The data protection appliance easily beat out its closest competitors, bringing in 418 votes. Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StorEdge 3510 Fibre Channel Array came in a strong second with 312 votes. BacBone Software Inc. grabbed third place with its NetVault 7 taking 125 votes.
Storage Technology's EchoView E400 swept the field largely because of its ability to provide fast data recovery, eliminate backup windows and increase availability.
''This is clearly a good appliance with a number of good things going for it,'' says Mike Karp, a senior analyst with Enterprise Management Associates, an analyst firm based in Bolder, Colo. ''Any company that has to have its data up and online all the time will find this very cost efficient. This is absolutely critical.
The EchoView E400 is an appliance that straddles the storage world and the security world. J.R. Roedel, senior director for marketing and business development at Storage Technology, says the appliance is aimed at improving the reliability of the entire backup process, and that way it takes a storage product and gives it a security edge.
''In any storage platform that we are putting out today, you have to address the security concern as part of it,'' says Roedel. ''Customers look at overall strategy and they're saying they've had enough of the point product. They want a little bit more. Make it more simple to manage, and protect the data and archive it.''
The product supports Windows 2000, Solaris clients, Oracle Exchange, and SQL Server. The appliance captures data as it's written, maintaining a complete data history that is designed to be quickly accessed and recovered back to the protected server. The EchoView E400 protects up to 50 volumes and 400 gigabytes of data.
''EchoView E400 winning this award really shows that backup/recovery are still the most talked about issues in IT,'' says Steve Duplessie, an analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group. ''The old way of doing backup/recovery simply isn't going to work much longer. There is just too much data in play. The EchoView is designed to be able to effectively recover instantly, instead of waiting hours or days to just find the data necessary to recover, then try to recover it. There is huge value in that 'instant' ability for IT pro's.
''I mean, how much does it cost waiting those hours or days?,'' adds Duplessie. ''While every company is different, they can all say one thing the same -- it costs a lot.''
An e-commerce company, for instance, can't afford to be down. For a business dependent on online sales, staying online means survival.
Karp says to imagine that e-commerce business having a corrupted data base that supplies information to sales. Now they can no longer extract needed price figures. Sales aren't being made. Money is being lost.
Karp says if the company is using a tape backup, they have to go get the tape and then start searching, from the beginning, for the last uncorrupted data stored. Tape doesn't lend itself to logical divisions, like a disc does. ''With tape, it could take you days or hours or minutes to find that data,'' says Karp. ''If you're doing business online, you can't afford that. Using a disc, it could be seconds.''
Karp also points out that the EchoView keeps a record of every time data is written to the EchoView appliance. It replicates or mirrors each update. Then if a backup is needed, IT can check the update listings and pull down the last one before the data was corrupted or a connection was lost.
''It's a very efficient way to handle the problem,'' says Karp. ''This is an essential part of a sophisticated data protection scheme.''