IBM has added asynchronous data replication to its deduplication appliance, which allows remote back up and restore between ProtecTIER boxes.

The native replication feature will be available 4 September as an optional feature on new ProtecTIER orders and as a software upgrade for existing TS7650G ProtecTIER Deduplication Gateway boxes and TS7650 ProtecTIER Deduplication VTL Appliances.

ProtectTIER, which IBM obtained when it bought Diligent Technologies a year ago, can be used as either a virtual tape library (VTL) for backing up data to disk before it is offloaded to tape archival systems or as a gateway between servers and primary storage arrays to reduce storage capacity requirements by removing duplicate data.

"In the past, using replication to protect data has been reserved for only the most mission critical applications because of the cost of network bandwidth required to enable replication," said Cindy Grossman, vice president of tape and archive storage at IBM. "By combining the powerful data reduction capabilities of ProtecTIER deduplication with native replication technology, that level of protection can now be extended to a much larger range of applications, which means customers no longer need to make trade-off decisions on enabling replication for only a few key applications."

While not unique - Data Domain, Sepaton and FalconStor are among the many companies offering data deduplication appliances and VTLs - Diligent's ProtectTIER was the first deduplication VTL on the market when it was released in 2005.

David Hill, founder of research firm the Mesabi Group, said IBM's addition of replication to its appliance is significant because it addresses a key issue with disaster recovery and business continuity: bandwidth issues.

"You have to use WAN acceleration technology or data deduplication to reduce the amount of information you have to send across the wire to make it economically feasible. So this expands IBM's range and ability to provide data protection," he said.

The list price for the replication feature is approximately $2,000(£1,220) per terabyte of data on the appliance, according to IBM.