In a move that expands its decade-old data storage management software portfolio, IBM on Friday announced a new application designed to continuously protect information — on laptops, desktop PCs and file servers — from viruses, file corruption or accidental deletion.
IBM is billing its Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files as a “data safety net” that provides real-time back up for important information such as Microsoft Word documents, MP3 files, digital photos, presentations and spreadsheets containing sales and tax records.
IBM studies show that loss of data, including time wasted while attempting to restore the information, is among the top problems for mobile workers. While larger companies often have system administrators who handle periodic data backup, IBM said that is often not a viable option for people working outside traditional office environments, such as sales people traveling between airports or telecommuters who work from home part-time.
“With this new technology, IBM is providing customers and their mobile workers with an instant backup and recovery solution to protect information on demand,” said Al Zollar, General Manager, IBM Tivoli Software. “We are extending our technology in storage management software to help people access all the information they need, when and where they need it.”
IBM figures people today are more likely to be connected to a network through high-bandwidth wireless connections in coffee shops, parks and even entire cities, which makes continuous backup of data a practical need.
IBM said the software creates a copy on the local machine in milliseconds, and then sends another copy to a remote server. The software allows people on the go to protect and restore files that are corrupted or accidentally deleted, back to any point in time, even before they were lost.
The software continues to automatically save changes to documents locally as the user is working. Once the computer is back on the network, the software automatically sends those changes to the server for additional protection.
Addressing a Real Concern
Rich Ptak, president of Ptak & Associates, Inc., an Amherst, N.H.-based analyst-consultant firm, told TechNewsWorld that there are many problems for mobile workers — data backup is one of the most pressing issues.
“Real-time back up for files is critically important to avoid lost work. IBM’s software is accomplishing the goal of data back up efficiently,” he said. “The state of technology and bandwidth availability makes it possible, but the challenge is the robustness and stability and reliability of the network.”
At the end of the day, analysts said however well Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files protects data, IBM and its customers are still somewhat reliant on network providers to keep the connection up and running.
Ptak said networks are not as reliable or stable as providers would like to admit. Interestingly enough, he said, IBM stays away from network management and depends on its partners to cover this especially vulnerable area.
Ten Patents Pending
Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files involves more than 10 patents pending on technologies for capturing continuous changes to data in tandem with remote scheduled back-up.
IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files will be available on September 16, 2005, at US$35 per laptop or desktop, and $995 per server processor. The software will be sold direct through IBM and IBM business partners.