2002 opened with information technology (IT) professionals outside of the enterprise becoming more proficient with words and phrases such as replication, disaster recovery (DR), DR planning, business continuity, failover, backup site and the like. More and more small- to medium-sized business are beginning to realize the real financial impact of disasters, unscheduled downtime and data loss; and they are eager to make disaster recovery planning part of the IT budget. Businesses are searching for vendors who can design DR strategies, recommend and implement hardware and software, and provide secure data center facilities that will protect business critical data from loss or destruction.

A company approached a tier 1 managed hosting/IT outsourcing provider to design an infrastructure that would ensure application availability and data integrity. At the time, the application resided in the company's data center facility. The company was bound by contracts with their own customers to ensure data availability and application uptime. Even though hosting in a secure, state-of-the-art data center would protect the infrastructure from the majority of possible disasters, a business requirement dictated that the data reside in different geographic locations. The application itself would be made highly available through duplicating the Web and middle-tier servers at each of the locations. The sites would then act as primary and secondary. Out-of-band access to the data, high availability and performance were essential as well and were ranked as close seconds behind protecting the data from a disaster. It was clear that an intelligent storage and replication infrastructure was at the heart of the solution: an infrastructure that would replicate data at the block level independent of format and application.

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