to an external destination. The SysArc Gateway simply asks the specified MS SQL or Exchange server to stream the data to the SysArc Gateway where it is compressed, encrypted and transmitted to the SysArc Data Vault. This process is a supported Microsoft function and guarantees compatibility with your existing Microsoft systems. Online (also known as “hot”) backups for Oracle 8 are supported as well.

For MS-Exchange Message Level Restore (known more generically as “Brick Level Restore”), an agent is installed on the MS Exchange server to adhere to Microsoft requirements. This allows for backup and restore of individual MS-Exchange and MS-Outlook mailboxes and folders (such as contacts or calendar), as well as individual items within the mailbox or folder. The Message Level Restore (MLR) feature allows for restore of mail messages, calendar items, etc while the MS Exchange system remains online and fully functional for all users.

James Eglin

Posted in Windows Disaster Recovery | Leave a comment

Put Remote Management to Work in your Branch Office

Remote system management is an increasingly important issue facing many businesses today. As corporate consolidation integrates additional locations within the same infrastructure, IT professionals face a more demanding environment. Recent surveys show that as many as 95 percent of branch offices operate without on-site IT personnel (1). Additionally, other surveys indicate that while spending on corporate IT staff still constitutes the largest component of most IT budgets, it continues to decline—from 42 percent in 2005 to 37 percent this past year. (2) These trends require IT professionals to do more with less and determine more effective ways to perform critical tasks.

These changes in IT staffing often result in non-technical personnel performing standard tasks, such as data backup, patch management, and system maintenance. Not only do these tasks detract from an employee’s primary responsibilities, it is difficult to assure that best practices and procedures are followed. In addition, failure to perform these tasks could result in vulnerabilities related to data loss and security.

In addressing the challenges and risks associated with remote site management, many IT professionals are implementing ‘intelligent’ management solutions. These solutions provide systems administrators with remote, bios-level access to all of their servers, network devices, and other critical equipment.

Remote management solutions offer significant benefits, including:

Reducing downtime and allowing administrators to bring equipment back online quickly

Decreasing operating costs by eliminating or reducing the need for IT staff or third-party service calls

Centralizing datacenter control, improving security and providing easier and more efficient processes to perform system administration, maintenance, and upgrades

Improving physical site security and monitoring, minimizing capital loss due to vandalism or theft of equipment (3)

Remote management solutions generally combine remote management, intelligent power, and environmental monitoring. Below are example solutions from Avocent and Raritan that enable IT professionals to easily integrate their remote locations into their centralized management process, as well as standalone solutions offered by other vendors.

Integrated Remote Management Solutions


Remote Management: Avocent’s DSView 3 software provides an integrated platform for managing KVM switches, service processor aggregation appliances, and serial devices. Avocent’s DSR switches provide remote bios-level server and serial device control, and its service processor aggregation appliances, the OnBoard and the MergePoint, can be used to remotely manage devices with integrated onboard technologies.

Power: Avocent’s Cyclades AlterPath PM intelligent power distribution units enable remote power management and control of servers and network devices. AlterPath PM devices can be used with DSR switches and Cyclades console servers and integrate with DSView 3, combining system access and power control into a single interface. These devices come in both 208 and 110 models, with many variations in number of outlets and amperage available.

Console: Avocent’s Cyclades ACS console servers are available in single and dual power supply options. When combined with integrated power management and centralized administration, these devices provide secure and consolidated out-of-band infrastructure management. ACS console servers use a Linux operating system, are accessible both in-band and out-of-band, and have detailed logging capabilities and numerous security features.


Remote Management: Raritan’s CommandCenter Secure Gateway Appliance provides centralized management of servers and IT devices managed by Raritan Dominion series switches and console servers, as well as IT equipment with service processors and embedded technologies. The CommandCenter can also integrate remote power strips connected to Raritan Dominion products. The CommandCenter features 128-bit encryption and third-party authentication through Active Directory, TACACS+, LDAP, and RADIUS, and provides strong password support.

Power: Raritan’s remote power switches enable the remote monitoring, reboot, and shutdown of all connected devices. Using the Command Center, they integrate with Dominion KX switches and SX console servers, as well as other Raritan products, such as the Paragon II and IP Reach switches. These devices feature relay-controlled AC power receptacles, which allow administrators to monitor variables such as voltage, power, and temperature.

Console: Raritan’s Dominion SX and XRO devices provide out-of-band remote KVM access and serial device control, power control, and feature a modem for access if a network goes down. Dominion XRO devices allow 1 digital and 1 local user to control 1-3 servers and 4-8 serial devices and integrate with the CommandCenter Secure Gateway Appliance.

