Revivio is adding automated, application-aware, continuous protection and recovery to its existing CPS (Continuous Protection System) product. The CPS appliance continuously backs up a storage system to a recovery server with every write to the storage system's disk time-stamped. This means it can be recovered to any point in time and not just the last backup or snapshot which could be hours or days before the event necessitating the restore.

Revivio's CPS writes every changed disk block to the recovery system. Adninistrators can restore files easily to any point in time. Restoring applications, such as Lotus Notes or SQL Server requires the co-ordinated restoration of several, possibly many, files. Revivio's Application Integration System (AIS) has application knowledge modules built in so that the restoration of entire applications can be automated.

This necessarily requires the AIS to talk directly to storage infrastructure hardware and software to mount volumes and do other things that a Sysadm would do when restoring an application's collection of files. It has (storage infrastructure) object knowledge modules built in to do this, objects being things like SAN switches or drive arrays. There is also an interface management module enabling scripts or command line interfaces to be added so that AIS can talk to new storage or fabric devices or software.

The SNIA's developing standard management protocol, SMI-S, is supported and used where possible, but not all devices or applications, or indeed, all storage vendors use it yet.

The AIS product is extensible so that customers or Revivio partners can customise it to, for example, vertical market applications. It can also be used to debug new applications by testing them against an image of production data and thus not putting on-line production data at risk.

AIS can be used to test the ability of a Revivio-based disaster recovery system to recover from a disaster with a report produced verifying that a recovery process was initiated and completed successfully. This is useful where disaster recovery procedures have to be audited and verified.

Existing customers for Revivio's CPS with a maintenance contract will receive AIS as a no-cost update. The software runs on a Windows or Linux server and requires no agents in production servers; running non-disruptively alongside the storage system.

Coincidentally Kashya has introduced a combined disaster recovery/continuous data protection product also with application awareness. The KBX5000 R2.3 product bookmarks its journalled record of block changes so that complete application environments or complete Oracle, Exchange and SQL Server applications can be restored to pre-event times. Thus an HBA upgrade or a business event such as accounts preparation could be bookmarked so that systems could be restored to a known state if they go wrong after the event is bookmarked.

It is hard to see how this level of automated application restoration could be matched by a tape-based backup system.