Too many users fail to include email in their disaster recovery planning because of cost, claimed Mirapoint as it announced a remote site replication scheme for its mail, calendar and security appliances, which compete with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.

"Our customer research found not very many people were taking the DR route because they didn't think email was worth the cost – they didn't feel it was on the same scale as their online transaction processing, for example," said Mirapoint's Adrian Hall.

He said that Mirapoint's high-end mail-servers in particular have a problem because they are clustered systems with RAID-10 storage, which needs expensive SAN replication mechanisms.

By comparison, both Microsoft and IBM/Lotus have remote clustering schemes for replication, as well as other third-party DR products. However, Hall argued that while many DR schemes require users to duplicate the main system on the backup site, this is often not necessary, and a less powerful system may be enough to cover the gap. Similarly, he said that for email, full synchronous replication might not be essential.

"So we took a mechanism which allows you to put another Mirapoint in your DR site," he explained. "You don't need the same quality of service – it could be a cluster on the primary site and just a server head with a bunch of disks on the other. Then we take regular snapshots, every four to 24 hours, and transfer the incremental changes."

Hall said that the remote site replication (RSR) add-on costs $15,000 and includes both replication software and the services needed to set it up and get it working. He claimed that with Mirapoint's servers costing from $12,000 to $250,000 or more, "that will amount to a few percent of the total."