Standalone Solutions

Centralized KVM Over IP Management –Minicom

Minicom’s device allows administrators to leverage their existing investments by providing front-end out-of-band KVM over IP management for mixed server environments. provides secure, centralized management with a Linux-based GUI, and is a scalable system that features automatic discovery of all IP devices attached to the system. The device provides authentication and authorization mechanisms for secure access to servers, “non-blocking” access, and the capability to group users and servers.

Environmental Monitoring—Netbotz

NetBotz provides robust standalone environmental monitoring solutions. For smaller spaces with limited future expandability needs, the Netbotz 320 provides integrated environmental monitoring (temperature, humidity, dew point, airflow, door, and audio) with a web interface that provides immediate sensor readings, real-time camera images, and immediate configuration. The NetBotz 420 offers similar functions for small to medium-sized spaces that require comprehensive monitoring with moderate expandability potential. For larger spaces, the docked camera pods and sensor pods of the WallBotz 500 can be placed up to 340 feet from a base station, allowing coverage of multiple rooms or cabinets. An add-on CCTV adapter allows a CCTV camera to be used as well.

Intelligent Power—Server Technology

Server Technology’s remote power management solutions allow administrators to cycle power to non-responsive systems from any location via a web interface. These products also leverage leading advances in power distribution, such as 3-Phase power, branch circuit protection, and intelligent power-up sequencing. Server Technology also offers environmental monitoring devices that work with its power solutions, such as onboard probes that integrate with the Power Tower XL, allowing administrators to view temperature, humidity, water sensors, and dry contact closure sensors from its Enterprise View software, the same interface used to manage and monitor power.

Which of These Solutions Is Right For You?

42U provides complete remote management solutions, including KVM over IP, intelligent power, environmental monitoring, rack cooling, and rackmount solutions. The team at 42U specializes in assessing needs, creating solutions, and supporting clients, to ensure that IT professionals maximize their use of current technologies to improve overall business performance. A 42U sales engineer can help you sort through potential remote management solutions and select the one most appropriate for your organization’s particular needs and environment.


(1) (2006) Gareiss, R. “Branch Office Support: A Distant Reality”, Network World,

(2) (2007) Rothberg, D. “Companies Will Spend More on The Channel, Less on Staff in 2007”, eWeek,


(3) (2005) Hack, T. “Optimizing Remote Site Equipment Configuration, Monitoring, and Control.” Remote Site and Equipment Management,

Lauren Nowenstein

Posted in Backup Best Practices | Leave a comment

The Quickest Recovery With Rollback Rx

Rollback Rx has an important role to play as a security system for your computer. Rollback Rx allows you to
rollback to the point where your system did not have any operating problems. When you have problems with your PC, you can do a pc restore to a snapshot. It is possible to protect you data by restoring a snapshot in Windows or below Windows when it crashed. Rollback Rx system restore software gives you the flexibility to rollback and roll forward between system snapshots. Restoring computers to a snapshot takes about ten seconds or less. Each snapshot you take is the complete system, programs, wallpaper and settings, data, registry, etc. You can take snapshots as per the schedule you set, from the options provided by Rollback Rx.

Activating Rollback Rx On Your Computer

RollBack Rx system restore software has software-based product activation technology. This means that when you install Rollback Rx, you have to activate it to use it, so that you can fix computer problems and restore computer settings whenever you need. This activation can be done either over the Internet or without one.

If Rollback Rx is installed in a computer that is connected to the Internet, then activation can be over the Internet with the authorized product ID that comes with the product, whether you’ve bought a copy of it or downloaded the demo version. The number of computers authorized by the product ID is the number of computers that can be activated. Once you restart your computer after activation, you will have your disaster recovery solution firmly in place!

Manual activation of Rollback Rx is possible without an Internet connection. All you need to do is send your Product ID and registration ID to Horizon DataSys Tech Support via email or Fax, who will send you a registration code. You can use this to activate your Rollback Rx and get started with using it to fix computer problems. Your user guide will help you in showing you how to take snapshots and schedule them, how to configure your Rollback Rx so you can repair computer problems quickly and so on.

System Restore With Rollback Rx Is Easy

System restore is very easy with Rollback Rx. You have different options to do this. It can be done through the application console in Windows, or the subsystem console, which loads before Windows boots your system. This means you can repair computer problems even if Windows does not load, since Rollback Rx operates below the Windows platform. You can also automatically set your Rollback Rx to restore on every reboot, log off or shut down at various time intervals.

Jacob Henderson

Posted in Windows Disaster Recovery | Leave a comment