Backup software is like a dyke holding a back sea of data and preventing it leaking away. But there are holes in the dyke and data does leak away in the intervals between backup runs whenever there is a system or disk crash. Yosemite Technologies aims to plug this leaky dyke.

Yosemite, hitherto a little-known but very prevalent maker of backup software sold by OEMs such as HP and Dell, is marching boldly into the public arena with its own enhanced products. Yosemite Backup for instance has had virtual tape library functionality added to it.

This is now being complemented by a brand new product called Yosemite FileKeeper. It offers two things quite new to small and medium businesses, the bedrock of Yosemite's customer base. These are continuous data protection (CDP) and a single instance filestore (SIFS) for Windows users.

What Yosemite has done is to buy a promising three year-old startup, called FileKeeper after its eponymous product, ensure it works with Yosemite Backup, and introduce it as Yosemite FileKeeper. It offers file-level CDP for desktop and notebook computers. Yosemite Backup is mainly for the server market and now Yosemite has extended its market outwards to include client systems.

The product does file-level differencing to achieve its single instance filestore. Any changes to a file resulting in a disk write are saved such that all data is saved continuously with no data loss exposure between backup windows.

Yosemite's CEO, George Symons, says; "It ties in to Yosemite Backup which is the disaster recovery repository." The product will ship in mid-February.

What Yosemite saw in FileKeeper was a great product from a company with a direct sales model which limited its growth. It had a small number of very good customers. By buying the company and its engineers, Yosemite can vastly expand its potential channel through its OEM and channel partners.

A fresh outlook on backup

Symons has bought a fresh outlook to Yosemite and a recognition of the importance of disk media; "The small medium business market is taking disk backup very seriously."

Some are just backing up to disk - D2D - and Symons says; "If you're only doing D2D there's not a lot of value in putting the data into tape format. But we still see customers wanting to go to a long-term, off-site archive. That's the only way to do disaster recovery (DR)."

He outlines three basic DR scenarios: tape off-site; removable hard drives off-site; and online to a service provider with backup as a service, perhaps using replication. "Over time this service provider one will get interesting as to data formats."

The space taken up by disk-based backup and the bandwidth required for online backup both represent problems and potential opportunities to him through de-0duplication technology.

"We are thinking about de-duplication at the sub-file level and we are working at the technology."

De-duplication carries with it a processing burden. "You can carry out back-end de-dupe, i.e. on the repository server, but it doesn't save you bandwidth. You can do it at the front end and then you save bandwidth. It's a trade-off with no one right answer." You do it wherever it makes sense for the application bearing in mind the processing and bandwidth resources.

Symons says Yosemite is no longer just a backup vendor; it is a data protection vendor. All backup software vendors are facing the same disk-based conundrum and, in his view, they all have to change to becoming data protection product suppliers fully embracing disk.

He is set on making Yosemite known for the ease of use of its products. Preparing files for tape and restoring files from tape brings its own constraints. By embracing disk these constraints are weakened.

Symons says: "Yosemite has a laser focus on the small and medium business space." As SMBs are embracing disk he is moving Yosemite to get itself fully engaged with disk-based data protection. Dell, for example, ships Yosemite software with its RD1000 removable hard drive backup product.

The CDP and SIFS features of Yosemite FileKeeper should prove a strong draw to SMB customers who can realistically start to think of never losing data ever again.

Backup software vendors are facing future shock otherwise known as the rise of disk. For them the days of backing up data to tape and counting the money are drawing to a close. They have to do more and the faster they move into the new era the better. Literally they have to build themselves new products for spinning media so as to keep the revenues streaming in.