Continuous data protection (CDP) for Microsoft Exchange may well come in more flavors than your favorite ice cream store offers. What FalconStor Software brings to the Exchange CDP smorgasbord is its experience as a provider of iSCSI storage-networking software, says Jack Igoe, FalconStor's director of product marketing. "We began as an iSCSI storage virtualization platform, which has evolved over last seven years to be foundation of our IPStor product line," Igoe says.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

      The company's Exchange CDP solution is based on an appliance using FalconStor's IPStor technology in combination with a snapshot agent that runs on each Exchange server you want to protect. FalconStor's TimeMark software runs in the appliance, taking point-in-time images of disk volumes on the Exchange server. "The agent works in coordination with TimeMark to put the application in a coherent state before taking the snapshot," says Igoe. That is, TimeMark and the agent put Exchange in a "hot backup" state, momentarily "freeze" Exchange and take the snapshot, then let Exchange continue running again. The snapshots can be recovered at either the file level or as an entire volume to a drive (i.e., a "bare-metal" recovery).

      The solution also lets you restore specific email messages. The product's Exchange message recovery feature "looks at the coherent snapshots and \[from them\] can recover a message, range of messages, or even a message that matches a text string," Igoe says.

      An IPStor appliance can also simultaneously protect other database applications, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and Lotus Notes, in addition to Exchange. "We aren't a one-trick pony," says Igoe. "How many customers are running only Exchange? A single appliance can protect multiple Exchange servers and \[other\] applications." But Igoe stresses that speed of recovery is the bottom line. "Our benefit isn't just in a many-to-one protection mechanism but how fast you can recover and get that application back on the air."