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Electronic vaulting, or e-vaulting, means different things to different companies. It generally ranges from a tape backup to disk mirroring as part of an overall data protection plan. It can be a service offering, a product, a feature of a product, or some combination of these. The common thread running through all these implementations is: movement of data from a primary site to another (often secured) location via a network.
Electronic vaulting can be valuable to all types and sizes of companies, although it's growing increasingly popular for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with limited IT staff, and for larger companies looking to protect a specific segment of users and data cost effectively, such as mobile laptop users. It's typically implemented as part of a disaster recovery (DR) or business continuance plan. Many legal regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley require that information be preserved, regardless of disasters.
Typically, well-architected DR plans include several levels, or tiers, of protection. Data and applications are protected according to their value and regulatory requirement. The lowest DR level is tier 0, which provides no offsite data protection, up to level 7, which provides no loss of data and nearly instantaneous sub-second business continuance in case of a disaster. Certainly, there are tremendous cost differences, ranging from no cost for level 0 to up to millions of dollars to implement a level 6 or level 7.
Whereas tier 1 DR plan provides offsite DR continuity by manually shipping tapes to offsite storage, tier 2 provides standby equipment at the secondary site. Electronic vaulting can be considered tier 3 DR. This provides the same features as tier 2, along with more timely transmission of data. Unlike tier 2 which involves physical shipment of tapes, electronic vaulting transfers backup data to the remote site. This movement of data may be accomplished by several means, including the use of a virtual tape library, along with replication capabilities.
However, the term electronic vaulting has grown to encompass nearly any method of backing up data over a network to a remote location. Some examples of remote-backup offerings include EMC Corp.'s Avamar and Mozy offerings, EVault Inc. (a Seagate company), Iron Mountain Inc. LiveVault and SunGard, to name a few. However, it should be noted that these types of service offerings typically do not include hot site equipment, and thus fit more closely with a tier 2 DR level. Electronic vaulting can be a very beneficial addition to an overall DR scheme for large organizations, or a great first step for small-office and even home-office users.
Source: Based on TechTarget report